Well, this is the final day of the trip of a lifetime. I knew that the time would pass quickly – so I tried to truly be present in each and every moment. That was one of the reasons why I chose to document my daily adventures on the blog – so that when I re-read this few weeks from now, it will confirm that all really happened.
I wanted to make the last day special – but I didn’t want to put pressure on the day (I am pretty good at that). So last night as I was deciding what to do I realized that Paris means two things to me: the Eiffel Tower and Montmartre. So that is the way I chose to spend my last day here.
This morning I did not set an alarm but woke up around 7:30AM. I had a leisurely coffee and internet browse, and then I mapped out my course for the day: Cimetere Passy (near the Eiffel Tower) – Rue Cler (open air market that is also near the Eiffel Tower) – and the Rodin Gardens (if the weather held out). At that point my plan was to return to the apartment and wander the streets of Montmartre one last time.
|my “home” metro station|
I decided that I would record my “every day” life in pictures – as I truly want to remember and document each event – no matter how trivial. So I spent quite a bit of time taking pictures in and around the metro. I had to take the #1 train on more time – and when I exited at Concorde (my usual stop) I was a wee bit disappointed that my father/son duet was not there to serenade me. Oh well, I thought, it is the weekend and they deserve the time off. When I exited at my next stop however, there they were — and what were they playing? My all time favorite, The Chicken Dance. I knew that it would be a good day!
I had no problem finding the cemetery this go around – it helps when you google the exact street address and then query map directions. I even located a PDF file of all the French cemeteries – although a map was readily available upon entrance. I wanted to visit the Passy cemetery for two reasons: it is in the shadows of the Eiffel Tower, which would give me a different point of view of her loveliness – and it serves as the final resting place for Edward Manet – Berthe Morisot – and Claude Debussy. I had no problem finding Manet’s headstone – the map directions seemed just perfect. And while he does not have a bird’s eye view of the tower – he is looking in her direction.
|One of the many views of
the Eiffel Tower from the
I didn’t have such luck with Claude Debussy. I walked and walked and walked in the small circle that was supposed to house his tombstone, but I never had luck finding it. Perhaps it was because I didn’t know exactly what I was looking for – or perhaps it was because I was getting tired and the gnats were driving me crazy (it never rained on me this morning – but the humidity was so thick you could almost gag).
After spending about 45 minutes at the cemetery I felt that it was time to leave. I decided to take the subway to Rue Cler – the open air market that I went to earlier this week, but several shops were closed for lunch (note to Americans: the French often take a two hour lunch – and 2-3 weeks off in the month of August. They are not afraid to relax and rejuvenate!)
What an absolutely delightful surprise the #6 train turned out to be. I caught the train at the Trocadero metro stop – but immediately after leaving the station it exits from the dark subterranean tunnels and travels above ground — giving the passengers a beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower along the way. Quite magnificent.
I was afraid that Rue Cler would be quite crowded this Saturday morning, but much to my surprise, it was relatively empty. There were certainly people milling about – several tourists but also many locals purchasing their weekend supply of fresh fruit, bread, and cheese – perhaps it was the uncertain weather that kept people away.. In any case, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to slowly meander up and down the two block roadway and even dare to take a few pictures (after the experience at Rue Montorgueil – I have been rather skiddish about taking pictures of local shops). There were several spots available at the famed, Cafe Marche – so I sat at a table on the front row, ordered a cafe creme, and enjoyed the view. Unfortunately I could not buy any food products, as today was my last day – but I did manage to find a chocolate shop that had some decadent looking confections that I decided to bring home to the family (shhhh….don’t tell….it is a surprise).
The skies were still cloudy, but fortunately no rain, so I decided to walk to the Rodin Gardens – where I knew for only one euro I could eat my lunch in a beautiful setting. On the way there, however, I passed by the Hotel des Invalides where I noticed a lovely flower garden with lots of bench seating. I decided to go through and check it out. Such a unique setting with few tourists. The perfect place to relax with my bread and cheese.
At this point I had decided that I had seen all that I cared to see in “the city” and decided that the rest of the day should be spent in my own neighborhood. I went to the apartment to rest for a while – and then ventured back up to Sacre Coeur one last time. She is truly beautiful and I will truly miss her — although I must confess that I won’t miss the hoards of people that surround her on the weekend. It started raining around 5:00 and I considered that my cue to return to the apartment and begin the process of packing up.
Yes, this has truly been a trip of a lifetime – and I know I have been infinitely blessed. I saw more than I really thought I would see – and I experienced Paris as a Parisian – which was the ultimate goal. I learned that I can navigate a strange city on my own and I can converse in French “well enough” I may not be an adventurer – but this was a spectacular adventure for me.