Individual Days - Post-Tour

The End of Our Adventure

October 3, 2023

It is hard to believe today was our last day in Paris. The day started with heavy morning rains, so we stayed at the hotel. However, by lunchtime, the weather had cleared. Overall, we have had the most amazing weather.

Social Media Influencers

Throughout our entire trip, we encountered social media influencers. Particularly in the large cities of Italy and Paris, beautiful young ladies are accompanied by an entourage (hair and makeup artists, wardrobe changers, and photographers).

I didn’t take any pictures of the bridal photo shoots blocking Venetian bridges (and there were many). I didn’t take pictures of photo shoots at churches and burial memorials. It wasn’t until today as we were walking down the street that I paused, turned around, and went back to capture this moment myself.

This is in the middle of the day in a small fish market. No one could enter because the photographer kept moving around. I do have to admire how long the young lady stood on one leg, but seriously, it was ridiculous.

Palais Garnier

The skies had cleared, and I was looking forward to getting an exterior picture of the Paris Opera House. However, this is what we saw. The entire facade was covered with a large canvas showing what the building should look like along with some not-so-subtle advertising. Well, I guess that’s one way to cover the cost of restorations before the summer Olympics.

But inside, the Opera House was astonishing. There was an event later that evening, so areas were closed for preparations, but we were allowed into the auditorium. This was a treat as we had originally been told the area would be closed. There was so much to see inside – red velvet seats, Marc Chagall’s vividly colored ceiling, crystal chandelier, and all the gold leaf! Imagine attending a performance there.

We were able to see the Grand Foyer from a distance as tables were being set up for the event. It reminded us of Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors. Touring the interior of the building was worth it.

Pythia by Marcello
Auditorium
Grand Escalier
Grand Foyer
Principal Dancer Miss Sandrini by Edouard Debat-Ponsan
Grand Escalier

Montmartre

Before our trip to Europe, I found a local Parisian online who recommended a walking route for Montmartre. It is amazing all the information that is readily available! We started at the Moulin Rouge (which means red windmill – first picture). In the 17th century, Montmartre was filled with up to 30 windmills to grind grain for bread. The windmills were converted into cafes and dance halls. Today, there are only two remaining original windmills (the Moulin Rouge isn’t one of them). Artists like Renoir, Van Gogh, and Picasso captured social activities at the Moulin de la Galette (seen in the second picture) in their paintings. The second original windmill is located behind the Moulin de la Galette. It is now privately owned and not visible from the street.

The Wall of Love is located in Montmartre’s Jehan Rictus Garden square. The tiled wall contains the phrase “I love you” in 250 different languages.

We walked the Rue de L’Abreuvoir said to be one of the prettiest streets in Montmartre. Salvador Dali and Picasso stayed in this area. The Place de Terre is Montmartre’s artists’ village with a square filled with boutiques and cafes. But our eyes were set on the large white dome at the top of the hill.

La Basilique du Sacré Coeur

This Roman Catholic church is dedicated to the sacred heart of Jesus. It sits high overlooking the city of Paris. We could see it when we visited the Patheon dome and Arc de Triomphe. The church is made from Château Landon stone. This stone naturally whitens whenever it rains. So, it continues to self-clean and stay pristine.

Restaurant Sacré Fleur

Our last dinner in Paris was at the Restaurant Sacré Fleur in Montmartre. It was a very small, traditional French restaurant specializing in meat dishes. They do not take online reservations, but they do have a reservation process – and it is complicated.

First, email but not too early. You must get a reply. The day before, you must email again. You must get another reply. If you are more than 10-15 minutes late, you will lose your table.

We had reservations for the early seating (it starts at 7 pm but they open early so we had more time to eat). We watched couple after couple get turned away. The entire place was booked for both seatings. Let me tell you, it was worth the effort.

For our last night in Paris, we pulled out all the stops. We ordered frog legs and beef tartar as appetizers. I was a little afraid to try both, but they were really good. The beef tartar was melt-in-your-mouth amazing.

When we placed the order for our main course, we selected Côte de Bœuf, a quintessential French beef dish that serves two. Knowing that we were Americans, our server asked how we would like the meat prepared. We replied whatever the chef recommends (which means rare, by the way). There was a sparkle in his eye.

Then he asked what wine we would be having. We again asked, what was recommended. Oh, now the server was thrilled. We were asked a series of red wine flavor questions, and he returned with a bottle of Tour de Baulx rouge. It was excellent. The meat was also fantastic. Yes, there were salads and sides, but I was only focusing on the mouthwatering steak.

For dessert, I ordered homemade chocolate cake and sorbet. Mark selected three scoops of ice creams and sorbets – vanilla, coffee, and lemon. The two ladies sitting at the table next to us immediately ordered the chocolate cake when they saw mine. The desserts were so decadent. All the food was fantastic.

As the dinner came to an end, the chef came out and personally thanked us for allowing him to make our dinner choices. He explained that he spends a great deal of time with local winemakers, thoughtfully selecting wines that pair well with the menu. What an experience for us!

We walked through Montmartre one last time. The red lights of the Moulin Rouge reminded us of Amsterdam’s Red-Light District. It is hard to believe all that we have experienced in less than a month.

We returned to our hotel and packed up our suitcases. Tomorrow, we return to Texas. We walked 6.1 miles today.

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