Monday was Katie’s last day in Paris so Chuck opted to end things on a high note. More on that later.
We started the day getting breakfast across the street from the apartment where the waitress is working on Chuck’s pronunciation. Yesterday’s lesson was “jus d’orange.” It’s pretty cute watching him struggle with the alien pronunciation. We then headed to Notre Dame, which is within walking distance of our apartment. Along the way we passed a massive line for Sainte Chapelle, which none of us had heard of. The long line was a bit intimidating so we continued on to Notre Dame, which also had a huge line but was moving briskly along. Sadly for Katie, the crypt is closed on Mondays, so she had to settle on seeing just the cathedral.
They are making huge preparations to celebrate the 850th anniversary of the cathedral. The festivities start in December 2012 and run through December 2013. Among the plans: restoration of the great organ, improved lighting and the construction of a village outside the cathedral that will have a pilgrim’s walk (okay, I think I’m getting that last part right) and lots and lots of concerts. It should be quite the affair! Katie was suitably impressed, and I got to light still more candles (I have been on something of a candle-lighting tear in Paris, having lit candles pretty much in every church we’ve been in).
After Notre Dame, we went souvenir shopping then headed back to the apartment to get ready for the really big part of the day: a dinner cruise on the Seine. Stephane booked the Paris Illuminations tour for us through Bateaux Parisiennes. The cruise started at 8:30pm and was 2 1/2 hours long. The menu was prix fixe, but there were multiple choices for all courses (there were a total of four courses and two wines served). It was, in a word, magical. There’s a very good reason the call Paris the city of lights: it takes on a whole new personality after dark. There was a professional photographer on board taking pictures of everyone and at the end you could look them over and buy them. I have almost never liked any picture taken of me – this guy managed to make even me cooperate for the camera! We ended up buying a couple – they were just too good to pass up. And now I have an official bio photo at last!
Post-dinner cruise we took some photos of the Eiffel Tower all lit up then took the metro back to the apartment and got to experience the metro at night, when the drunks and musicians come out to entertain and annoy – sometimes at the same time! I don’t think it could have been humanly possible to end Katie’s first trip to Europe on a higher note. And best of all, we had fun too! In all the times I’ve come to Paris I have never done a river cruise, much less a dinner river cruise. Now that I have, I can’t recommend it highly enough (and for those wondering, no, it wasn’t cheap. Seats start at 99 Euros per person).