We went to bed shortly after midnight. At about 1:30 AM, the fire alarm went off in the hotel. We got dressed quickly and proceeded down the narrow stairway (not as narrow as the elevator!). Once we were near the bottom of the stairs, we heard “pas de problemme”, which apparently means “don’t worry about it/get your ass back in bed”, so we went back upstairs.
We woke up at 7:30 AM for a sidewalk breakfast at a patisserie/boulangerie (bakery/coffee shop) around the corner. I had coffee and a croissant de buerre, while Stacey had chocolat (hot chocolate) and au pain du chocolat (chocolate croissant). Although we didn’t want to leave the bakery, we certainly didn’t want to let the day slip away. We walked to the Louvre, where we took pictures in courtyard, and then planned to get tickets for the 11 AM English-speaking tour. Unfortunately, we missed the tour, since a group of 2 ahead of us got the last tickets. We decided to get tickets for the next tour (2 PM) instead. Upon leaving the Louvre, we were approached by the first of several Indian women, who were part of what I will term the “beggars cult”. They would walk up to people and ask them “you speak English?”, then display a postcard with a story about being in the country and having no money. The problem? All of them had the *same* story. It became so annoying that we would say we didn’t speak English after encountering about the 10th similar beggar.
We walked through Jardin des Tuileries, just outside of the Louvre, and sat for awhile by the fountain near the end of the walkway, enjoying the beautiful day and watching the people and birds in the area. We then walked through Place de la Concord, and up the Champs Elysees. After a bit, we turned around and walked back through Jardin des Tuileries and stopped for lunch in an outdoor cafe (Cafe Renard). Stacey had a ham and cheese baguette, while I had a chicken baguette.
After lunch, we went to the Louvre, where we decided to use an alternate entrance (to get in faster), and took the English tour from 2-3:30 PM. This only allowed us time to see one wing (moving quickly)…the place is simply huge! Nevertheless, we were able to see some of the Louvre’s most famous treasures (including the Mona Lisa and the remains of the medieval Louvre). Our tour guide hated our entire group (and maybe herself). She viewed herself as above everyone else on the tour and appeared to be annoyed that she was required to speak English. After the tour, we went to the museum gift shop (a great place to furnish a home) and the post office (to buy postcard stamps). We decided to take the Metro to the Arc de Triomphe, but my Metro card still wasn’t working. Stacey explained the situation to station agent and she let me through. We hung out at the Arc de Triomphe for a bit, and then went back to the Metro station, where Stacey again explained the situation with my card to another agent, who finally replaced the card! We took the metro back towards Ile de la Cite, and had dinner at Le Procope, a classic French restaurant. 6:30 was apparently too early for dinner, since we were the first ones seated in the place. I had tomato & mozzarella, anchovies, caviar, duck with pear, and ice cream served in cream puffs with hot chocolate. Stacey had French onion soup, chicken baked with thyme & potatoes, and raspberry sorbet/pie. And of course, French wine!
After dinner, we took the metro back to the Chatelet station (near our hotel), picked up our bags, bought post cards, filled them out and ran to the mailbox. We tried to catch a cab to Gare du Nord, but there were suddenly none to be found. I tried to use the phone to call a cab but struck out there as well. Frustrated, and running short on time, we took the Metro instead, and almost missed our Eurostar back to London (arrived 20 minutes prior to departure – it was supposed to be minimum of 30 minutes). The train ride back to London offered some much needed time to relax.