We both slept in and caught up with some much-needed rest. The funky, lumpy beds bothered neither of us because we were so tired from the trans-Atlantic flight. We ate some fruit and bread we had acquired at a market last night, and before long we were dressed and out to walk around the city. Greg had never been to Paris and I thought it might be great to walk over to the Seine and see the cathedral at Notre Dame. This would take us through some famous old neighborhoods. On the walk to the Eiffel Tower yesterday, I developed a blister on one of my toes that was bothering me this morning. This was annoying, as well as alarming to me since I had not even started really “walking” yet. It didn’t look too bad at this point, so I just put a band-aid around it and and put on my New Balance running shoes instead of my boots.
We headed north from our hotel and then east past the huge Montparnasse Cemetery. Then we hooked up with Blvd de la Observatoire and headed north a few blocks through the Luxembourg Gardens. The clouds were beginning to leave us for the most part and the day was warming up beautifully.
At the far end of Luxembourg, we encountered some narrow streets and managed to get disoriented until we finally stumbled upon the St Germain neighborhood surrounding The Sorbonne. We stopped here and found a boulangerie that had some great sandwiches.
Greg thought it a good idea to continue downhill since that would lead us to the river and so we did. After about a half hour or so we looked to our right and saw the river ahead of us. Then we walked up the left bank and down some stairs to get up close and personal.
Just up the river we could see the Ile de France and the marvelous cathedral, so we snapped some photos and headed over that way. It was then that I realized that although I had been to Paris a couple of times before, I had never been inside the cathedral, so I was really looking forward to this. The joy of experiencing this for the first time was quickly squelched by the crush of tourists that was quite stifling and prohibited our enjoyment of being in this historical place, but we tried to make the best of it. A particularly annoying chap that was standing directly behind us screaming at his family in a strident Asian dialect took the cake as the most obnoxious tourist I had ever encountered. I finally turned around and motioned at him to get back. When we got inside the cathedral, Greg told him to shut up! Haha! We spent approximately one hour touring the inside and then just had to get out. After exiting, we crossed the bridge back over to the left bank and wandered around looking at the vendors and artists displaying their wares along the banks of the river. This was delightful, but I was limping along now, with the blister on the right toe really bothering me.
After resting for a while with some cold bottled water we bought at a local store, we discovered that we were both feeling some jet lag at this point and thought it might be best to wind our way back to the hotel and catch a nap before dinner and then early to bed for the big train ride tomorrow. Back at the “reception area” in the hotel, I counted out the 24 zeros, then 1,2,3 and emailed Heather with the status of what we were doing. The nap turned into a sleep for approximately 3 hours, but instead of being “bummed” that we had missed some time for sightseeing, we comforted ourselves with the thought that this was what the “buffer” day was all about. Later on, we checked out some different restaurants in the neighborhood, but could find nothing that suited us that had availability at that point, so we wound up back up at the same place at which we had eaten last night. Another great meal at Pizza Roma!
Back at the hotel, I asked the desk clerk if we could pay for our rooms since we wanted to get out early without any hassles. My credit card would not work in his ancient reader that he had there at the desk, and he was going to try and use some gadget that he could attach to his personal computer. I thought this would not be a good idea and contacted Greg upstairs and we paid in cash. Not born yesterday were we!