What a wonderful day yesterday was!! In the morning, we had a botched attempt to meet up with our friends Cate and Robin, who were in the Dijon area to buy a boat. They thought they’d take the train to Paris, have lunch with us, then go to the airport and fly home. Because of the snow (no, not a lot, just enough to make it pretty, and apparently enough to screw up the trains) they got stuck at the train station and didn’t fly out until today. So, we at least talked on the phone a couple of times, but were unable to meet.
However, while waiting for them, we ran into our landlady, and had a lovely time visiting with her for a half hour or so, then decided to take a bus that goes to all the “major” sights in Paris: Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides, Louvre….and just ride it and look out the window from the warm seat on the bus. It was a really good overview and orientation, and all for the price of a single bus ticket!
After that wonderful tour, we decided to have lunch at a little creperie in our neighborhood (have I talked about our neighborhood? It’s just perfect – a real Parisian, as opposed to touristy, neighborhood with neighborhood eateries and stores and hustle and bustle), then back to our apartment to “regroup” before our “Paris Greeter” tour.
Paris Greeters is an organization of volunteers who love the city and share that love with visitors. It’s free, unless you choose to make a donation to the organization. You hook up with a guide online, by making a proposal for a date and time and what sorts of things you’re interested in seeing. They don’t do museums or things like that, it’s more informal.
We REALLY got lucky! Our guide is a history buff, has great English, and we were also paired with another tourist couple from Israel who were very interesting as well. We spent about 21/2 hours walking around, learning about the history of what we were seeing, and being taken through little passageways and into buildings we NEVER could have approached without our guide. One of our visits was to the school of the “Compagnons” of France, a kind of apprenticeship/school program for the “trades” (building, cooking, shoemaking…) where we learned about and saw some of what they do. An amazing program, and VERY difficult to get into and stay in!
After our tour, we all had hot drinks at a cafe, then parted company with many fond farewells. What a wonderful, fun afternoon!!! Here are some photos from our tour:
Dinner back at the apartment was the rest of the chicken and cheese and baguette, and a little wine…WHAT a marvelous day in Paris!!