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Published: June 19th 2017
We said a fond farewell to Nice and the French Riviera this morning before winging our way to Paris on an Air France jetliner. The 90-minute flight was a smooth one, but our experience at the Nice airport was not so nice. We've experienced many security checks, at many different airports, on our journey around the world. Inexplicably, Nice was the worst! For reasons unknown, the protocol required me to remove the toiletry items I had packed in a zip-lock bag, and then re-pack the items in one of the bags they provided that was half the size of mine. It was like trying to cram 5-pounds of dirt into a 3-pound bag, and I ended up tossing some items just to be done with it. Overall, it was the most time-consuming and frustrating security screening of the entire trip.
After landing at Paris-Orly shortly after 11 AM, baggage claim was a breeze, and there were no passport control checks whatsoever. Our old Parisian friend and chauffeur extraordinaire, Serge Molho, whose services we used back in 2014, was waiting for us as we entered the arrivals hall. What a reunion we shared during the ride into Paris! We thought he
would have retired by now. It turns out he was a contact person used by Uber several years ago, when it was developing the Paris market, and he's been very busy ever since. He suggested we consider a day trip to the Normandy beaches during our stay, and we may well decide to do so.
Traffic seemed unusually light today, so we made it to our apartment neighborhood in about 30 minutes, where Ashley got a brief peek at the Invalides, with its gold dome under which the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte rests. When we reached the apartment at 8, rue Augereau in the 7th arrondissement, the owner's friendly agent gave us a brief tour with the help of a translator on her tablet (her English not very good, our French non-existent!). The apartment itself is a tiny studio, not much larger than a hotel room, but newly renovated and tastefully designed to make best use of limited space. Dee and I thought we could manage the small space when we planned the trip, but at that time Ashley was not in the picture. So we'll be bumping elbows a bit, but Ashley's a trooper, and somehow we'll make
Around 2 o'clock we walked a few short blocks to reach rue Cler, a pedestrian market street with which Dee and I are very familiar. Each time we stay in Paris, and this is our ninth visit, we make a point of eating at the Cafe du Marche, one of the most popular cafes on the street. So we decided to bring Ashley here for a late lunch, where the outdoor terrace was quite packed when we arrived. The simple but well-prepared dishes were as tasty as they've been in the past, so we enjoyed a relaxing, 2-hour lunch. After a brief stop at a grocery store on rue Cler to buy some essentials, we returned to the apartment to rest for a few hours.
Later, we ventured out so Ashley could meet the Eiffel Tower face-to-face. We walked to the Champ de Mars, a large public green space between the Eiffel Tower to the northwest and the École Militaire (military school and vast training complex) to the southeast, where throngs of people typically gather in the evening to view the hourly "twinkling" of the Iron Lady. In a couple days, Ashley will get a much
more intimate introduction, as we've booked a private tour that will take her to the top!
On the way back to the apartment, we made a stop for cocktails and a plate of fries at the Cafe le Dome, a tourist-trap on rue Saint-Dominique. By this time it was almost 9:30 in the evening, but still daylight, as we reached home and prepared to hit the sack.
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