Amy: Today was our last full day in Paris. On Joanne's excellent recommendation, we started the day at a nearby open-air market, which is only open throughout the summer on Wednesdays and Saturdays. It was very interesting to see all the food on display for purchase - fish, sausages, meat, olives. I got to sample some cheese and olives, which was neat. I perused the jewelry and clothes, and you will be happy to know I passed up the sparkly ("bling") tank tops AND all the jewelry - a huge feat for me. Carolyn and I got some beautiful pashminas (scarves).
After this, we set off on our "Day of Visiting all the Places We Still Want To See, None of Which Are Near Each Other." We hopped on the Metro and got off at the stop for the Arc de Triomphe. This arc was built around the time of Napoleon; supposedly the original design was supposed to look like a "bejeweled elephant," but we couldn't see the resemblance from any angle we tried. The arc has names of Napoleon's generals inscribed on it, and has served as a meeting place and memorial for other wars. There is a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier there, with a flame that they rekindle every night. Today was supposed to be the hottest day yet, so we were armed with many bottles of water. Having had a couple days rest from the "Tourist Stairmaster Version 5.0," Jason and I were ready to ascend another monument for a view of the city. Carolyn decided to rest her knee and look at the sights from the ground.
Jason and I climbed over 250 stairs up a spiral staircase, which is actually much easier to climb than the regular landings at the Eiffel Tower. We made it up without needing resuscitation, so that was a plus. It was a great view, a bit different from the Eiffel Tower because we weren't quite as far up. We met some women who were teachers in Seattle, and we took pictures for each other. Jason asked them if they taught at Lakeside (where his brother works), but they did not (though they had heard of it).
We slid down the spiral staircase bannister (ha ha, just kidding to see how carefully you are reading this), and met back up with Carolyn. We then hopped the Metro to Centre Pompidou. This is a building that, according to our guidebook, is alternately described by Parisians as stunning or as an eyesore. The neighborhood surrounding the center was quite cute and quaint, and it was fun to check that out. The center itself was quite interesting - there were large glass tunnels that seemed to be stuck on at various intervals that served as the internal walkways. There was a large gold empty flowerpot statue outside of the building. Couldn't figure out the significance of that. One of the reasons I had wanted to come to Centre Pompidou was to see the large free public library there. Alas, it was closed for renovations. Bummer.
We decided to eat in an air-conditioned restaurant, and found a French-style cafeteria (think dining hall) where we could all get something that we wanted. My meal of fish, bread, cheese, and avocado was delicious. Did I mention the restaurant was called "Flunch"? I guess it is a chain. Joanne did not have a guess as to why there was an "F" before the word lunch. We could hazard some guesses, but this is a family blog.
We then hopped the Metro to the Musee d'Orsay, the famous Impressionist Museum. It was around 3:00 at this point, and AC sounded like a good idea! The museum was great - we saw the Pre-Impressionist wing, and spent a lot of time in the Impressionist wing, seeing awesome works by Manet, Monet, Renior, Van Gogh, just to name a few. We checked out Post-Impressionists like Seurat, and breezed through the more modern art wing because we were about to fall asleep on our feet from the long day. We headed home, and I commenced my daily "backwards face-plant on the bed nap," where I proceed to fall asleep instantaneously with my mouth hanging open, which causes Jason to tease me mercilessly.
Today was also our three-year wedding anniversary. How many times do you get to celebrate that in Paris? Carolyn was nice enough to insist Jason and I go out to dinner on our own. She stayed in and had a great meal with Joanne and Denis. Again, at Joanne's great suggestion, Jason and I had made reservations at a wonderful restaurant called La Ciel de Paris (the sky of Paris, we think), which was on the 56th floor of Tour Montparnasse, one of the tallest buildings in the city. We took the elevator up, and were shown to a table with an incredible view of the city. We each had delicious meals, spread out over about three hours. Jason had foie gras, veal, and a chocolate tart. I had lobster bisque, guinea fowl, and a selection of sherbets. It was a wonderful way to celebrate our anniversay and end the trip. At 10:00pm, the Eiffel Tower sparkles with millions of gold and silver lights - it was a great 10-minute show.
We went home, and went to sleep fairly early to prepare for our packing and day of travel tomorrow. However, it finally decided to rain in Paris - it was quite a show - bright lightning and thunder - pouring rain. We ran around with Joanne closing windows, and then settled back down to sleep again.