The sun had set even before we boarded the plane. I am watching a blue and red ribbon across the horizon as the sun starts to fade. I saw the Eiffel Tower resplendent in its lights as the plane flew over Paris. I whispered “Au Revoir..” — then I felt like Douglas MacArthur declaring “I shall return.”
It’s an almost 8-hr flight to JFK, so I’ve started doing some catch up with my blogging. I have just under a thousand snapshots I will sift through, upload, print and make a scrapbook of. I even managed to take some Christmas-card worthy shots of the Champs Elysees aglow with its trees all lit up and of myself in the Galleries Lafayette with its giant Christmas tree towering above me.
I left Paris wishing I could stay, but I missed Angel more. Besides, Paris will always be there, and even as we went the sightseeing rounds this visit, we already started planning the next with Angel in tow.
I didn’t get as many postcards as I did the last time but I still got quite a bunch. This time, though, I already knew where to get them cheap, and which ones I liked. I sent Angel some 14 postcards to tell him about this trip. Mostly, I kept repeating over and over again how his Papa and Mama missed him.
I didn’t get to visit all the places I had planned on, but what I managed to cross off my ideal itinerary for this trip has more than made up for those that I missed.
We saw Mona Lisa reigning supreme in her new court in a newly-renovated Salle at the Denong Wing of the Louvre. And as I mentioned beofre, Alan and I had both visited the same Salle before although on separate occasions,m and this time, we explored the other two salles, Richelieu and Sully together.
We got a one-day Batobus pass and enjoyed seeing Paris via the Seine river. We went back to the Eiffel Tower, this time falling in line to go up to the second level and taking breathtaking pictures of the city below us.
Then we proceeded to the Musee D’ Orsay where we beheld the treasure trove of Impressionist Art and saw for ourselves the originals of masterpieces we had seen reproduced da thousand times in books, notecards, calendars and othe rmementos. Degas, renoir, Manet, Denis (who had a special exhibition running through to January), my favorite Van Gogh, just to name a few.
We walked the halls and grounds of Versailles and were overwhelmed b y the artistry, opulence and grandeur of the rich history of France.
On my own, I did make it to Chartres which enabled me to explore France’s largest cathedral. I regret that I came for the afternoon only and hence ran out of time to do more than just a quick tour of this quaint town. I was totally charmed by the village-like atmosphere which was a far cry from the hustle and bustle of “gay Paris”. I am definitely going back, and next time, it will be with Alan.
I also managed to find the Chapel of our Lady of the Miraculous Medal and stumbled into another one of Paris’ shopping havens, Le Bon Marche. But the most rewarding part of that portion of my vacation was actually catcing the midday mass. I must confess that I don’t go to mass regularly, but when I pray, I DO pray. I feel blessed to have come at the right time.
I was able to do some shopping at the OPERA area but my biggest thrill was seeing the Christmas decor and getting those shots by the giant Christmas tree at Galleries Lafayette. (People must’ve thought me either pathetic or amusing as I held my camera at arm’s length with the lens tilted up to catch the tree in the shot. But I did manage to get some good ones!)
One of the biggest bonuses of this trip was meeting up with Jeannie and her son, Adrian. Jeannie and I met through my blog and I am so grateful to her for her hospitality over dinner at L’Alsace.
Although I had originally planned to spend a day at La Marias as suggested by Darryl, I had a shopping mistake which necessitated an exchange so I had to go back to Printemps to get my correct shoe size. I did get to Hotel De Ville and BHV, but I had to hurry on back to Champs Elysees to get my things ready for the trip back home. So next time I am in Paris, La Marais, as well as Musee Rodin, will be on top of my list.
As long as this entry may be, it’s actually the cliffnotes version. The travelogue will be posted in full at Pinay Francophile. The posts on my personal reflection on this recent trip will be cross posted here. It was, after all, the Pinay New Yorker who went to Paris. But the trip itself needs to be where it belongs — over at Pinay Francophile.