Saturday, April 24, 2010
Samedi, 24 Avril 2010
Today started out almost like any other day. We were awake at 7:45am, washed and dressed by 8:30am. There was just one big difference.....we were in Paris, France! Our breakfast at 9:35am included coffee, orange juice and Corn Flakes with milk. At 10:00am the temperature outside was 54 degrees Fahrenheit (12 degrees Celsius) with clear skies. The forecast for that day was for a high temperature of 74 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Celsius).
We were still a little shy about trying the buses. Besides the Metro would take us directly to Gare St. Lazare Trains Station. So at 10:40am we took the # 1 Metro line (direction La Defense) and switched to the #13 Metro line (direction St. Denis Universitat) at Champs - Elysees Station. We arrived at Gare St. Lazare at approximately 11:22am.
We got in line at the ticket office, and purchased tickets for two persons (25% Senior discount) to Vernon, departing Gare St. Lazare at 8:20am on April 27th with the return to Paris on April 28th departing Vernon at 4:53pm. Total cost of the tickets: 37.60€ ($50.76 U.S.). The exchange rate at the time was 1 Euro = 1.35 U.S. Dollars.
Next we wanted to go to our old neighborhood at rue Montorgueil near where our apartment was located during the 2008 Paris trip. So we headed back down to the Metro station. There we ran into a concert musician playing at the Gare St. Lazare Metro platform. This is one of the things I love about the Paris Metro, talented musicians playing for coins or the pleasure of catching your attention at a spot as ordinary as a Metro platform.
We deposited a 1 Euro coin in his cup.
We hopped on the # 3 line (direction Gallieni) and got off at the Sentier Metro Station. The actual Metro ride took about 6 minutes. But the problem was always the endless stairs. Once back up to ground level, the old feelings started coming back. Rue Montorgueil was our old neighborhood. We spent a month shopping on this street, and making friends.
Before leaving Paris in 2008 I took photos of the people that touched our lives. One of the places where we purchased pastries and croissants numerous times was Stohrer's Patisserie. It is world famous. As a matter of fact, Queen Elizabeth once took time to visit Stohrer's. There was a 19 year old young girl named Latifa that worked there. We became good friends with her. She would wave to us and say "Coucou!" (Yoo-hoo!) whenever she saw us passing nearby. We practiced our French with her often. I took several photos of her before leaving. When we told Madame Latifa that we would be returning home, she made a sign of tears with her fingers. She gave each of us a hug the last time we saw her. We never expected to return. But here we were. I brought copies of those photos I took to give as reunion gifts.
There was another lady at Stohrer's named Elizabeth. We didn't get to know her as well. However, I took her photo also.
The first place we headed for was Stohrer's. Elizabeth was there. I walked up to her and handed over her photograph.
This was her reaction:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49PfZRPyDnQ
We asked if Madame Latifa was there.
It was disappointing to hear that Latifa no longer worked there.
At 1:15pm we decided to have lunch at Frog and Rosbif Pub a short distance away. On the way we passed our old apartment "Marie Stuart Apartment" located on rue Marie Stuart. It was obviously in the process of being renovated.
At the "Frog" we had photos for three persons that were there in 2008. They had been replaced by all new people. Another disappointment. So we concentrated on lunch. Since we were in an English pub our lunch order naturally included Fish and Chips along with pints of a beer named "InSeine." We needed to quench our thirst. Under sunny blue skies the temperature had climbed to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (27.5 degrees Celsius). Total bill came to 50.90€ ($68.72 U.S.).
After lunch we slowly made our way back to rue Montorgueil for some shopping. On the way a stop was made at a kitchen utensil store called La Bovida where some quality kitchen knives were purchased, 135.06€ ($182.33 U.S.). We were determined to buy only souvenirs that were practical.
By the time we arrived back on pedestrian-only rue Montorgueil , Eleanor noticed the Houcine was on duty at Le Palais du Fruit. We became good friends with him back in 2008. He used to always give us a strawberry to taste, which tasted so good we would ask for a larger container. I had two photos we wanted to give to him as a surprise. I wanted to film his reaction. So I had the video running as we walked up to him for our reunion. This was his reaction:
While Eleanor waited, I purchased a baguette, 0.85€ ($1.15 U.S.). We took the Metro back home. By 5:22pm we were back in our apartment. It had been so warm that our clothes were drenched in sweat. It was time for our first load of wash in the apartment washing machine. We had dinner in the apartment, but no record was made of the meal. I'm sure whatever the meal consisted of, that baguette and red wine were a part of it. The clothes were done at 7:45pm. I went to bed at 9:35pm. For Eleanor, bed time was 10:00pm.
Total distance walked: Bill - 4.28 miles, Eleanor - 3.84 miles.