Place Vendome from Opera Garnier
Our trip is coming to an end this week, but I’ve had fun looking back through the photos of the last few weeks. Each day brought us sone new sights and the welcome sights of familiar places. It makes me remember just how much we’ve seen. And though I’m happy to share our trip with the few who may take the time to read, the blog is more for us as a personal journal of where we’ve been and what we’ve seen. As the days ahead dissolve into months and years, without this journal, too many of those small memories and discoveries would be forgotten. Soon enough, we’ll be back home dealing again with the same things everyone else does as part of daily life and work, but the photos and the personal journal of the blog will allow us to keep those memories fresh.
We visited for a bit during petite-déjeuner (breakfast) with our server about his vacation plans in Spain before we headed off to Galleries Lafayette for a little shopping. We do less and less shopping these last few years; doesn’t mean we have everything we want, just that we’re a lot more selective about spending and hauling things back, as well as the relative disadvantageous exchange rate. Stopping at Diptyque on the ground floor for some candles, we went up to the rooftop terrace that has a cafe as well as spectacular views of Paris, for free.
Rooftop Paris. From Galleries Lafayette.
With no bias intended, Galleries Lafayette was overwhelmed on Sunday on the ground floor, where the most expensive brands of perfume, jewelry, leather goods are located. More “names” than I could remember or list. At this time of day, there are lines to get into the big name departments and they are dominated by Asians. Our limited experience is that the types of luxury goods for which they are shopping are even more expensive in their country (this was the case when we visited Tokyo), so the items may seem a relative bargain. Some people brought rolling suitcases into the store. Serious shoppers. Clothing and shoes, etc. are on upper floors. Men’s wear is in a separate building.
Shopping as an experience is changing rapidly. When we were in Galleries Lafayette, I price shopped an item on my phone I was considering, on Amazon. Amazon is cheaper. There are certainly items you can’t buy on Amazon, but this wasn’t one of them and it’s now in my shopping cart.
As we walked back towards our hotel, we passed the Intercontinental Hotel and there were eight tour buses lined up! I will say that being here in August does seem notably less crowded, even with this.
The Concorde Metro stop is directly adjacent to the Tuileries and there were some amusement rides being enjoyed on this beautiful afternoon.
For dinner we took the Metro across to Ecole Militaire and then walked to rue Cler.
Our destination, rue Cler, is a market street during the week, with vendors with fruits, seafood, wine, cheese, une boulangerie (bakery) and a number of cafes.
We ate outside at a favorite cafe and then walked a few doors down to indulge in a crepe with bananas and Nutella. Oh, a warm crepe with Nutella!
We reversed course to take the Metro back to Opera, the closest stop to our hotel. Smart phone mapping, with apps like Google Maps, City Maps 2Go and City Mapper have transformed how we navigate. Prior to the advent of the iPhone and Android, I used a program on a Nokia phone running the Symbian operating system that would give you Metro directions (which line, what direction, where to change, travel time, how many stops). Paper maps like our “Plan de Paris”, a pocket sized set of maps that have street maps for each of Paris’ arrondissement (districts) are hardly seen any longer.