Champs-Élysées, Paris Day Three

Okay, before I begin, I have to confess that it was actually around 2am that I finally went to bed last night. And Sue and I both had trouble falling asleep. I guess we stayed up TOO long! But we finally did fall asleep. At 9:30 this morning I could hear the garbage trucks down below on the street — and I knew it was time to get up, or we’d probably sleep until after lunch again!

I made a pot of coffee and ran down to the corner bakery to pick up a fancy-shmancy custard-filled pastry for my breakfast — Sue still had crusty baguette from yesterday. We had fruit, yogurt, and pastries with coffee for breakfast.

Then Sue read and I worked on the computer until it was lunch time. The forecast for today called for showers, but we really didn’t get any.  It was already a bit after lunch time when we headed out. Again, I scouted out the walk on Google maps and Sue jotted down our turn-by-turn directions on a piece of note paper. And so we set off.

champs-elysees-paris-day03-01Our ultimate destination was the Arc de Triomphe. Our first diversion came when we got to the Galleries Lafayette — an upmarket French department store located on Boulevard Haussmann. It’s where Princess Diana and Sue shop. So we went in and had a look. The smell of perfume nearly overwhelmed me, but I managed to take a few photos of the elaborate dome in the ‘ladies’ section of the store.

From here you can see the Arch in the distance, the massive avenue, the National Assembly, the Madeleine church, the famous Hotel de Crillon, the Grand Palais, the Obelisk of Luxor, and the Eiffel Tower rising behind it all.

We stopped on our way out and bought a crusty sandwich baguette and a chocolate croissant for lunch. We sort of got lost because we hadn’t counted on going into the store — but we managed to find our way down to the Champs-Elysees. I knew we were there because I recognized it as the place where the penultimate day of the Tour de France happens. I saw the Egyptian obelisk, the palaces and fountains, and the cobblestone streets that the cyclists have to race on.

champs-elysees-paris-day03-12champs-elysees-paris-day03-13And then we were there! To our left was a big park, the Tuilerie Gardens. And then the sun came out. So we decided to check out the park. We strolled through it (along with about a thousand other tourists — and is it just me, or do even the women tourists look gorgeous here?). Fountains, and lots of metal chairs surrounding squares of green grass with statues to look at. And it’s not high season! We actually got a chair to sit in for a while and watched the people passing by.

champs-elysees-paris-day03-10We walked through the park and before you know it we had stumbled on another sight! Wasn’t that the famous Louvre pyramid ahead? I didn’t know it was all connected like that! Well, we won’t go in there today — we’ll keep that for another day. I think the museum will take a good part of an afternoon to explore.

champs-elysees-paris-day03-11Between the museum and the park was the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, not to be confused with the actual Arc de Triomphe we were on a mission to see this afternoon. No, this is a smaller version of the other arch.

champs-elysees-paris-day03-19From here we headed due west, down along the majestic Champs-Élysées. There were far too many very expensive shops along the way. And quite a few tourists, although we kept reminding ourselves that it must be ‘CA-RAZ-Y’ in high season. It was about 2.5 kms from the park to the Arch. When we got there champs-elysees-paris-day03-24Sue really wanted a photo of the two of us. We got someone to help us out. And now we still had a long way to walk back home. Unfortunately I had thrown away our little ‘map’ with the wrappers for our sandwich in the park, so now we had to find our own way back home. Along the way we stopped for a cappuccino at one of the many little cafes along the way. We ended up heading to that big Carrefour store again to pick up groceries for supper.

Back at the apartment, Sue tried out the oven by frying a fish and baking some potatoes for supper. After supper Sue read her book (“My Paris Wife” by Paul McLain) on the ipad and I wrote my (too long) blog entry. And we drank a bit of wine and listened to John Prine on the stereo. Sue called her mom to say hello. It was 10:30 — I’d spent way too much time writing and adding photos to the blog. It’s almost time for bed! I used to laugh at tourists who saw their whole trip through the viewfinder of their camera, but this is even worse! I’m spending more time writing about it than I am ‘doing’ it! This has got to stop. Tomorrow I will take ONE photo and write two paragraphs. And it will be better than this — for YOU and for ME!