Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Amélie Slept Here

Pages from Jan's Travel Journal: Saturday, February 28, 2009

After visiting the Montmartre Cemetery, we returned to the hotel and found our room, which was actually a lovely suite, the "Amelie Poulain" suite. It was really quite roomy and charming. Our bedroom had a lovely white iron canopy bed, and Darcy's room was equipped with twin beds, an armoire, and a little writing desk. There was also a small, triangular room which contained a large desk, two iron chairs with pretty cushions on them, and a tray on the desk which was laden with packets of coffee, tea, and raisin cake. It was a treat to have a kettle with which to make coffee and tea. The bathroom was also large, with a teak vanity, a tub/shower combination, and a towel warmer. Though a bit worn and shabby at the edges, we thought the suite was simply charming. The two negatives were that there was no view out the windows (just the roof and backs of adjacent buildings) and the stairs! I had read reviews of the hotel and understood that there was a lift, but did not realize that the lift did NOT service the suite, which was the only room at the top of a long, narrow staircase. It was awful for Craig and Darcy and the porter to have to wrestle our heavy luggage to the room. All was forgiven once they opened the door and saw the rooms. 

One of our rooms at the Hotel Prima Lepic, Paris, France

After a short rest, we set out in the direction of Sacre Coeur Basilica. It was not a long walk, but we were trudging up hills and many stairs. It was well worth the climb, though I would recommend the Funicular next time! Sacre Coeur is enormous and very beautiful, looking almost as if it were constructed of sugar. We went inside to view the lovely domes, stained glass, sculptures, and paintings. The crowds were so thick that it was difficult to walk on the sidewalks and stairs and we were afraid of becoming separated. On such a beautifully warm day, it seemed that all of Paris was outside! There were many street performers - mimes, jugglers, musicians, and others. There was a violinist who was excellent. He smiled broadly as he played, and truly seemed to be enjoying himself, so we tossed a few coins into his case.

The happy violinist.

Basilica Sacre Coeur

The view over Paris from that height is spectacular! You can see for miles across the city, to the Seine, the Eiffel Tower, and beyond. The population of Paris is over 2 million, and when you include the metro area, it swells to 12 million! A bit mind-boggling to this Kansas girl. We walked slowly back to the hotel, picking up a few more souvenirs along the way, and as always, snapping lots of photos.We lingered in the Place la Tertre, where the many artists were busily plying their trades. The sun shone through the bare branches and the few new green leaves that had cautiously opened in the warmth, dappling the square with shadows. The laughter of children rang out as they happily rode the carousel, and lovers strolled hand-in-hand through this romantic, postcard-perfect scene. 

After another brief rest at the hotel, we hailed a taxi for the ride to the Hard Rock Cafe. While not a place I would have chosen to dine at in France, we wanted to give Darcy the treat of some "American" food. On the way to the cafe, in the taxi zooming down one of Montmartre's steep hills, we all cried out "whee" as we whooshed downward. I later thought how odd it must have seemed to our French taxi driver, who surely wondered why those crazy Americans were yelling "Oui" as they went downhill! The Hard Rock was crowded and noisy, but the food was good and the Cokes were served with ice! Darcy really enjoyed dining on barbecue for the first time in months, and we had a good time looking at the memorabilia and shouting at each other over the loud music. 

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