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Paris, June 2014

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Wonderful Paris! I was joined in June 2014 by four lovely women: Beth, Elizabeth, Patty and Colette. Each year with a new group and each trip such a great adventure. We strolled through the Marais upon our arrival to keep ourselves awake, through Place des Vosges and all the narrow streets in that lovely old area.

We took our own walking tour up through Montmartre via small steep winding streets up to the Sacré Coeur, past le Moulin Rouge and la Place du Tertre. Good weather made the day, as it did for much of this trip.

We viewed Paris from the top of the Arc de Triomphe, strolled down les Champs Elysées having lunch there as it poured rain. Then we dashed over to le Petit Palais and when the clouds parted we walked around the Place de la Concorde seeing each of the huge women statues representing the regions of France. We topped off the day by dinner at Le Soufflé restaurant with fellow student Max and his wife Joyce.

We toured Rodin’s home and garden in beautiful bloom, and wandered through les Invalides and its lovely chapel. We strolled under La Tour Eiffel, then took a boat cruise on the Seine as the sun was setting and all the monuments were lit by subtle colors. After dinner in a cute little bistro near la Tour Eiffel, we stayed to watch its after-dark light show, up close and personal. So impressive!

The following day we strolled through le Quartier Latin, starting at and in Shakespeare & Company, past the Sorbonne, a visit through le Panthéon, and then lunch at les Deux Magots, where we had a wonderful outside table and could people watch and be watched, as so many have done over time. After a sunny afternoon in le Jardin du Luxembourg admiring the wonderful photography display around a portion of the perimeter of the gardens, and all the beautifully tended gardens, we went to see la Cantatrice Chauve by Ionesco at a theater in the Quartier Latin.

During the middle of our trip, we took the train to Chartres for the day wandering inside and outside that magnificent cathedral. We took a local city bus to see la Maison Picassiette, which is a lifetime creation of one man who tiled his entire home, inside and out, with broken pieces of pottery. It is an amazing, beautiful sight!

Sunday was the outdoor market near Place de la Bastille. It is a favorite for not only locals, but for tourists who want to see beautiful displays of produce, whole fish, meat of all kinds, cheeses, flowers, linens from Provence, and an array of clothing and accessories. Such a fun animated time spent there!

Sunday’s concert at Notre Dame was cancelled as the organ was being renovated, and that was a disappointment, yet we still were able to visit the flower and bird market nearby. We strolled through the small streets of Ile Saint Louis with so many lovely buildings and unique boutiques, and took time for an ice cream delight in the comfort of Bertillon.

We had a wonderful guide take us through the Opéra Garnier who was delightful and accomplished in her presentation. Lunch in the cafeteria of Galeries Lafayette is not your typical cafeteria food, and having coffee on the rooftop with a stunning view of Paris 360° is a great way to spend lunch. We strolled down rue de la Paix to Place Vendome where the Ritz Hotel is completely covered in scaffolding. We browsed lovely shops along rue de Rivoli and sat in le Jardin des Tuileries on the famous green chairs enjoying the shade of the beautiful green trees, and the sounds of children playing nearby.

Giverny was another full day of beauty in the gardens of Claude Monet. It rained on the train trip there, but fortunately stopped shortly after our arrival and the rain drops on the foliage and flowers was an extra bonus for photographers. Our last day was a free day and everyone went off in separate directions, mostly for shopping. Beth joined me and we went to Gobelins where the tapestries are so grand yet so intricate. Lunch of a great quiche and fruit tart before we headed over to la Grande Mosquée de Paris where we arrived just in time for a guided tour, which was a first for me.

Time to return to the U.S., but another fabulous time in Paris with a very enthusiastic group. Until next year!

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