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Dejais' London and Paris Trip Report or How Mom was a trooper despite a rough landing into nettles!

Dejais' London and Paris Trip Report or How Mom was a trooper despite a rough landing into nettles!

Old Sep 27th, 2006, 06:58 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
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I'm enjoying your report soooooo much. Your Mom is a treasure AND a trooper. Your relationship reminds me very much of my relationship with my mom, with whom I was lucky to share 3 trips to France and Switzerland.

"Or do I TAKE THE PICTURE???" - priceless! Can't wait for the next installement. Thanks for taking the time to write this up!
lindall is offline  
Old Sep 27th, 2006, 07:32 PM
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Thanks, Lindall. When my brother and sister got the email with the details I did not include the fact that I had taken the pictures. They both replied back, "You better have pictures!"

It got a big laugh from everyone that I actually stopped to photograph her laying in the grass on the bike before I helped her. But my family was like well, of course, you HAD to take the shots first! Glad we are all on the same page or I could have been toast.
Dejais is offline  
Old Sep 27th, 2006, 08:06 PM
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I am really enjoying your report. Laughing out loud even. But I can't believe you wouldn't let your mother bring fabric home from Paris. I think you have to plan another trip and bring an extra bag for her fabric purchases.
Nikki is online now  
Old Sep 27th, 2006, 08:15 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
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Oh gads, Dejais, you and your Mom are like my daughter and I, except she is such a photo nut she would have probably been taking about 20 pictures, lol. Again, I am so enjoying your precious trip report. And thank goodness except for the stiiinging your Mom didn't have any broken bones etc.

And I too wonder why more daughters and mothers do not enjoy special times together. You said your Mom is one of your best friends. My daughter and also my darling stepdaughter are two of my best friends. I feel so blessed.

Now, fingers tapping here on the desk, more of the trip report please!

LoveItaly is offline  
Old Sep 28th, 2006, 05:44 AM
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I am loving your travel report! I can just picture your mom and dad, the banjo player and drum majorette. Too funny. And, I can't believe you took the picture!!!
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Old Sep 28th, 2006, 08:47 AM
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Reminds me of the time we lost my mother out blackberrying in the hedgerows. Eventually the sounds of youthful glee from my nephews and a very strained voice from somewhere below my feet revealed a jack-knifed mother wedged in a deep ditch that she hadn't seen for all the overgrown greenery around the most tempting blackberries (isn't it always the way?).
PatrickLondon is offline  
Old Sep 28th, 2006, 08:56 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
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Very entertaining!

Thank you for this funny report.
I am not sure that in your place I would have had the presence of mind to take pictures in that situation.

That was hilarious!
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Old Sep 28th, 2006, 10:53 AM
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So when do we get to see the picture?!!

Enjoying your report!
Italybound07 is offline  
Old Sep 28th, 2006, 10:57 AM
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Show us the picture!!

Come ooon, it will add weight to your report!!
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Old Sep 28th, 2006, 12:33 PM
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Dejais - This trip report is simply wonderful. I laughed out loud at the thought of your Mother and Father in the Metro performing. Hilarious. I wish I had taken my Mother to Paris. We would have had so many laughs.
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Old Sep 28th, 2006, 12:51 PM
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Okay, in the link below, I have posted a few pictures including two from Mom's great fall. The one where she was flat down on top of the bike did not come out in my haste to capture the moment. But in the two I posted where she is getting up, take a look at the grass behind her and notice how flat it is compared to the rest. This would be the site of her landing after the great tumble.

I also included a picture of the couple from the subway Mom wishes to be, the secret entrance to the Louvre (mentioned in today's post), and some pictures from Monet's gardens. Enjoy!


Also, I realize that I have not included any web site references in my postings. I will list all that are relevant at the end of my trip report.


Today is Thursday and we have scheduled a Da Vinci Code Walk. Again, we have booked it through Fat Tire at a cost of 20E per person. We meet outside the Ritz Hotel in the Place Vendome at 10 am.

This turns out to be a very casual, easy stroll and we especially enjoy walking through the Jardin des Tuileries. The tour guide goes through the book and points out relevant things along the way but also includes other information regarding the sights we see.

We walk from the Ritz Hotel through the Tuileries to the Louvre. One interesting thing we saw in the Tuileries was how they shape the trees. The men working on trimming used a half-circle form held up against the tree to be sure each had the same shape. No wonder they all looked the same! (Mom wondered where she could buy one of those for her trees.)

The tour guide pointed out the “secret” entrance to use later when we returned to the Louvre. This is important to note since there always seems to be such a long line at the entrance to the Louvre. If you have the Louvre to your back and are facing the little Arch across the street, the “secret” entrance can be found directly to your left. It is called the Porte des Lions entrance and there is a sign on the wall to lead the way down the stairs and under the street. This also leads to the mall which is under the Louvre (who knew?). Great info to know as there was never a line of more than five people when we were there. But for those of you who have walked a great deal…be warned…there are a lot of stairs. Our calves groaned each time we went this way!

After the Louvre, we walked over the Pont des Artes pedistrian bridge. For those who don’t know, this is where Carrie and Mr. Big had their final scene in Paris. We loved that! We continued on through the St Germain area. Having never been in this part of Paris before, I found all of the art boutiques and sculptures on display to be lovely. Next time, I think this might be a nice area to stay in. It is very different from the 7th. Definitely a great place to window shop. We wound our way around to the Church of St Germain des Pres and then continued on to the last stop, St Sulpice.

It was nice to walk through this area and the tour guide was informative and very nice, but we were not overly impressed with the tour. Just okay, not great. Aftwards, we decided to head back to the Louvre and look around but it was lunch time so as we walked we stopped at an outdoor café to eat. And I have to tell you, this was the best meal we had in Paris.

We stumbled onto this café and I wish I could tell you the name or location but I did not take note at the time. I ordered a salad with chicken and Mom ordered a salad with warm goat cheese and country ham. They were delicious and so beautifully presented. It was a wonderful surprise! We even took pictures of the salads they were so beautiful.

After lunch we made our way back to the Louvre and took in some of the art in the Denon wing, most importantly, the Mona Lisa. I have to say people are right. It is pretty unimpressive. It is small and there is a large crowd gathered around it so it is difficult to truly take in the work and appreciate it. But it was one of the things on our list of things to see. We were both like, okay, we came, we saw, we’re done. By this time, we were pretty toured and museumed out so I thought it was time for a treat. I told mom, “Let’s go, I have a surprise,” and, of course, she followed.

This was one of the easiest things about this trip. There was never any real discussion or decision making about what we would do or where we would go next. I had asked Mom when I started planning this trip to choose one thing – a place, a moment in history, a restaurant, anything – just one thing that she would like to do or see and we would do it. I thought if she did some research then she would feel as if she had contributed and was doing things she had chosen as well.

But alas, the best laid plans, right? When I asked Mom around June what she had decided to research for us to do she told me she was really too busy to spend any time on the internet and did she really have to find something? (I wasn’t even going to mention the getting up early to spend 2-3 hours a day for the past year planning this while trying to run two businesses and build a new restaurant) I said well, then pick a meal or a restaurant. “Oh, no,” she said, ”I will do anything and go anywhere you say. Anything is fine with me, really.” I just shook my head. Okay…….

Well, I have to say, she was true to her word. All I did was point and lead and she followed the entire way. She was happy to do anything I suggested and never wanted to make any decisions. She just wanted to follow. So I led her back to the Pont des Artes bridge and the Batobus for a nice relaxing ride along the Seine River.

We purchased a two day pass for 13E each and waited for the boat to arrive. They come about every 15 minutes so the wait was not long. We decided to ride back to the Eiffel Tower and then walk to the apartment from there. It was a nice leisurely way to get back without any effort on our part. If you are tired and need a break, this is definitely an enjoyable way to spend time.

One thing we saw while cruising along was a lot of homeless people living along the banks. This surprised us as we did realize there were that many people living in Paris like this. Also, the structures they built (even though some were cardboard) looked pretty permanent. Mostly they were made of pup tents and there were scores of them. It was an unknown city from this view and surprising.

We had dinner reservations this evening at Altitude 95 in the Eiffel Tower but we had decided the day before to forego this. Neither of us had big appetites due to all of the walking and the heat and we knew we would not want to eat dinner. Plus Mom did not want to go up the Eiffel Tower. She thought the elevator looked like a roller coaster (WHAT???) and she was having no part in going “all the way up that thing”. At this point, I could take it or leave it. Our days were so jam-packed that going home and hitting the couch seemed more our speed anyway.

So as the Eiffel Tower came in to view, we took photos and talked about how nice it would be to go home and sit down. Along the way back, we found the McCoy Café at 49 Ave Bosquet. This is a small café that offers free WIFI and American sandwiches and products (think Pepperidge Farm and Pop Tarts). So we stopped in and purchased some sandwiches and snacks for later.

One block later, we were back home. The DVD for this evening would be French Kiss with Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline. Since it was early and I knew the movie would end before 10, I told Mom we would absolutely have to walk back to the park tonight so she could see the Eiffel Tower all lit up and sparkling. There was no way I was letting her leave Paris without seeing the lights!

So at 10 to 10, the movie ended and I said, “Hurry up! You don’t want to miss the lights twinkling.” We threw on sweats and powerwalked two blocks to the park. The evening was perfect. The air was cool, the sky clear, and you could just see the tip of the Tower as we made our way to the park.

As we walked into the park, the trees blocked most of the Tower so I told Mom not to look yet. And then as we came to the middle I said, “Okay, look…..” and she did. She sighed and said, “Oh, you were so right. No one should come to Paris and ever miss this.” And then right at that moment the lights begin to twinkle and she let out a gasp, “Oh, it’s so pretty! Oh, wow!” I think we stood there for 20 minutes. She did not want to leave. It was a magical moment.

Later in the week, as we were getting ready to leave Paris, I asked my mom what her favorite part of the trip had been. Mine was the bike ride for obvious reasons. I thought Mom might have said Monet’s Gardens since he was her favorite painter but no. “The twinkling lights of the Tower,” she said, “That will always stay with me.”

Aaaaaaaah, Paris. It is magical, isn’t it?

TOMORROW: Making the most of our museum passes

Dejais is offline  
Old Sep 28th, 2006, 12:57 PM
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My daughter is my best travel companion, and one of our favorite photos is one she took of me climbing a stile when we got lost trying to get from the unmanned train station at Hever to the Castle.

Your trip report is great.
carolyn is offline  
Old Sep 28th, 2006, 01:20 PM
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Saw the photos, thank you.

However, a bit disappointed that I didn't see the "moment".

Oh, you had great fun!
gabrieltraian is offline  
Old Sep 28th, 2006, 01:30 PM
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Gabriel..Think how I felt NOT to help her and still not get the picture. AGH! I swear I pushed the button when she was flat on her butt lying on top of that bicycle. God, it was funny!

Must be God playng his games with me again...hee hee
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Old Sep 28th, 2006, 03:59 PM
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I am cackling-"I swear I pushed that button when she was flat on her butt..."

What a great sport your mom is!

You are hilarious. My mom and I would both have peed our pants if it had happened to us!
Italybound07 is offline  
Old Sep 28th, 2006, 04:21 PM
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Italybound...My brother and sister are threatening to disown me for missing the photo of a lifetime. And yes, mom and I laughed so hard, I thought they might throw us off the train on the way back. By the time we arrived in Paris we had mascara running down our cheeks!
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Old Sep 28th, 2006, 04:50 PM
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Oh . . . my . . . goodness . . . That is so wonderfully funny! The pictures are great.

And, yes, Paris is magical!

Thank you for sharing your mom with us!
LCBoniti is offline  
Old Sep 28th, 2006, 07:16 PM
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Hi Dejais'!

Another wonderful & hilarious installment, thanks! Did your eyes "stiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing" from the mascara running down your faces while you were laughing so hard?
lindall is offline  
Old Sep 29th, 2006, 12:28 PM
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Our original plan had been to spend this day at Versailles, but after so much walking all week long, I was concerned that it would be too much for Mom. That combined with the fact that our 4-day museum passes would run out today made us change our plan of action. I gave Mom the option of going to Versailles or going to three museums in Paris – the D’Orsay, the Rodin, and Invalides. She agreed that Versailles involved too much walking and opted to stay in Paris and make the most of our passes.

We still had our Batobus passes so we decided to head to the D’Orsay via boat. It was only one stop away from the Eiffel Tower. When you add the cost of the museums we did see, the price of the pass may have been a bit more than the actual entrance fees. However, the chance to skip the long lines made the few extra Euro well worth it. There was, of course, a line at the D’Orsay which we were again able to skip. Saving time that would have been spent standing in line made us feel as though the passes were well worth it. I would definitely recommend purchasing passes for this reason.

As I said before, Monet is one of Mom’s favorite painters so we made sure to hit all of the Monet exhibits. I favor Degas and Renoir so we added these in as well. The Degas sculptures were my favorites. Actually seeing The Little Ballerina in person was a highlight for me. They also had a special exhibit of Willumsen paintings which we enjoyed. In all, we spent about a two hours here.

Having mapped out a plan ahead of time, we decided to walk to the Rodin Museum and eat lunch along the way. We found a nice café on Rue Bac and had a nice leisurely lunch. Afterwards, we walked to the Rodin.

Mom loved this Museum and the fact that it was a park-like setting. Walking through we noticed several of the statues were missing and Mom made up stories of where they were. “That one must have walked off in the middle of the night,”, “He’s probably at a party with the others,” , “Oh, this one was lonely, so he moved to the other side.” When she saw the look on my face, she said, “I’m only kidding, they’re probably being cleaned or restored.” I said, “Really? You think?” Again, the two idiots cracked themselves up. I think we spent the majority of this trip laughing.

As I was photographing The Gates of Hell, Mom was studying the statue and started commenting on all the things she was seeing – The Thinker, The Shades, other Rodin works she had seen in the park. It was very neat. I had only heard about The Gates and had never actually seen it so it was pretty cool of Mom to see all of this and point it out. I was impressed.

Afterwards, I asked her if she was tired or up for another museum that was on the way toward where we were staying. It was getting late in the day and I could see she was tired but she said, ‘We’re here, we have passes, we must go. Doesn’t matter if we’re tired. We must see it all.” Today she was being Super Trooper Woman. So on we went to Invalides.

Along the way, I told her the story of Napoleon’s Tomb and how he was buried inside six coffins. She could not get her head around this idea. So when we entered and looked over the railing and she actually saw his tomb she was aghast. “Such a big place for such a little man,” she pondered, “Amazing.”

The Musee d’lArmee is closed for renovations so as we headed out we decided to sit for a minute on the steps and just take everything in. As we were sitting there, army men starting coming from down the lane. First a handful and then more and more. “Oh, maybe they are going to do something,” Mom said. I started snapping photos for my grandson who I knew would love to see French army men in their crisp blue uniforms with their guns and swords.

They seemed to be lining up in formation and Mom was sure they were going to do SOMETHING. But what?? “Maybe they are going to PLAY for us,” she said.

“Mom, they have guns, not instruments.” “Yeah, I guess it would be hard to make them play,” she agreed.

“Maybe they are going to MARCH for us,” she said. God, this was beginning to sound like the Three Bears! “No, Mom, I don’t think so. There is no room to parade where they are lining up.”
And after waiting and guessing for ten minutes, a man came over, snapped their picture in formation and they were done. Off came the hats, down went the guns, and they all hung out talking. “Time to go,” I said. I think she was disappointed.

We had decided we would head back to the apartment but stop first at Fat Tire Bike Tour. I wanted to check for email from home and pick up a T-shirts for my husband and me (really nice long sleeve ones for 13E each). He did not buy one last year when we were here and everytime I put mine on he would say, “Man, I wish I had one of those.” So I knew I had to get him one while I was here.

Mom decided she HAD to have one after probably becoming a legend in their office for falling down the hill on the bike tour. So off we headed to the office. While picking out our shirts, it just so happened that our bike tour guide, Cody, was also there, and he came up behind Mom to surprise her and say hi. “How are your hands?” he asked. “Oh,” Mom beamed as she turned around, ”They don’t stiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing any more. And I thought I DESERVED a shirt to celebrate my falling down.” Everyone laughed. What a sport she is!

We got our shirts, checked for news from home, thanked everyone there for a great time on the tours and headed out. Along the way picked up carry out for dinner, deciding once again to not go out to dinner. Every morning we would say, okay, tonight we will eat a really nice dinner out but then every evening around 6 or 7 we would just look at each other and go, “Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaah, maybe tomorrow night.” Needless to say, tomorrow night never came.

We arrived back at the room around 8pm, settled in with our to-go food and a DVD. Tonight’s movie, The Last Time I Saw Paris with Elizabeth Taylor and Van Johnson.

TOMORROW: Our last full day in Paris. Time to hit the department stores and shop!
Dejais is offline  
Old Sep 29th, 2006, 04:29 PM
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“Such a big place for such a little man,” Another chuckle!
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