Cultured walk through Paris on a hot, muggy day
09.06.2014 - 09.06.2014 85 °F
Thunderstorms kept us up, humidity was through the roof, memory card error in camera and storms around France heading our way. How's that for a synopsis?
Well, this trip is looking like it will end in a bang - literally, as in thunder! Went to bed last night watching a lightning show through our window. It lasted until about 2:30am or that's when we stopped noticing it. We think it might have knocked the power out for a bit, but it's not like we had to get up for work or anything. A little tired this morning as we made our way down to breakfast. It's some kind of holiday here, but we can't figure out which one or why.
While it was humid, it was still mostly sunny so we decided to head out for some sightseeing. Grabbed a carnet of tickets and caught the Metro over to the Tuileries gardens. Mr Johnny on the spot helped a woman carry a stroller up the stairs at the metro stop and it wasn't just because she was clogging up the stairs - really!
Made our way in to the park. Lots of people are out today, actually hordes of people are out today. We have usually been gone around this point in June, so we're not so used to dealing with all the people. Umbrellas, flags and other assorted items wave in the air to keep the tour groups together. People speaking many different languages stopping in their tracks to get that perfect picture and, my favorite, walking right between you while you're taking a picture. Pardon, Scusi, oopsi....
And then it happened. Went to take a picture and nothing happened. The screen on my camera said "Memory Card Error". Oh no!! Luckily I have been uploading my pictures to my iPad daily or I would have lost a whole trips worth of pictures. No panic, but disappointment for sure.
We walked towards the Place de Concorde and just sat down for a few minutes. It was nice to watch over the hustle and bustle, while relaxing under the shade of a tree. The skies were getting a little darker, so the plan was to walk back to the area around the hotel and have a nice lunch. We're going out tonight, so a good lunch would carry us over.
We walked along Blvd St Germain most of the way, zig zagging as needed. Passed by all the fancy shops along the way - Prada and Yves St Laurent, Christian Laboutin doesn't make men's shoes - Oh, well. :-) Skies were getting darker, so we hustled a bit until we were closer to our hotel.
Since our timing was off, we decided to just eat in the Brasserie attached to our own hotel. What could be easier then that? Restaurants, Bistros, Cafes and Brasseries are everywhere, but timing is important. We've found that the restaurants and bistro are usually open from 12:00 - 2:30pm for lunch, then close until 7:00 or 7:30pm. Brasseries and cafes are usually open all day.
After eating, it was time to rest. Tonight we are going to the Opera Garnier to see "L'Incoronazione Di Poppea" or the Coronation of Poppaea. It was written in 1643 by Claudio Monteverdi and was his last masterpiece.
Since the weather was not looking so good, we took a taxi to the Opera Garnier. The ride over was a short one. We figured we'd run into more traffic, but keep forgetting it is some kind of holiday. The Opera Garnier is a great looking building. Makes you excited to go inside and see what it has to offer. The gates were not yet open, so we mingled with the people who were sitting on the steps listening to a guy playing guitar and singing. He wasn't the best, but it was entertaining.
When the gates did open, it was a civil crowd who entered. Some obvious opera devotees and some tourists. How could I tell? I figured the ones in dresses and suits or tuxedos were the opera devotees. The ones in shorts, sandals, sneakers, etc. - the tourists. I must say though, we tourists did behave ourselves. Inside, the building is even more spectacular then on the outside. The grand staircase, the chandelier and the polished marble was beautiful. Our seats were in a box, which sported red velvet wall coverings and seating for twelve, plus a grand salon chair in the far back.
When you peered out from your seat, you look at the huge stage curtain surrounded by boxes circling the seats on the floor below. The ceiling is a masterpiece in of itself, having been painted by Marc Chagall. It was all so impressive and the show hadn't even begun. The opera itself was sung in Italian and the storyline was easy enough to follow. There was a screen with sub-titles, but they were in French so they didn't help much. At intermission, we stepped out and had a g;ass of champagne over looking the main lobby.
It really was a wonderful evening. Just the experience of seeing an opera in France at the famed Opera Garnier was incredible. I can see why the Phantom hung out there!
We took the Metro back to the hotel. It really is an easy system in paris and only took us about a half hour to get home. There was cold Orangina waiting for us, so we hung out a little before heading off to bed. The thunder and lightning show was ramping up as we were getting ready for bed and what a show it would be.