Sunday, February 11, 2007 last time...

Our last day in Paris...tomorrow we return to normal life. Julie, Keegan, and Adam dropped by to have breakfast and squeeze in a little more family time. We parted company around noon so they could get back to Germany at a decent hour. Jeff and I headed out into sprinkles accented by the accasional sunbeam.

Full of good cheer, Jeff and I hopped on the Metro (lines 1 and 9) to Pont de L'Alma and the Paris Sewer Tour...Les Egouts de Paris. A first for us, the sewer tour piqued our curiosity, because we thought we might see more of the historic sewer. But no, this is a trip through hundreds of feet of active waterways and dripping ceilings. There was a very informative museum display...arranged down a long tunnel with rushing sewer water under a grate at your feet. The displays told the story of sewage from Roman Times through the Middle Ages (ick) to Revolutionary and modern times. The air was humid with a strong odor and seemed to stick to your skin, so a quick stop at the restrooms on the way out was required to wash up.

Bright sun and strong gusty winds greeted us when we emerged from the sewers. We aired out as we strolled along the Seine to the new Musée Quai de Branly. We didn't go in, but instead walked through the courtyard and interior gardens of this object of contemporary design. The architecture is captivating...with striking modern wings seeming to growing out of a classic Parisian historic building. Old and new were blended perfectly.

We continued our blustery stroll beneath the arched legs of the Tour Eiffel. The crouds were smaller today as they bunched together to brace themselves from the wind.

We boarded Metro (line 6) at Bir Hakeim and zipped by 9 stops, arriving at Denfert-Rochereau and our next activity...after a quick bite...walking makes the tummy grumble. THEN it was on to the famous Catacombs, where the bones of approximately six million Parisians were relocated in the 18th and 19th centuries from cemetaries all over Paris. The bones were systematically moved into abandoned limestone quarry tunnels deep within the earth. The walking tour of the Catacombs takes you past piles and piles of orderly stacked skulls, arms, and legs...many arranged in decorative patterns.

Exiting the catacombs several blocks from our entry point, we strolled around the neighborhood...briefly passing by the apartment building where Jeff and his friend Matt stayed in the fall of 1996.

Oh, and we tried out one of those automatic public toilets that pop up frequently around the streets of Paris. I was impressed how sanitary the toilet felt, including washing and drying hands. The entire enclosure is automatically cleaned and sanitized between each patron. All for free!

We walked back in the direction of the apartment by way of the Jardin du Luxembourg...not THROUGH since the park police were blowing whistles to hustle everyone out for closing time. We strollled down the Rue de Tournon, past quiet shops and noisy cafes. We got an energy boost from a pastry followed by creamy Italian gelato in St. Germain des Prés. Strolled back to the apartment along the Seine...enjoying the dusk-views of the river, its long boats, and adoring lovers in the shadows on the quai.

We ate a final, hearty meal at of our favorites this trip. A final drink at the Open Cafe, and then back to pack for the morning.

A steady rain has arrived...its time to go home. Our next update...from the USA.

No comments: