Saturday, August 6, 2011

Day 14 - Final Day

Well, this is the final day of the trip of a lifetime.  I knew that the time would pass quickly - so I tried to truly be present in each and every moment.  That was one of the reasons why I chose to document my daily adventures on the blog - so that when I re-read this few weeks from now, it will confirm that all really happened.

I wanted to make the last day special - but I didn't want to put pressure on the day (I am pretty good at that).  So last night as I was deciding what to do I realized that Paris means two things to me:  the Eiffel Tower and Montmartre.  So that is the way I chose to spend my last day here.

This morning I did not set an alarm but woke up around 7:30AM.  I had a leisurely coffee and internet browse, and then I mapped out my course for the day:  Cimetere Passy (near the Eiffel  Tower) - Rue Cler (open air market that is also near the Eiffel Tower) - and the Rodin Gardens (if the weather held out).  At that point my plan was to return to the apartment and wander the streets of Montmartre one last time.

my "home" metro station
I decided that I would record my "every day" life in pictures - as I truly want to remember and document each event - no matter how trivial.  So I spent quite a bit of time taking pictures in and around the metro.  I had to take the #1 train on more time - and when I exited at Concorde (my usual stop) I was a wee bit disappointed that my father/son duet was not there to serenade me.  Oh well, I thought, it is the weekend and they deserve the time off. When I exited at my next stop however, there they were --- and what were they playing?  My all time favorite, The Chicken Dance.  I knew that it would be a good day!

I had no problem finding the cemetery this go around - it helps when you google the exact street address and then query map directions.  I even located a PDF file of all the French cemeteries - although a map was readily available upon entrance.  I wanted to visit the Passy cemetery for two reasons:  it is in the shadows of the Eiffel Tower, which would give me a different point of view of her loveliness - and it serves as the final resting place for Edward Manet - Berthe Morisot - and Claude Debussy.  I had no problem finding Manet's headstone - the map directions seemed just perfect.  And while he does not have a bird's eye view of the tower - he is looking in her direction.

One of the many views of
the Eiffel Tower from the
Passy Cemetery
I didn't have such luck with Claude Debussy.  I walked and walked and walked in the small circle that was supposed to house his tombstone, but I never had luck finding it.  Perhaps it was because I didn't know exactly what I was looking for - or perhaps it was because I was getting tired and the gnats were driving me crazy (it never rained on me this morning - but the humidity was so thick you could almost gag).

After spending about 45 minutes at the cemetery I felt that it was time to leave.  I decided to take the subway to Rue Cler - the open air market that I went to earlier this week, but several shops were closed for lunch (note to Americans:  the French often take a two hour lunch - and 2-3 weeks off in the month of August.  They are not afraid to relax and rejuvenate!)

What an absolutely delightful surprise the #6 train turned out to be.  I caught the train at the Trocadero metro stop - but immediately after leaving the station it exits from the dark subterranean tunnels and travels above ground --- giving the passengers a beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower along the way. Quite magnificent.

I was afraid that Rue Cler would be quite crowded this Saturday morning, but much to my surprise, it was relatively empty.  There were certainly people milling about - several tourists but also many locals purchasing their weekend supply of fresh fruit, bread, and cheese - perhaps it was the uncertain weather that kept people away..  In any case, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to slowly meander up and down the two block roadway and even dare to take a few pictures (after the experience at Rue Montorgueil - I have been rather skiddish about taking pictures of local shops).  There were several spots available at the famed, Cafe Marche - so I sat at a table on the front row, ordered a cafe creme, and enjoyed the view.  Unfortunately I could not buy any food products, as today was my last day - but I did manage to find a chocolate shop that had some decadent looking confections that I decided to bring home to the family (shhhh....don't is a surprise).

The skies were still cloudy, but fortunately no rain, so I decided to walk to the Rodin Gardens - where  I knew for only one euro I could eat my lunch in a beautiful setting.  On the way there, however, I passed by the Hotel des Invalides where I noticed a lovely flower garden with lots of bench seating.  I decided to go through and check it out.  Such a unique setting with few tourists.  The perfect place to relax with my bread and cheese.

At this point I had decided that I had seen all that I cared to see in "the city" and decided that the rest of the day should be spent in my own neighborhood.  I went to the apartment to rest for a while - and then ventured back up to Sacre Coeur one last time.  She is truly beautiful and I will truly miss her --- although I must confess that I won't miss the hoards of people that surround her on the weekend.  It started raining around 5:00 and I considered that my cue to return to the apartment and begin the process of packing up.

Yes, this has truly been a trip of a lifetime - and I know I have been infinitely blessed.  I saw more than I really thought I would see - and I experienced Paris as a Parisian - which was the ultimate goal.  I learned that I can navigate a strange city on my own and I can converse in French "well enough"  I may not be an adventurer - but this was a spectacular adventure for me.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing your journey through Paris. I really admire you going alone and exploring as much as you did. Glad you had a wonderful time.

  2. The photos of this day are lovely. I'm having a bit of a bluesy day here in Texas and thinking about you having to leave Paris after two weeks there makes me tear up. I know you will be breathing in this experience for a lifetime.

    When you get home, your fellow unravellers are up to a little group magic. Drop by our boards and come along...

    lots of love,


  3. Just lovely! So delighted by what a fabulous adventure this has been:) May your trip home be smooth and pleasant. Hope to see you soon so we can catch up on all of this in person!

  4. You've had such a lovely trip, and I've enjoyed being there too. Renting an apartment is such a wonderful way to stay in Paris. The first time I stayed in Paris, we stayed a week. The second time, last year, we stayed for two weeks. Next time I'd love to stay for a month. Not sure when and if that will happen. But for now I can visit vicariously. Amelie was on tv in Australia last night, and I watched it again. Abbesses was her local Metro station too.

  5. I'm so glad you've had such an amazing time! Thanks for all of your updates here. I have really enjoyed experiencing your trip through your eyes, even if I haven't had the chance to comment on each post. It certainly sounds like an adventure to me!

  6. Molly, I have loved reading of your visit to Paris. I have tried to picture all that you described. Thank you for posting. I can't wait to read it all again! Safe travels back home. Be is HOT in Kansas!

  7. I'm sure the time has flown for you, because it has for me!

  8. It has been simply wonderful to share this journey with you, Molly. I have enjoyed every day. Thank you!

  9. What a wonderful trip! I enjoyed every one of your posts!

  10. I loved reading your blog posts, Molly. Thank you so much!

  11. Your journey was marvelous to follow. Loved the pictures as well Molly.

  12. I think it is fantastic that you managed to document your entire trip … it will make for a great keepsake!! I admire your discipline in keeping this online journal during the actual trip!!

    Thanks for sharing!

  13. Thank you for sharing all the details of your trip! I know what it's like to have a vacation fly by, but I'm glad to see you really made the most of it.

  14. What a pleasure it has been enjoying your trip, vicariously, through your writings, Molly. What a gift you gave all who read you here, and, in turn, I hope a gift to yourself, besides the most glorious trip.

    Thank you for sharing so much.

  15. I think that this has been such a wonderful experience for you and want to thank you so much for sharing it with the rest of us!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Hi Molly,
    What a nice trip you have in Paris. I plan to visit Paris next month and I hope that it can be a nice trip too. I learn a lot from your writings here so that I know more about many things.

  17. Merci beaucoup for sharing with us such an incredible journey!

  18. What a lovely trip and what a brave woman you are to do it alone. Truly an experience you will never forget.

  19. What a wonderful trip. I am quite jealous!

  20. Wonderful, wonderful! We were there for a week in long ago 1971, and stayed at a then 'undiscovered' hotel with those great windows that open out. We were near Place Contrescarpe - Hemingway's old haunt.

  21. Merci beaucoup for sharing with us such an incredible journey!

  22. I have called by today from Alyce's blog and am now following you.
    Thanks for sharing your Paris trip which triggered many happy memories for me.

  23. Your trip sounds like it was wonderful. I traveled through part of Europe last summer and found it wonderful for inspiration. My travel experiences may end up in my Birder Murder books someday!

  24. Molly, I came across your blog on Pulse under my Paris setting. I loved how you posted everyday and wished that I had had done so on my trips to Paris. Most were done while I was in the U.S. Army I wold take long weekends in the city from Germany.
    I love Paris and never get to see all that I want which is I do enjoy reading others that enjoy it the way I do.
    My last trip was last December during Europes worst winter, but I enjoyed what I could. Just walking around and seeing places I hadnt on my previous trips. This was my longest, a week, but I wished it longer. But that is for next time.
    I just wanted to say thanks for your blog.


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