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Our day in Paris began as expected. I woke around 5 am and dozed until my Fitbit woke me at 6 am. By the time I had showered Majella was awake. We let Callum sleep until the agreed time of 6:45 when it took a couple of calls to get him moving.

Once Callum had showered we went to breakfast. The hotel restaurant was filled by the occupants of a couple of tourist coaches, one group of teen school students and another of seniors. There was plenty of variety in the breakfast offerings and we easily found what we wanted to eat. Callum enjoyed a croissant but was less excited about the pain au chocolat.

On the way back to our room we checked the schedule for the shuttle to the airport. They run about hourly and we would have had to wait almost an hour for the next. We decided to Uber instead.

Our Uber driver arrived promptly but seemed unfamiliar with the CDG terminal area. He got lost twice, adding time to the trip and a surcharge to our fare. Still it was better than waiting for the shuttle.

Our Uber dropped us at the point indicated for the trains but we still had some distance to walk to find our Paris Visite tickets that we planned to use for transport into and around the city. A man standing by the machine assisted our purchase and explained that trains today were substituted by buses running from Terminal 2F. Another walk and some concerns when we could see neither buses nor signs about them for a time got us to the bus. We boarded, expecting to ride to Gare du Nord but were deposited at Saint Denis.

From there we took the train to Gare du Nord. I had originally planned to go on another couple of stations and then take a metro to a station near the Eiffel Tower. The train we were on did not follow that route so we got off, intending to get the next train that would put us back on track. It was then we discovered the trains and metro were disrupted. A man on the platform described an alternative route via Denfert-Rochereau and Metro 6 to Bir-Hakeem. That was much longer than the original plan but it worked.

From Bir-Hakeem we walked toward the Eiffel Tower along the esplanade. We soon encountered crowds from the Paris 10 km run and then an event fence that forced us to go back to a previous street and head for the side of the tower away from the river.

When we reached it we found the tower was now surrounded by a tall fence. On previous visits we had been able to walk directly into the space beneath. There was a sign about tickets being sold on the esplanade and walked back toward the river. It was not until we had almost circumnavigated the tower that we found the security point by the entrance to the compound for those without tickets which we discovered were on sale within the compound.

By the time we joined the queue to buy tickets for the lift it was about 10:30 am. With all the transport delays we were pleased we had not bought tickets online because we would have missed our time slot.

The couple ahead of us in the queue were from Perth so we chatted a little about travel as we waited. It took about 90 minutes to reach the ticket sales. About an hour into that time a sign announced that the top level was closed due to crowding. Callum had discovered the free wifi and used it to FaceTime Family at home. Hannah managed to grab screenshots with all the family in two places.

Eventually we reached the ticket sales point, bought our tickets, passed security, and took the lift to the second level. We walked around at that level looking at the city spread out below. We continued our tradition of calling Hannah from high places and chatted briefly. Then we took the stairs down to avoid the queue for the lift, pausing for a quick look at the first level.

From there we walked the few hundred metres along the Seine to Musée des Égouts de Paris. Nick had recommended it, based on his experience, for our 2017 trip but it was closed then by flood damage so we added it to this trip. It was an interesting short visit with numerous historical tunnels and artefacts and channels with a substantial flow of water that seemed bound for treatment. The best part was probably the toilets which were clean and lacked the crowds typical of Parisian public toilets.

We crossed the Seine and walked up Avenue George V past high end fashion stores and some fancy restaurants. At the Champs Élysées we walked up to see the Arc de Triomphe. We did not have the desire to stand in line again so we took a photo from across the street and then crossed the Champs Élysées. After a short pause to watch street performers we walked down to the McDonald’s Callum had spotted. He had lunch of cheeseburger with wedges and a McFlurry. He pronounced the various parts of his meals the best Maccas he had eaten.

Rather than walk down the length of the Champs Élysées and beyond to the Louvre we rode the Metro from the nearby station to one that delivered us into the Louvre area. We found a queue in the building and joined it without realising it was for people with tickets that we did not have. Once we realised that we went back up to the outside, queued again, passed security, queued again, and bought our tickets. We had to queue again to have our tickets checked to actually enter the Louvre. Inside we headed upstairs through the maze of passages to find the Mona Lisa. We saw some interesting statuary and other large paintings on the way to the Mona Lisa and more as we wound our way back through other passages and galleries.

Majella was keen to see La Samaritaine, a recently renovated department store she had heard about. It was close enough to the Louvre that we walked rather than walk to a Metro station and then walk from another nearby Metro station to the store. We spent some time admiring the store decor, Including riding the escalators up 5 floors to the top and back down.

I had planned to go from there past Notre Dame to a station from which we would be able to take a train back to the airport and our hotel. Instead, Majella suggested we go to Montmartre and Sacré Coeur. I found a route that began at a nearby Metro station so we walked there and took the Metro to Château Rouge as directed by the app. From there we walked through some streets that rose gently until we confronted a long stairway up to the area in front of Sacré Coeur. We had hoped to find the funicular but there was no sign of it. Only after mounting what seemed like hundreds of steps did we realise that the funicular that runs up alongside the steps in front of the basilica was around a corner from where we had started. We discovered later that there is a Metro station that would have led us to that point but it was on a different line and my app had given us what it saw as the most direct route from Samaritaine. As the Irishman said when he gave directions, “I wouldn’t start from here.”

We had a brief look inside the basilica and then walked through the nearby artists area which Majella declares is her favourite part of Paris. We did manage to find the funicular to ride down using the Paris Visite tickets we had been using all day. There were more souvenir stores below and we spent some time browsing there. This time Majella did buy a beret similar to the one she had tried on when we visited with Sam.

Before leaving the Montmartre area Majella suggested we stop for drinks. The cafe she chose had a selection of crepes which we added to the drinks for o simple evening meal. Callum selected a crepe with Nutella and cookies. Majella had ham with her rose and I had ham and cheese with my beer. We enjoyed our simple dinner and then set off to return to our hotel. We had not gone far before Majella bought 3 more less expensive berets for the sake of a photo opportunity with the 3 of us in front of Sacré Coeur.

I was able to find a route that took us from a nearby Metro one stop to a junction with another line on which we could ride one stop to Gare du Nord from which the train toward the airport departs. That took us back the way we had come, to Saint Denis on the train and then by bus to Terminal EF at CDG.

I wanted to check the location of the Budget office so we would get to the right place to collect our rental car in the morning. We found that and then set off in search of a taxi or somewhere an Uber might be able to pick us up.

After a long traversal of the terminal we finally approached the area where we had been dropped this morning. We asked a man standing just inside that area where we might find a taxi or Uber to our hotel. He offered to take us. Evidently he was a Bolt driver and more efficient than our morning Uber driver. My mistake was not to ask what it would cost. I assumed it would be metered like a taxi or charged by an app like

Uber. It wasn’t and he wanted 35 Euros when he dropped us at the hotel. Having paid 10 for a taxi and 20 for an Uber that had got lost, I argued that was far too much. He offered to take us back to the airport. We eventually settled for 30. Lesson learned and I’ll take care to ask next time.

Back in our hotel room we relaxed. Majella was asleep by 9:30 pm and Callum seemed sleepy too. By that time the storm was rumbling outside and the power had gone out. My Fitbit had recorded 27500 steps for the day and we were feeling every one of them but we had seen the bits of Paris we had planned to see despite some interruptions to our plans.


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