Europe 2007 Day 19 – Paris with Jonathan

The alarm went off way too early after the night of song and dance. With the theme song from the Moulin Rouge still echoing in my head, We headed downstairs to meet Jonathan. He had trekked all the way from his apartment to our hotel to meet us.

We grabbed some Parisian Pastries and headed off to the catacombs of Paris. My first thought was that it was a rip off since it was just a underground maze of old limestone. Then I came across the actual crypt. It was a sight to behold. All those bones and skulls lying neatly stacked everywhere. It went on for blocks and blocks and was a bit creepy. One lady even gave up due to claustrophobia. Certain parts were no flash photo zones out of respect. Personally, I think they just wanted to sell more guidebooks. At any rate, I enjoyed this piece of history. Doing some checking, I discovered there are actually a lot more than this one catacomb, but sadly they are not open to the public. It is weird that there are people who will go into the unopened ones and just hang out and watch movies. When we reached the top of the spirals, I was out of breath, probably due to too many Pain au chocolats.

The three of us then set out for Monmartre and Sacre Coeur. It is one of the highest points in Paris, and worth the climb. Be careful, there are some people on the steps who will try and wrap these string things around your arm and get money from you. Jonathan pointed it out to us, and like a game of capture the flag, we looked for gaps and made a run for the top. After a few snaps, we wandered down some neat little side streets in the Abbesses neighborhood. It was just a short walk from Monmartre and before long we had seen it all. This was the Paris I have always wanted to visit. It just seemed more like a movie set than the Paris I am used to seeing.

We then hit the Marais for some shopping and walking and shopping and walking, stopping briefly at a cafe for some drinks and relaxation. We then headed to one of the big department stores to check out CDs and DVDs, but alas no Jarre concerts that I am missing. It was time to eat, so we headed to the Latin Quarter near Notre Dame and wandered the streets as Jonathan tried to find this area of restaurants that he had seen on one of his last trips. We ended up in this great place called Le Bistro Saint Andre which had Steak and Fries with dessert for only 14 euros. The food was good and the price was right. We topped it off with a crepe, and then headed back towards Tour Eiffel.

We toyed with the idea of going to the top at night, but there was still a 30 min queue for the elevator and no one wanted to pay 4 euros to hike the stairs. We made plans to meet in the queue at 9am tomorrow and then go to the very top. I think we will also try and do a Seine boat tour before Jonathan heads back to Geneva. It was great seeing Jonathan again!
One last note, at dinner I made Jonathan count his countries. Turns out he has been to 48 countries according to the Travel Century Club. That puts him double my count and more than a dozen more than Nathan. Looks like we have some work to catch up!