Paris 2004

The bus ride from Rouen did not take long. We drove through La Défense to the Porte de Clichy where our hotel was located. In the evening, after dinner at the hotel, most of us took the subway to look around the Champs Elysses. At the Porte de Clichy metro station I was attacked by two pickpockets as I got on the train! Fortunately the thieves got nothing from me because I was able to move away from them and my pocket was too deep. When they realized it would be difficult, they got off to avoid being trapped on the train with a hostile crowd. I learned later that others also had problems with these thieves, but they escaped as well. The next day we had a guided tour of the city.

Statue of Liberty, Luxembourg Gardens

We saw for the first time this example of the Statue of Liberty, which stands in the western part of the Jardin du Luxembourg. We also had a tour of the tomb of Napoleon at Les Invalides:

Napoleon's Tomb

We had a little time to ourselves after that, and went to the Rue Cler for lunch at Café Rousillon.

Lunch on the Rue Cler

Rejoining the group we then visited the Louvre:

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The next day we saw many of the sights of the city from the bus, as it took us on a circuitous route to the Cathedral of Notre Dame, for the final concert. While the singers rehearsed, I toured the church with the camera.

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114-1409_IMG-1-1The most unique of my pictures I got outside the tourist area. This notice indicates that the women’s and men’s toilets on either side of the treasure room must be used only by women and men, respectively, in other words no mixed use, and everybody is supposed to leave the rooms as clean as they were found!

The concert was preceded by a ceremony dedicating the new altar of the cathedral. Thus, there were many people in the church and a good number stayed for the concert. Two generous and loyal supporters of our group surprised everyone by attending. They had made plans to include the concert in their European vacation but did not accompany the tour or let us know their intentions.

Afterwards my wife and I deviated from the tour to meet our friend Danielle from St Aubin. We had met Danielle years before through her role on the website Bonjour Paris where I was active for a few  years. She was born in France, married an American diplomat, and lived therefore in many countries around the world. Her children and grandchildren live in the United States. Together we visited Shakespeare and Company, the famous English-language bookstore in the Latin Quarter.

Shakespeare_and_Company_store_in_Paris
Shakespeare and Company, 2004. Picture from Wikipedia

We had lunch with Danielle at Les Bouquinistes, not far away. We never miss a chance to visit Danielle when we come to Paris, as long as she is free.

Dessert at Bouqinistes
My dessert at Les Bouquinistes

The last day of the tour we had the morning to ourselves and went to the Picasso Museum. Once again we found a teacher with her students. They seemed to be pretty young to appreciate the pictures on the wall, but I have little doubt that this teacher knew how to get their attention.

Teaching at the Picasso Museum
Teacher with her class at the Picasso Museum.

We flew back to New York with the group in the afternoon.

We saw many wonderful sights on this trip, and enjoyed the experience of the concerts. Unfortunately the audiences were sometimes sparse. On later trips, one of which I described earlier on this blog, some of the concerts would be programmed to include local singing groups. That improves both attendance and social interactions with the local people.

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