Monday – Boulogne, Barbe, Brulee

We spent part of the morning walking around the neighborhood in search of a barbershop or salon for Dave to get a haircut and beard trim, only to find that Monday is a day most places like that are closed.  Who knew?

We had a reservation at 2:00 pm for a Paris Greeter Walk (more about that later) so we took the Metro to Boulogne, several stops from ours, away from central Paris.  We walked around Boulogne exploring and keeping our eyes open for a barber, finding that they were all closed there as well.  We had a good lunch in a very crowded café (and had to pay .50 Euros to use the restroom in the restaurant, first time we encountered that).

After eating we still had about 35 minutes before our appointment, and we came across a barbershop, it was open, and the owner (the only person there) spoke English.  Dave got a quick shampoo, haircut, and beard trim, and we were out the door in about 20 minutes!

I had learned about the Paris Greeters program from TripAdvisor Forums, so I sent an email months ago and was “matched up” with Luc from Boulogne to do a walk around his neighborhood.  He has lived in Boulogne, which is a separate city from Paris, for 68 of his 70 years.  The focus of the walk was on different architectural styles of buildings, and he walked us down side streets, through alley-ways and gardens, pointing things out that we never would have noticed or understood without his explanations.  We had to work hard to concentrate on what he was saying, because while his English was very good, his accent was thick.  He spent two hours with us, and it was very enjoyable getting to know him and learning about his neighborhood.

Instead of taking the Metro back to Paris, we took a city bus on a scenic route along the Seine, ending up near Notre Dame.  Since we hadn’t wanted to wait in the long lines a couple days ago, we walked over to check the line, and found only about 20 persons in line to get into the cathedral.  It was 6:00 pm, and Mass was just beginning, so we sat down and worshipped with the others for Mass, even though it was all in French and we understood only a few words (hallelujah, hosanna, amen).  It was a little disconcerting that throughout the Mass, tourists were walking along the sides of the cathedral, talking (despite the signs that said “Silence!”) and taking pictures.

After Mass we explored the cathedral inside, then walked around the building on the outside, which is even more impressive than the inside.  Then I had the not-so-bright idea of walking along the Seine to the Eiffel Tower.  I greatly underestimated the distance.  Let’s just day we walked more steps (on our Fitbit pedometers) than any other day on the trip so far.  We stopped part way to split a crème brulee (really an excuse to use the restroom in a café), which gave us the energy to walk the rest of the way to Eiffel and then to the apartment.

We took hardly any pictures on Monday – I thought Dave had the camera and wondered why he didn’t take any, but it turned out I had it in my purse, and he wondered why I didn’t get it out and take photos.  Oh well, I’ll just add one from the very end of the day, the best view we have had of the Eiffel Tower at night:

tower up

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