Louvre, no Notre Dame

Still somewhat sick, although I felt better after a hot shower and a long sleep.  Today was abbreviated because of my flu bug.  I took a cab to the Louvre and found out it was quite close to me.  No matter, I didn’t want to walk any more than necessary.  Even though today had quite a bit of sun, the wind is biting.

The Louvre line was a three hour wait.  I opted to go tomorrow instead.  I had arrived around 1:00 p.m. so that might have been a contributing factor.  I will try to get their earlier tomorrow; perhaps the line will be less overwhelming.

One of the problems of all these major sites is this:  they are all on or near the Seine.  When this wind whips up, I believe it’s coming off the North Sea, it cuts through your clothing.  As a result, I cannot (I will not) wait in a three hour line.

Since the Louvre was out, I looked at my map and opted for Notre Dame which wasn’t far away.  I ended up walking the distance.  The sun was out so it wasn’t as cold.  It made it a bit easier to take photos, too.

Notre Dame is a cathedral, if you didn’t know.  I’ve been to Europe ten times now and I’ve seen my fill of cathedrals.  After awhile, they blend together.  But I hadn’t seen one in awhile and ND was gorgeous.

Probably what impressed me the most were the stained glass windows, unlike any I had ever seen.  And they were everywhere inside this edifice.  And they were enormous.  Some were very colorful.  Some were what I would call almost dour or subdued in their hues.  It was the colorful ones that I focused on because they stood out and they were dazzling.  I only hope my photos turn out okay and look good on Facebook.

Last night Vincent took me around and we just wandered.  It was probably a bad thing to do because the wind was whipping like crazy and the rain had started.  We visited the Sacreu Cathedral, which was unknown to me.  It was on a hill and we had to walk up roughly two hundred steps.  Not an easy task for a fifty-four year old man with a flu bug and weak calves.  Nevertheless, I made it.

Afterward, we went to the Montmartre district.  This is where the famed Moulin Rouge theatre is.  I found out that it costs roughly 100 euros for one ticket which provides a seat and two glasses of champagne.  Next time, maybe.

The area was full of shops and restaurants and was very quaint.  We stumbled across one enchanting neighborhood with a little park in the middle bedecked in twinkling Christmas lights.  On the edge of the park sat an elderly man playing French songs on his accordion. It was trademarked Paris.

By this time, I was getting hungry so I asked Vincent to find a restaurant.  We found one called Sucerre.  It wasn’t fancy or high-end.  But it was busy which is always a good sign.

We secured a table and each ordered boeuf bourguignon which was absolutely outstanding along with two glasses of French wine.  I had to confess to myself that other nations have good wine besides Italy.  Dessert was a “half-baked” chocolate cake with a little pot of creme which was decadence on a plate.  I paid the bill as a thank you for all his kind gestures.

I was also able to check out some chocolate shops during this little trek.  I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a shop an old friend had recommended.  After flattening the numbers on my debit card, I felt it was best to leave.

Tonight I will stay in.  I’m dead on my feet and my energy level is sapped.  Probably go out and get a panini and then just surf the net until I collapse.  Vincent has gone above and beyond the call of duty.  I feel so embarrassed to be in his home with his generosity as I sneeze my brains out and walk around with tissues stuck up my nose.

Since I’m in the bedroom and he’s on the sleeper sofa, I have direct access to the shower. He didn’t even come in this morning to take a shower before work because he didn’t want to disturb me.  When I woke up, there was a fresh box of Kleenex on the coffee table.  Now my Baptist guilt is REALLY kicking in!

Tomorrow is my last day here.  Leaving on Saturday for the long trek home which will include a night’s stay in Amsterdam.  I’ve had the time of my life, but I will welcome the sensation of my head hitting my pillow in my own bed.

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