Monday, April 26, 2010
Lundi, 26 Avril 2010
We woke up to sunny skies. I was up at 6:20am followed by Eleanor at 6:45am. At 7:15am I took out the garbage, and continued on to Boulevard Beaumarchais. At Boulangerie 28 I purchased a baguette and two croissants. Total cost 2.75€ ($3.71 U.S.). The protocol in this boulangerie is to wait your turn, and then state the items you wish to purchase. The proprietor, a stern, business only lady, then repeats your order, wraps the items or puts them in a paper bag, takes your money and counts out your change. For the first time I heard the phrase "Ce tout?". The phrase sounds like "set too?" After a while I realized that the phrase means "that it?" While waiting in line I looked around for pastries to be purchased in future visits.
I was back in the apartment by 7:25am. Eleanor went down via the elevator, taking the backpack with her. I followed with the wheelchair minus the side wheels. The elevator was too small to fit the wheelchair in. I made another trip upstairs to retrieve the wheels. By 8:02am the wheelchair was whole again, and we were on our way. The plan was to push Eleanor in the wheelchair a distance of one mile to Notre Dame Cathedral. The walk took a half hour. We knew from experience that it is best to arrive early at Notre Dame in order to avoid long lines. At 8:30am the cathedral is practically empty. So we were free to enter and wander at will without having to endure long lines and hordes of tourists.
The Rose Window
Model of the Cathedral
Eleanor took out a postage sized photo of the two of us, peeled it off and pasted next to our entry.
The entrance to the stairs that lead to the top of the tower doesn't open until 10:00am. So at 9:20am I went outside and got in line at the entry gate to the left of the Notre Dame facade. Eleanor remained inside the Cathedral. She eventually exited at 10:00am because her leg was too cold. We agreed to meet at the Charlemagne Statue at 10:30am.
I was number 3 in line. Part way up the stairs is a side room that houses the gift shop. You wait here momentarily until the remaining stair way up is opened. This is your only chance to buy gifts here. At the end of the self guided tower tour you exit at a different location.
It is a long climb up, a total of about 400 steps. Some passages are very narrow. But once at the top you are greeted with a magnificent view of the city of Paris.
At 10:48pm I was back on the ground and reunited with Eleanor. By 11:00am large groups were arriving, and long lines were forming to enter the cathedral. After making a rest stop at 11:15am, we headed to the planned location of our picnic, a shady bench in the small park behind Notre Dame that is called Square Jean XXIII. We lingered briefly to watch a local man feeding the birds in front of Notre Dame. The birds loved only what he had in his hand. Eventually tourists would ask him to take a photo of them feeding the birds using his magic food as the bait to lure the birds. Later in our trip, I was to find out his secret food.
At Square Jean XXIII lunch was simple : a bottle of red wine, a hunk of Gouda cheese and that baguette I purchased that morning at Boulangerie 28. Starlings, pigeons and sparrows cleaned up any crumbs that were dropped.
Below is an aerial view of Square Jean XXIII (foreground)
After lunch we wandered across the bridge called Pont L'Archeveche (lower right in the above photo).
There we found padlocks of love attached to the sides of the bridge.
We were scheduled to travel to Giverny the next day. So we started making our way back home. We crossed over Pont St. Louis to Ile St. Louis. However we could not pass Berthillion without stopping for an ice cream.
Cost of the ice cream 10€ ($13.50 U.S.). After that expensive taste adventure we were on our way. After the multiple trips up and down the elevator with Eleanor, wheelchair chasis, then wheels, we were back in the apartment at 2:05pm. I went out briefly to buy a baguette and two pastries. Preparation occupied us the next few hours for the trip to Giverny with an overnight stay at a hotel. We had to pack all we would need in just the backpack. We would not be bringing the wheelchair. Finally at 5:15pm we settled down for dinner : salad (with tomatoes, chopped egg & assorted vegetables), fresh pineapple chunks and cheese to go with a bottle of Baron de Lestac Bordeaux 2008 wine. After that we did the dishes and tallied the expenses. The plan for the next day was to get up at 5:45am, and take the Metro at 7:00am to Gare Saint Lazare so we could catch the 8:20am train to Vernon.
We both went to bed at 8:05pm.
Distance walked that day : Bill 6.02 miles, Eleanor 1.13 miles