April in Paris 1990 - part 5
At breakfast on Monday, I took note of who ate what. It seemed as only Americans or English had cereal for breakfast. Some of the French people put their tea bags in cereal bowls, filled them with hot water, and dunked their bread in that. Quite a few people chose plain yoghurt - nearly
everyone had coffee and orange juice, but I think only Americans had fruit salad.
We took the Metro into the Palais de Chaillot, and while Philip went into his meeting I waited with the accompanying persons who had chosen to go on the bus tour of the city. Bett was there waiting too, and she had met another wife - Remy from Australia. Remy had been around quite a lot. She is
a Filipino by birth, educated in California, married to a Hong Kong Chinese, lived in Connecticut and then in Canada and finally settled in Australia. She also was a bit of an outsider so we adopted her
into our English contingent. And she was desperately homesick for her children- especially a 9 year old son. It was the first time they'd left their children and were to be gone all together for a month.
Our guide was called Annemarie. She was probably in her mid 30's with dyed hair and too bright pink lipstick. But she had such a lovely personality. She was a mine of information about every building we passed and had a history lesson and a few stories to throw in. Her English was very accented. We have a television programme called "Ello, Ello" where the English is spoken as if by French people. I always thought it was a bit unrealistic and over the top, but she sounded just like that. She was sometimes at a loss for the right word and asked us to correct her or help her out But her mistakes were so cute that I felt it would have been wrong to eliminate all of them. She talked about being careful if went to Monmartre because of pickpockets. She said, "but they won't agress you." And another time when she was talking about a disappointed painter she said, "he suicided
Our bus trip took just under two hours because we spent about 15 minutes wandering around Place de la Concorde so as not to arrive back at the centre before 12, as planned. The start of the journey was a bit disappointing to me, because we were just going over all the territory where Philip and I had walked the day before, but she did supply all sorts of bits of information about Les Invallides and Place de la Concorde and the Louvre that made seeing them again more interesting. And we did a lot more too of course. We drove into the North part of the city, by the Elysee Palace, and into what is called the golden triangle, where all the most famous and expensive shops in the world are - all within doors of each other. We drove by the Grand Palais and the Petite Palais, now museums, and only used as royal dwellings in the late 19th century. We drove by the Madelaine, which is a church but looks like a Greek temple with hundreds of columns around the periphery. We drove around the Isle de Cite which was the original site of the kings' palaces before the Louvre was built. It now has most of the government buildings and the police station and law courts, and of course, Notre Dame Cathedral. Then we crossed back over the Seine and into the Latin Quarter, and on past the Sorbonne and the Luxumberg Palace and gardens. In them was a small version of th Statue of Liberty which was a prototype for the one sent to the States. In the outskirts of Paris on the Seine itself, is another replica of the State of Liberty this time given to France by America and to celebrate their 100th anniversary of independence in 1889.
We then recrossed the Seine and drove back down the Champs Elysee and through the Arc de Triumph and finally back to our museum. Sitting just behind us on the bus were some Canadians - a mother and daughter of about 8. The daughter was sick through the bus trip. Her mother had provided a number of sick bags - which made e think that it was hardly an unexpected event.
There were three other children on the trip - children of some New Zealanders who had then moved to Australia and were now having a year's sabbatical in France. We waited for the men to break for lunch and then Philip joined Bett and me in a trip up to Sacre Coeur and Monmartre.