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Our Magnificent Journey
Chapter 5
Europe 2003
Paris, London, Provence


David and Carol 2003 
Day 10
We had left the windows open because the air was cool and refreshing, but in the middle of the night the noise from the revelers on the street below woke us, so I closed the windows. These windows are air- and noise-tight and work amazingly well to block the all-night partying and motor-scooter noise. We went back to sleep and woke at 8:30 am.
We showered (the shower head was broken so we had to bend ourselves into contortionist shapes in order to get wet,) dressed, and walked down to the corner of Rue du Renard and Rue de Rivoli, across from Hotel de Ville, and sat in the Café Paul, where we had breakfast of delicious fresh eggs, sweet fresh-squeezed orange juice, croissants and strong coffee. The Café Paul has been operational since the 1800's. We highly recommend it. Nice spot for a people-watching breakfast.
Cafe Paul
Back to the hotel to grab our sweaters - today is cooler though sunny.
We then walked a block to the Pompidou Center, but it was "invitation only" to a Jean Cocteau exhibit. So we strolled among the shops and brasseries. We came upon a fellow in an alley feeding pigeons. He lived in a wooden box on the street. We then walked down the street and into the large BHV department store, then across the Place du Hotel du Ville, through the pungent pedestrian underpass, to Isle de la Cite.
The Pompidou Center
The Pigeon Man
During our stroll, a panel truck that had stopped in traffic caught our attention. When I stopped to snap a photo, the driver laughed and said, in French, "Come around a take a picture of the other side as well…"
Interesting back side on a truck...
Front view...
Observation: Unless you absolutely love the smell of urine, avoid the odoriferous pedestrian underpasses - they double as pissoirs.
Busy streets of Paris
We shopped near Notre-Dame, then entered the grand cathedral once more to view its ornate Gothic construction, and to experience once again its awesome spirituality. It is always an incredible, intimate encounter, and we always have to force ourselves to leave.
Notre Dame
Notre Dame
We then window-shopped our way back to the hotel. By now it was becoming chilly and blustery and drizzly - welcome weather for two Tucsonans. We stopped for a while at Biche de Bere, a very trendy shop on Rue de la Verrerie just across from the hotel. Many one-of-a-kind items in clothing and jewelry for women. Carol tried on a few items but we left empty-handed. Thank God, because a pair of pants that she tried on would have cost $200 US. Get me outta here...
We walked back through the Marais, and a colorful children's store caught our eye. We bought a hairbrush, some bracelets and a washcloth in the shape of a puppy for our granddaughter Ryah. Then we came once again to the Jewish quarter. We realized we were standing in front of a special place when we read a sign that translated into "to the memory of the director, teachers and children deported by the Gestapo and the Vichy police from this school to Auschwitz and exterminated because they were Jewish..." Carol could not hold back tears. I snapped a photo. It was a very moving moment.
Sign in the Marais
We realized we were hungry, so we stopped and enjoyed falafel sandwiches at L'As du Falafel, just as we did a couple of years ago. The falafel sandwiches hit the spot. The ambience of the establishment was heavily Israeli. We talked with the proprietor for a few minutes about some fare in the window that we could not recognize. One of the items was Tunisian fish eggs in wax.
Then we spent a couple of hours wandering the length and breadth of the Marais, and window-shopped until our feet could take it no more. We found a cozy corner café and had delicious hot chocolate and French cookies. The sky is gray and there is a light rain and we are in heaven.
French Tudor houses
We wandered in and out of all varieties of shops for the next hour, then freshened up at the hotel for the evening.
It was blustery chilly at dusk when we ventured back into the throngs on the streets of Paris, so we bundled up in our sweaters, scarves and jackets. We walked down the hill on Rue des Archives, past the back of Hotel de Ville, and across the Seine to Isle St. Louis, where we perused the menus at the many fine restaurants there until we decided on Auberge de la Reine Blanche, where we were seated at a very romantic candle-lit table for two by the window. Carol had escargot bourguignon, duck breast with honey sauce and white cake with chocolate mousse. I had soupe a la oignon, chicken breast with fresh green beans and potatoes and chocolate mousse. It was a perfect, intimate dinner, a wonderful last supper in the City of Light.
Auberge de la Reine Blanche
Painting by Stan Beckman
We had a cozy, brisk, arm-in-arm stroll in the cold Paris evening at 10 pm, passing many restaurants and cafes full of people, like us, enjoying the evening. We walked back across the Seine, past majestic St. Gervais, up Rue des Archives and into the hotel to snuggle in bed, reminiscing about the past week's many experiences, and contemplating those to come during the next five days in London.

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