My travels from Vancouver to Paris have been trouble-free and there’s been almost no evidence of added security at airports which I had expected. I was persuaded to take a shuttle van to my hotel rather than the train and, almost 2 hours later, I was regretting that. Then I remembered Rick Steves’ saying, ‘If things are not to your liking; change your liking.’ So I decided to enjoy the free tour of Paris that I was getting as everyone else got dropped off first.
People watching in airports is always fascinating; I’ve been doing a lot of that. My overnight in Madrid was very welcome – being able to get horizontal after 22 hours of travel. Although it was a short trip from the airport, the taxi cost 20 euros which I thought excessive, so next morning I found the bus and spent 1.5 euros instead to get back to the airport. I’ll be staying there 3 times in the course of this trip so it was worth knowing.
Once I settled into my hotel in Paris I set off in the rain to walk Montmartre, the haven of artists of all kinds past and present. Picasso lived here at one time as well as Lautrec, Rodin, Monet, Matisse, Edith Piaf, Gertrude Stein and many, many others. It was once a village outside the walls of Paris and still has a small vineyard as well as two wooden windmills. Artists were sitting under canopies in the rain still drawing and painting in the Place du Tertres.
I took one of Rick Steves’ recommendations for a restaurant for dinner tonight. It was a small restaurant with decorated mirrors and painted glass on the ceiling – very evocative. The restaurant cat joined me on my bench; I assumed it was because I was sitting on his/her favourite place but that was naive of me. The chicken I had ordered was absolutely delicious and cat clearly believed chicken was for sharing. I disagreed. After tapping him/her on the nose or paw several times saying “No” others started to notice and laugh. The delightful waiter took cat away a few times but it kept coming back. Finally he took it upstairs and shut the door by which time we were all laughing at its antics. The house Sauvignon was the best white wine I have ever tasted and I savored it. Cat didn’t try for any of that. Then there was a left over half bottle of a red going spare so I asked and was granted a taste of that one too.
I’m going to Giverny tomorrow to check the hotel we have booked for the September tour and visit Monet’s garden, even though the water lilies won’t be in flower yet. I want to explore the village and know my way around before the tour group arrives. I hope the rain stops.
Enough for tonight…