Today is the day that we have been anticipating for months!! Jack and Kim were flying in from Winnipeg to spend a few days in Paris. I’m sure it was just to meet us but some may argue that they may have ulterior motives. They have also booked onward journeys to the Netherlands (Jack has family there) and a 10 day cruise along the Danube. We are so excited for them and know that they will have such a good time. In the meantime however, they have to put up with my and Richard’s silliness. I mean we haven’t seen friends from back home since we left Hawaii and Richard’s sister all those months ago. What a treat!!
We waited for them at their hotel and they finally arrived about 9 AM. As their room wasn’t ready yet, we took them off for breakfast and then gave them the three cent tour of one or two Paris icons. They followed me obediently as I led them down the street and past the Eiffel Tower. As we will be climbing the tower on Monday, we took a few pictures, crossed the Pont d’Iena over the River Seine and headed towards the Arc de Triomphe. I am sure that they were wondering where I was taking them but once the Arc came into view, everyone breathed a sigh of relief (including me!!). The Arc de Triomphe, the most monumental of all triumphal arches, was built between 1806 and 1836. It was built to honor those who fought for France, in particular, those who fought during the Napoleonic Wars. Engraved on the inside and at the top of the arch are all of the names of the generals and wars fought. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier lies under the vault of the arch. As is always the case, we were completely in awe of this amazing structure.
From the Arc we started down the Champs Elysees. This is one of the most well known streets in the world but it actually began as a swamp in the 17th century. It was the gardener from the Palace of Versailles who envisioned the original path. And thus a legend was born. The avenue has only become more beautiful with every passing decade. The two kilometer roadway is lined with high end shops, theatres, cafes and clubs. It is the finish line for the Tour de France and the Bastille parade route on July 14th. Today, however, the street was also lined with military and police personnel. We believe that there is a Yellow Vest rally that is to take place but we saw no evidence of this. Only half way along les Champs, we found that we could go no further as this area was barricaded by police vehicles. So, we improvised and headed back towards the Bonekamp’s hotel. It was almost two by this time and we thought that their room should be ready. Sure enough, it was and we left the two of them to a well needed nap and we headed back to our BNB.
Such a great day with friends! We had kinda forgotten how wonderful it is to chum around with people of like mind. Can’t wait to see them later!!
New France garden with busts of Jacques Cartier and Samuel de Champlain.