Posted by: octogirl7 | October 11, 2013

Octopus and the Eiffel Tower

It is well you might wonder what octopus and Paris have in common.  Hubby and I had a wonderful trip to Paris and the heart of France recently.  I was of course jonesing for octopus when I returned to Hawaii, so the next day, i.e., as soon as possible, I got into the water.  And saw 5 octopus.  Two pairs, to be exact.  Quite a thrill even though the water was high tide and bad visibility. All the better for not disturbing the lovers!

Paris was all I remembered and more.  In fact, just having my husband with me was a treat.  So much so that I was for a bit stymied about how to write about it: there was so much, that I almost decided not to even start.  Just to take off on the next octo-adventures.  But that would be short sheeting Paris, so here goes.

We stayed in wonderful hotels and even a castle (La Bourdaisiere) in central France.  I didn’t taste wine (and yes, I was complaining about my heart SVT issues as I said no, politely, to the wonderful wine.)    But I did sample great cheese and wonderful pastries.  Oh yes, those French folks definitely know how to use their butter and sugar!

We had a few 5 course meals, which we determined was a bit much, even for us big eaters. But it was a trip to go through all the different courses.  And of course, we held our breath for the Creme Brulee!  Such a simple dessert, but amazing how many different ways it can be prepared.  All of them lush and totally worth the calories.

We walked up the 284 steps of the Arc de Triomphe.  Whew.  Again, totally worth the walk!  Many stairs to a great view of all Paris.

I had just returned to our hotel just off the Avenue de la Grande Armee from visiting the Museum of Jewish History.  Also, totally worth the visit.  But since it was a nice day, I decided to walk all the way back to the hotel, which probably was 3 or 4 miles, all told.  That’s when he reminded me that we planned to walk up the Arc!  Whoo-eee.  Probably the only day I was at a calorie deficit.

The facilities, aka W.C., had improved since my last visit, over 13 years ago.  Some still snagged us with having to pay, but mostly if you visit a restaurant, they will have nicer bathrooms.  Of course, nicer, but still down the stairs.  I tell ya, Paris is ALL about the stairs.

And speaking of stairs, it actually wasn’t just Paris!  We also visited Mont St. Michel, and to get to the early morning Lauds, I went up the cobble stone street to the stairs to enter the Abbey.  THEN there are more stairs inside, big surprise.  Good thing I was dedicated to seeing this early morning singing service.  It was great….the singers were actually so good that I thought it was a recording.  But I’m told that it was actually the brothers and nuns who were singing.  They sounded so wonderful and the windows were great too.  So much great stained glass in France.  And our guide reminded me of something: stained glass helped tell everyone Bible stories.  For those who could not read, they were an opening to all the stories of the Bible.

When I had visited Mont Saint Michel years ago, I was almost captured by the incoming tide.  In case you are not familiar, the Abbey and town are on an island.  Twice a day, the tide comes in and makes this an island.  If you are not ready, this is quite a shock for ya!  But as is the case on all parts of the Rick Steves tours, it was well planned and we were already happily ensconced in our hotel rooms when the high tide arrived.  And boy, was it lovely.

The light was amazing.  You could watch the tide coming in, along with the sea gulls.  (I have grown out of the habit of seagulls, just as I have missed hummingbirds.  Neither can make it to Hawaii on their own.)

I did take some photos, but none caught the loveliness of the scene as well as the postcards.  Which I bought a few of on our trip.  OK, well, maybe more than a few!  OK, 642! Just one of the reasons we had to buy luggage while we were gone. To bring home presents, new hats, new t-shirts and of course, new postcards.  Also wine and the local alcoholic Cidre, which I’m told is wonderful, but again, I did not partake.

We slept, for the most part, wonderfully well, despite a slight tendency to supply skimpy pillows and a duvet!  In theory, I think duvets are wonderful.  But in reality, they can be hot! And it was not cold enough to sleep under one. Unfortunately, this also meant there was no top sheet, so in a few cases, I ended up sleeping with my pareo thrown over me.  Quite pretty, I’m sure.

Anyway, had a wonderful trip and happy to be back home with my octopus pals!




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