Sunday, August 9, 2009

Yes, we did go to France too! Our base was at the Novotel in the Montparnasse section of Paris. The hotel was much to our liking and the neighborhood with its quaint Breton cafes soon felt like "our own." But to see Paris we were at peak season and we were much daunted by long seemingly stationary lines at famous Paris attractions. Tour bus to the rescue! I think the city is made to be seen from the upper deck of the tour bus. From no other vantage point could the Paris boulevards fanning our before you with their characteristic architecture and sidewalk cafes so dazzle the eye as they did when the tour bus swung into the plaza in front of the Opera House. The bus rumbled along up and down boulevards, back and forth over bridges across the Seine many times, revealing at every turn the monumental aspects of the city. Through the excellent narration heard by headphone in your language of choice we learned much about each point of interest. We also realized we were once more crossing Diana's path. There in the Place Vendome we glimpsed the Ritz Hotel from which Diana's vehicle emerged to be pursued by paparazzi to "meet her fate" as the tour narration put it. The famous tunnel where the accident occurred was also noted as we passed through the Place de l'Alma above it.
As we rode along, I thought of how glad I was that Laura enjoyed the film about France at the France pavilion at EPCOT on our trip there in 2006. I think she got a very nice feeling of France from it. A tear might sting my eye to think that Laura wasn't with us now but I somehow felt a kind of peace that such a trip as we were making was not a trip at least a young, homeloving Laura would have wanted to take. Perhaps, now at nearly age 15 it would have been different. I consoled myself thinking that Laura, a selective and particular eater, would have barely eaten a thing, except maybe bread, at least at first. I'm not sure she would have even liked the Breton cheese crepes (more specifically, buckwheat "galettes") served in in the Breton cafes with cider which Susan and I enjoyed.
Want a little taste of Paris for the young folk? There's always the old Disney animated film, the Aristocats. I don't remember Laura watching it but Susan saw it countless times as a small child. Our metro station, Pasteur, seemed to remind her of a scene of the butler going into the Metro in the Aristocats and she often mentioned it.
-To be continued-next-the Loire Valley

Photos: A tour bus ( we actually took the competing red line); view in the Tuileries towards the Louvre; in our neighborhood cafe, galettes and cider, food from the Brittany region of France.

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