May 27, 2015 – Paris

Woke up at 2 in the morning and went to smoke (habit).  Ernie heard me and told me to come back to bed.  But, I couldn’t.  Had some coffee (by this point, the staff were used to me asking for extra coffee, creamer and sugar – I did it every day), sat around, went outside and talked to my mom at one point.  She told me a bunch of shit that was going on – same shit, same city, different day.  Then I went back and sat at the desk with a cup of coffee, contemplating writing in my journal when I actually fell asleep, head on desk.  I woke up at some point and said to myself “This won’t work”, so I finally made it back to bed.  By the time Ernie woke me, it was 7:00.  We had the Louvre to do today!  I hurried to get ready and off we went.

The Louvre is such a magnificent and confusing building at the same time.  I think I got some great pictures there.  I just wish the Mona Lisa had come out more vividly on my camera.  What are you going to do, when you can’t have any flash of any kind? (Something I got in trouble about at one of the other museums.  It was the AF Illuminator, not the flash.  Whatever.)

So, we quickly went through the museum, taking random pictures along the way.  Then we went to the cafeteria and got some pretty good food and they even had wine!  (I seriously have no idea how much wine we put away during this trip.)

After lunch, I wanted to go to the gift shop (one of many in that building), even though I wanted to originally stop at the one by the Mona Lisa.  (I did stop there, but Ernie told me to just wait.)  We headed to where it was pointing toward “boutiques”.  Bad idea.  They turned out to be different upscale stores that had nothing to do with the museum, that I could tell.  So, we had to go through security and ticket checking again.  I went to another gift shop and something he said or did just set me off and I was just in a pissy mood then.  We quickly, but quietly, started to argue.  I put the stuff back and we were going to leave.  But he said I would be mad if I didn’t get something.  So where did we end up?  At the fucking Mona Lisa shop.  All I kept thinking was “This is not how I want to spend my last full day in Paris.”  We bought trinkets and such and made the trek out of there and back to the hotel.  He bought me some ice cream as a nice gesture though.

We regrouped at the hotel, then we took the Metro to Notre Dame de Champs and took a walk through Le Jardin du Luxembourg.  From there, I had to find pain medication for my feet, which had two open blisters and swollen feet from walking.  Found a pharmacy and got some Advil (which ended up not really helping).

We headed through the Latin Quarter to see the Pantheon.  Little did we know the police or some group had it blocked off blocks away from all sides..  Ernie was disappointed (I was a little too) so we walked some more, not really talking.  When I brought up the catacombs (which he seemed interested in going to while we were home and he even brought it up at the hotel earlier), he refused to go there.  Fine.  Whatever.  This day is just fucking fantastic.

We found a place for drinks and dessert and had a quiet yet contentious talk about things.  We got through the talk and then went in search of dinner.  We found Le Petit Zinc, which was pretty good.  Actually, all the places that we stopped at were really good or above.  I tried different things, including the way dishes (plats) were prepared.  We were sat right away at all of these places, at outside tables (remember the whole smoking bit) and we could just people-watch and observe our surroundings.

We went back to the hotel for a while.  When I took off my shoes, I literally cried.  My feet hurt so bad.  It was just too much.  Ernie laid down while I repacked as much as I could so I didn’t have to do it in the morning.  I decided that I would wear my Choo’s, because I thought my feet wouldn’t be as swollen by then.

Ernie wanted to go to the bridge that came from the Invalides with these gilded statues at each corner.  I decided that, even though i was limping around, I would go with him.  It only seemed right to experience it with him.  Little did I realize, first, how far away it was and second, about the spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower lit up from that vantage point.  I was glad I went, even though I could have really used a Tuk-Tuk or even a wheelchair at that time.  We got pictures and went back to the hotel to finally sleep.

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May 25, 2015 – Paris

So, we started our day off at a market that I asked the concierge about to find a marker and a lock.  Being that today was a “free day”, their Pentecost, she wasn’t sure what was open.  Ernie and I walked down to the market to no avail.  Then I found a souvenir shop that had a marker (which i could “borrow for 2 minutes”) and locks.  I wanted the marker for two things – one, for the lock and two, for Jim Morrison’s grave.  That’s right.  Ernie agreed to go to Le Cimetière du Père-Lachaise!

However, first things first.  We borrowed the marker to write “Steph & Ernie” and “2015” on a lock engraved with “Paris” and a heart on it.  Then we crossed the bridge that we were on yesterday and locked it on somewhere around the middle. (There were quite a few other Stephanies on there too.)  I kept the keys as a memento to remind me of it.  (Only after we got back home did I see that Paris was taking down all of the locks from the different bridges for safety reasons.  We got it there just in time and I have pictures to prove it.)

Love Lock on the Passerelle de Solférino

Love Lock on the Passerelle de Solférino

From there, we traveled by metro to Père-Lachaise.  I saw a flower shop and since Ernie didn’t want me to desecrate a grave – which I had no marker to do so anyway – I bought a beautiful silk rose to place on his grave site.  We made a mistake though and walked up a hill in a park that we had no clue it had nothing (that I could tell) to do with the cemetery.

After getting out of there, we saw a sign pointing to the entry to Père-Lachaise.  The place is huge, with worn-down and moss-covered monuments and markers.  And each section was numbered in an odd way – at least to me, it was.  I got the idea of the arrondissements of Paris being numbered in a spiral pattern, but I couldn’t figure this one out.  After some well-intentioned but aimless walking, we finally came upon Jim Morrison’s grave.  And it was blocked off.  Dammit!  And they must have cleaned it up too because at the few moments I looked at and took pictures of it, I hardly saw any graffiti like I did in pictures years ago.  So I asked the man next to me (who happened to be American) “How the hell am I going to get this (the flower) over there?”  He laughed and said he didn’t know.  So I decided to launch it like a large dart.  It landed on the grave and rolled off next to it.  The guy said “Nice shot!”

Jim Morrison's Grave with my flower

Jim Morrison’s Grave with my flower

Then I went about, taking pictures quickly to get out of everyone’s way.  Only seemed fair.  Then, Ernie and I set off to go sit down for a minute.  As I sat there, I realized I didn’t get artistic mode shots, nor did I get rocks for Marci and me (bonus one for her).  So, I went back to the business at hand.  Did that, went back to Ernie and we were off.  Except for a quick bathroom stop – no paper of any kind in there…boo.  Off to manger!

We found a place – I believe it was called Restaurant Obododo – with seating outside.  This seems to be a big thing in Paris, seating outside of nearly every place that we saw.  A plus for me because I could smoke right there at the table (Thanks for putting up with that, Ern).  The food was great.  Unfortunately, we’re not well-versed in mLs when it comes to wine, so we each ordered what we thought were medium glasses of wine.  Nope.  We each had our own bottle!  Needless to say, we were both a bit tipsy after that.  Time to walk it off.

We headed over to Voltaire Circle (?), then Bastille, took pictures and kept going.

I found a store with some nice scarves in it and we went and checked it out.  I ended up with a sparkly coral one for about €15.  Brilliant.  Then we found a little toy boutique and got the girls some interesting puzzles.

Ernie wanted to visit Notre-Dame Cathedral so we took the Metro to get us their quickly. (My feet weren’t getting any better.)  Little did he or I know that our walk out after the ride would take us past L’Occitane en Provence.  I, naturally, had to stop and get something.

Unfortunately, at some point, the handle on the children’s bag broke, so I found a souvenir shop with small but useful totes.  Snatched one up, put everything from both stores in there and set off to Notre-Dame.

This place, from the outside, looks marvelous.  We took quite a few pictures from different sides of the building and the statue of St. John Paul II (my favorite pope, even though I’m not religious).  The queues were too long, like the Eiffel Tower, so we skipped the inside and went in search of bathrooms (damn you, large carafe of wine…).

After a quick respite on a bench, we took a walk back to our hotel to unload and regroup.  The reason we walked so far?  Ernie couldn’t find a nearby Metro.  While he was looking for on on his phone, I saw a bike with a basket of Pomeranians in it.  It was a must for me to have my picture taken with at least one of them.  So I did.  Cute little basket of lovely furriness.

Since he couldn’t find the Metro, we decided to walk by the Seine.  We followed that the majority of the way and went back up, with hopes of finding a stall for drinks (again, damn you, wine).  After what seemed like forever – Musée d’Orsay seemed like a mile long – we finally made it back to our room to figure out the next plan.  I ended up napping while looking at the Christian Louboutin website.  Got back up around 6:30 and hurried to get ready for some sightseeing and dinner.  I know we were in the 6th arrondissement but can’t remember the name of the town we were in.  Did a little walking and found a “tourist trap” restaurant and were seated right away.  We stayed for quite a while, eating and drinking and people-watching.  When we were done, I was ready to go back to the hotel.  After what took forever (again), we found our Metro station and headed back.

Ernie headed up to the room for a minute and I sat downstairs by the bar until he came back.  We did a shot of Jack and called it a night.  These days, so far, have been daunting with all the walking we’re doing.  At least for today, I really didn’t get homesick!  Bonus!