August 19, 2012

France Revisited

Paris, July 2012 - I'm back in France and it's the day after Bastille Day. When our flight arrived mid-morning, the city was still recuperating from the previous night's festivities so our transfer from Charles De Gaulle Airport to the Pullman Montparnasse was unimpeded by heavy traffic.

The Champs-Elysées dressed up for Bastille Day 2012

Following a visit to France with Trafalgar's Contrasts of Europe train tour in 2010, I wanted to see more of this varied country. So I arrived in Paris with Avalon Waterways for a river cruise through Burgundy and Provence, followed by a stay on the Cote d'Azur, and the opportunity to experience a few more items on my Bucket List.

After we got settled into the hotel we ventured out into the drizzle in search of lunch. We walked a few blocks to boulevard Montparnasse where two historic cafés, Le Select and La Coupole, sit across from each other. July is sale month in Paris but most of the shops we passed were unfortunately closed.

Le Select was our choice for lunch and we sat next to the windows for a delicious meal of roasted chicken.

Roasted chicken at Le Select

After lunch the sun appeared and we headed for the Luxembourg Gardens. I'd read that the gardens are changed out three times each year, and the current planting was in yellow. The last time I was here in the 80s, the colour theme was pink.

Palace at the Luxembourg Gardens

We strolled the pathways shaded by chestnut trees past the tennis courts, pony rides, bee hives and ponds.

Walkways of Luxembourg Gardens

Bee hives at the Luxembourg Gardens

Pond in front of the Luxembourg Palace

Upon exiting the park on the east side we came upon a fine view of the Pantheon, which could also be seen from our hotel room.

The Pantheon, Paris

View of the Pantheon from the Pullman Montparnasse

We returned to the hotel in the late afternoon for a welcome meeting with our tour group. For our next day in Paris, we booked an optional tour of Montmartre.

Next:  Paris and Montmartre

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