Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Paris, June 2007, My Birthday

Can you begin to imagine how magical it is to be in Paris, and be there on your birthday? It's quite amazing.

Doug asked me what I wanted to do. Fine dining restaurant, shopping at the huge shopping center, theater? I mean, how can I possibly beat just being in Paris? Now I have to decide where to go?

Actually, it was easy for me. I'm not a fuss-budget. I wanted to don comfy walking shoes and walk through all our favorite arrondissements, bar none. That would mean a marathon eight to ten mile hike and it was a fairly warm day. What the heck, your only....39? once.

We did just that. We walked from the 15e apartment down to the Eiffel. There we lounged around, watched visitors taking scuba diving lessons, and because the tower was somewhat shrouded in fog/haze (whatever it is in Paris) we couldn't go up--something I had decided I was ready for. Doug seemed to be a bit relieved and I then recalled how much he detests heights. We settled on an ice cream bar and walked into the lawn to sit and enjoy it. What a beautiful day it was. We saw children playing, a juggler, and small clusters of friends laughing and talking.

We also ran into the French rugby players who were practicing near the Eiffel. It was such fun to watch them play. The women were playing along with the men and they were just as aggressive and strong as the men. An enjoyable spectacle indeed and an unexpected surprise.

We walked more and this time toward Champs Elysées where I thought I might like some French perfume. However, to our delight, there was a mustering of a huge group of veterans and current soldiers in full dress and a lot of activity around L'Arc de Triomphe. We learned that it was a day set aside for honoring veterans of the military. We found a good viewing point and watched all the pomp and circumstance. We saw many dignitaries and it was interesting to see the boulevard leading to the Arc de Triomphe empty in preparation for the parade and also to allow arrival of dignitaries. We hung around for a very long time, then thought it would be nice to have lunch before the rest period arrived and we'd be out of luck.

We strolled to Trocadero, not far away, window shopping at the exclusive shops as we passed by. We found a nice brasserie and ordered the plat de jour, a delicious pasta. The Madame suggested a nice red wine and we lingered for a long while. It was positively what I wanted to do.

From the restaurant we strolled toward the Hotel de Ville and were delighted to find another surprise! They were having their annual Spring Garden Fete. The flowers were bright and colorful, as were all the floral displays and we toured the building as well.

We strolled over to Notre Dame, finding a fabulous Jazz bass player who delighted us with song after song until we dropped a few euro into his kitty, thanked him and we strolled on. It was very crowded at Notre Dame and was quite obvious to us that the tourists were beginning to pour into Paris for summer vacation. We were happy that our trip began in mid-May and would end before mid-June. It was too crowded for our good.

We stopped for an apéro, something we love doing. It's easy to know when the time is right as all the brasseries and cafes began to fill, so grabbing a seat is a good idea. It was a hot afternoon so we opted for some delicious French rosé and they brought us a small bowl of olives and some peanuts.

It was late afternoon by the time we began to wind our way back to our apartment. We walked by Georges Brassens Parc and, as usual, it was a hub of activity. We so enjoy spending time there. It's shady, green and pleasant.

I hope you'll enjoy some of the photographs we took this day. It was certainly a lot of fun being there and enjoying the day.

From Old Paris To New Modern Paris. This Is A Sculpture
At La Defense. My Next Blogging Adventure!
Pretty Amazing Size, eh?

The Hotel de Ville Is A Stunning Backdrop To The Spring Garden Show

Even Scarecrows Are Elegantly Attired In Paris. This Beauty Was
Part Of A Spring Garden Show At Hotel de Ville.

As Luck Would Have It, The Hotel de Ville Was Having An Annual
Spring Flower and Plant Show. It Was Gorgeous!

A Pleasant Resting Point Near The Hotel de Ville
As We Decide Which Way To Stroll Home

You Can Find Jazz On Many Street Corners In Paris,
But This Bass Player Was Superb!

Strolling By Notre Dame de Paris. Too Crowded! Summer
Tourists Seem To Be Arriving In Droves!

We Find Parks Everywhere In Paris, Where We Can Sit And Relax A Bit,
But This One Is Special. It Displays The Oldest Tree In Paris. This
Tree Was Planted in 1601. If It could talk....!

Another Wall Artist Proves That Not All Graffiti Is Bad

This Artist Painted On An Unusual Canvas--A Blank Wall
On A Street Near Our Apartment in the 15e. (He did this in only one day!)

Our Great Exchange Apartment Building On The Quiet
Street rue de Bocage, 15e

The Entrance To Georges Brassens Parc Is A Hub Of Activity All Week Long,
Including Saturday When There Is A Huge Used Book Sale. A
Great Place To Hang Out, Stroll Or Just People Watch

With A Few Euros At Our 15e Laverie, We Had The Laundry Washed And
Dried By The Time Lunch Was Finished! It's Much Faster Than
Non-commercial Washers Which Take Hours To Finish Just One Load!

One Of Our Favorite Cafés Near Our Home Exchange Apartment 15e

The 15e Is Full Of Young Families, Like These Who
Have Just Left George Brassens After Picnicing
With The Children

A Child Feeds The Ducks At Georges Brassens Parc
In The 15e

We See Some Young Women Playing Badmitton In
Georges Brassens Parc As We Walk Thru
On Our Way Home

Ah! At Last Lunch. We Walked To Trocadero For A
Fabulous Pasta Lunch With A Glass Of Burgundy.
A Nice Birthday Lunch, eh?

Another Surprise! We Come Upon Rugby Practice For The
Cup. France Won That Night! What A Great Time
To Be in Paris!

The French Always Dress Nicely In Public
Look At That Dapper Suit! The Color Guard Gets
Into Position To Begin The Parade Honoring Vets

These Younger Fellows Looked Stunning In All Their
Military Garb!

Some Of The Honorees Proudly Display Their Medals
As They March Down Champs Elysée

The Red, White & Blue Waves Gracefully During The French Anthem
We Were Very Impressed With This Protocol

Future Veterans Stand At Attention As Dignitaries Arrive in Mercedes Automobiles

The Defense Minister Arrives To Honor & Speak To Veterans

Wow! We Walked Smack Into A Parade Honoring Veterans Of The French
Army. This Was An Unexpected Treat For My Special Day. We Stayed To Watch.

I Had Decided I Was Ready To Brave The Elevator To The Top. Doug, Who
Is Not Fond Of Heights, Breathed A Huge Sigh Upon Reading
This Sign! I'll Now Have To Wait Until I'm In Paris On My Special Day Again!

How About That? Scuba Diving Lessons At The Eiffel?
What An Unusual Site!

Visitors Can Even Take Scuba Diving Lessons
At The Eiffel On My Special Day!

Doing What I Love On My Special Day

Champ de Mars Is A Great
place To Catch Some Free entertainment

Children Ride Donkeys In Luxembourg Gardens
As We Stroll Through

Next Post: Paris, La Defense

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