Monday, August 9, 2010

Personal Tour de Paris

I got up early this morning to visit the Rue de Montorgueil,one of the oldest and longest pedestrian market streets, dating back to the Medieval times.  Boulangeries,(bread shop) Patisseries, Boucheries (butcher)...whatever delights the palete!  The shopkeepers were just "opening shop"; raising  the doors, hosing down the streets, and rolling out the produce carts.  The street came alive before my very eyes.
I had read in Fodor's guide book to Paris, that a visitor must announce herself as she walks in a shop, to no one in particular, even if there are none to listen to your polite greeting of "Bonjour".  That made all the difference!  Everyone was my friend now.   I was able to order our croissants at the Patisserie (pastry shop), and make a query about a certain type of cheese for our 'petite dejeuner' (breakfast) at the 'Frommagerie' (cheese shop)for our breakfast.  It mattered not that I used imperfect French.  They understood, and delivered!  I wanted to walk down to the end of the street, which was blocks long, to drink in the sights, and savor the smells of the past. But, alas, I had not the time.  Hungry mouths were waiting at our "revolutionary" flat.
We headed out after breakfast to locate "les cars rouges" (red bus line) that travelled in a circuit, hitting most of the monuments and historical sites.  It took us half way to Les Bateaux aux Parisianne  a flat bottom tour boat that meandered down the Seine.  A guide kept us informed with his commentary, as we drank in the scenes before us.  After a lunch, of again, those savory crepes from a street vendor; we searched for "Les Egouts"  or, the sewers, where Jean Val Jean carried his soon to be son in law to safety in Les Miserables.  It was dark and dank, but it certainly gave us a feel of what it would have been like during the French Revolution. Dumas, the author of the novel, actually knew the architect of the sewer project, and thus had first hand knowledge.
At night, we met at the Eiffel Tower for a "Fat Tire" tour of Paris at night.  That's right, a bike tour on the busy Paris streets.  What will those crazy Americans do next??  We wove in and out of traffic, around the Louvre Museum complex, across to Notre Dame, and, on the way to the Bateaux again, watched the Eiffel Tower shimmer and sparkle.   A feat that is accomplished every hour on the hour.Paris is truly a beautiful city of lights...details of buildings jump out at you.  C'est magnifique!

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