France Day 3

Today Lisa work us up early at 7, thinking it was 9. We took advantage of the extra time to get a load of laundry going, then had a leisurely breakfast. We got to the Opera house at 9:30 am and at 10 am, we found out that the tour wasn’t until 11:30 am. Everyone else wanted to skip it, but I thought that the tour might go “behind the scenes,” and that it would be worth it.

Dawn & Marc, near Opera House
Dawn & Marc, near Opera House
On the way to the Opera Garnier
On the way to the Opera Garnier
Earl & Lisa on Le Metro!
Earl & Lisa on Le Metro!

I approached someone at the Opera House and asked if the tour covered extra areas of the Opera house. “Excuse me, but I don’t understand English,” he said with a glare. This was my first time encountering a non-pleasant French person, and I realized I hadn’t spoken any French. I tried again. “Est-ce que la… guide visite… va aux places que… je ne peut pas aller… tout seule?” This sentence took me a good 20 seconds to build and was accompanied by lots of pauses and hand gestures I think I amused him sufficiently, because he responded, in perfect English, “No, the guided tour does not go into additional areas of the Opera house.” You see? Even the rudest French person appreciates attempts at speaking French! Even when you totally mangle it…

So, we looked around the Opera House on our own. We were very impressed with the gorgeousness surrounding us. It was difficult to get any good pics since it was so dimly lit.

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The Grand Staircase, Opera Garnier
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Interior without flash
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Another interior shot from the staircase
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Opera Palais Garnier
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Marc, Earl, Lisa
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Lisa at the Opera House
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Dawn at the Opera House

After the Opera House, we walked to the Palais Grand, which was temporarily closed. A Marie Antoinette exhibit was open, however, but it was 15 euros and we decided to pass. There was a guy playing the clarinet in front of the entrance to the exhibit, and I realized it was the same clarinet player that we saw 3 years earlier playing by the Musee Orsay!

We headed towards the Champs Elysees and decided to splurge on lunch there. We went to an Italian place, Mia Roma? The waiter said a pizza would feed one, but it would have easily fed 3. Marc got the saumon fume pizza for 15 euros, I got the cheese salad for 15 euros, and Marc ordered a Pepsi, which was 5.50 euros which after converting probably cost almost $8! I told him he should’ve got a beer for that much… The food was really good, but the salad had too much cheese on it, even for me. And Marc declared it the best $8 Pepsi he ever had!

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Someone is re-lax-ing finally…!
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Lisa and lunch on the Champs Elysees
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There is enough fromage for 3 French people on this salad…
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Saumon fume pizza and the $8 Pepsi…

After lunch, we decided to separate. Marc and I went back to the Arc de Triomphe and went to the top. The weather was warm and beautiful. We strolled down the other side of the Champs Elysees and suddenly I had a huge craving for an iced latte. We ended up going to Starbucks since I have no idea how to order an iced latte anywhere else. I got my iced latte for 4 euros and hubby got a frappucino for 5.50.

Les macarons!
Les macarons!

After our snack, we went to the Orangerie. It is a lovely little museum that I suspect is often overlooked, but it is well worth the visit.

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Monet’s series of Waterlily paintings at l’Orangerie
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Detail. Waterlilies.
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Monet’s series of Waterlily paintings at l’Orangerie
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Monet’s series of Waterlily paintings at l’Orangerie
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Detail. Waterlilies.
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Monet’s series of Waterlily paintings at l’Orangerie
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Marc a l’Orangerie

After that, we were hot and tired and decided to go back to the apartment. While there, I commented on how we had given his parents the “master suite” and they hadn’t even used the bathtub (Lisa had told us this earlier, much to my chagrin). We decided to take a cold bath in the luxuriosly deep soaking tub. The window was open and we could hear the street noises and a band playing in the street and it was very relaxing. Then, we heard the front door open and close. Yikes! We heard footsteps down the hallway and had to yell out, “Uhh, we’re in your bathtub, don’t come in.” His parents promptly departed…

After cleaning the tub, hubby and I went to the Pompidou Centre. There we ran into Earl and Lisa. Hubby and I loved all of the modern art at the Pompidou. I took tons of pics, so here is a gallery:


After the Pompidou, we had another picnic at the apartment on the terrace, then debated whether or not to go to the Eiffel Tower. We decided to go. The line to go up was HUGE, and hubby and I decided to skip it since we’d been up 3 years ago.

La Tour Eiffel!
La Tour Eiffel!

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We decided to stroll around, people-watch and listen to music. We heard a really good, Sigur Ros-type French band, and watched lots of street performers. It was a blast.

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The subway back was swamped, even though it was almost 11 pm, and the streets and squares overflowed with people. There were kids on the subway with bottles of orange juice and champagne, singing and rapping. We got back shortly after 11:30 to discover that Earl and Lisa were still out! The courtyard that our apartment overlooks was filled with people and music blaring from loudspeakers. We went downstairs and got crepes from the crepe stand next door, and sat on the balcony and people-watched and music-listened.


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