Monday, July 4, 2011

2. Paris and trip over

We made it to Paris without incident! Good ride on the Tri Rail experiment running from MAngonmia Park in Palm Beac County all the way to Miami International Airport. It was great practice to schlep our bags on and off the train moving on a tight the Metro in Paris. We won't drive to Miami again to begin a flying trip, Tri Rail was fine. Had to lug our stuff around MIA a bit to check the big bags (my bicycle suitcase and a regular one), and clear security. Then we just killed a couple of hours in the terminal, and boarded the plane. Flight was OK, over in 8 1/2 hours. We slept, ate, read, and made sure to walk a lot on the plane, to keep everything healthy! Paris arrival on the 4th of July about 9:00 a.m., the bike made it through without damage. We stored THAT thing at a facility in the terminal near the TGV station. Idea is to leave the bulky bike bag near the train. After we finish our Paris visit, we'll grab the bike, board the TGV bullet train, and head for Dinan.

We rolled everything else to the RER railroad commuter at the airport (Charles DeGaulle), rode into Paris and changes to the Metro subway for our hotel near the Marais district. Lynn stayed at this place a few years ago on a different trip, so actually recognized the neighborhood and steered us straight to the hotel as soon as we got off the Metro. Got our room early, so we could clean up and take a nap. Then, out the door to sightsee a bit.

We headed to the Left Bank, intending to do some quiet exploring of the Sorbonne. BUT...we forgot this is July in Paris and the place was jammed with tourists. We love the St. Michel Fountain, just across the river from Notre Dame Cathedral, so used that as our anchor spot for exploring some tiny sidestreets we'd never seen before. By accident we ended up on an ancient narrow cobblestone street with a tavern/cafe (Cafe Procope) where Ben Franklin and other noteables used to hang we took a pic . The best part of the afternoon was when we both admitted we wanted to get away from the crowds, so rode teh Metro back to our hotel and regrouped. The evening exploring was cool: apparently the area around our hotel is really big into Turkish culture! We found beautiful old carved stone arches heading up a couple of streets, with countless cafes, restaurants, and walkups mostly jammed with locals, mostly speaking Turkish (?) and cuisine du Turque. We walked a lot, and eventually picked a wonderful Italian cafe where we spent a couple of hours at a sidewalk table with a fantastic meal, good beer (me) and Kier Royal for Lynn, and lots of fun people watching and listening. Fun trip so far; tomorrow a more concerted effort to avoid tourist locations!

PIC captions: St. Michel fountain, 4th of July.
   Cafe Procope founded 1686. Ben Franklin's  portrait has faded a lot since then.
    Lynn on Cour de Commerce St. Andre,  ancient cobbled stone street we found by surprise!~
     Weird metal-sculpted Cite Metro station entrance, in park across from Saint Chappelle Cathedral...just where Lynn left it last time we were here!

CLICK here for all photos and vids:
2011 Dinan and Paris French Adventure

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