Arrive in Paris


Arrive in Paris

I was laid off from my job at ABN AMRO Bank on June 29, 2007 – what better way to start a severance package than to take a short vacation, especially since this is what Aviva and I love most; Aviva got me a massage for my birthday, so I’ll do that when I get back, what a nice way to unwind from a vacation (then, its back to hunting for my next employment opportunity).

So, we picked Paris for a short, 5 night trip, including an excusion to Chartres to see the cathedral.

I’ll be experimenting with a new device, called a Trackstick. It is a passive GPS device that receives location information from GPS satellites, recording its location on a regular basis. You can then load that information into Google Earth or Maps to create a record of where you went, which can be tied to your photographs. I hope this will create yet another way to review what we did and saw, something like a walking tour (well, including the bus to Chartres).

The flight out was okay – we boarded right on time – the plane wasn’t arriving from somewhere else, so it was almost ready. Then we waited. We waited an hour. Turned out the ground crew hadn’t handed off the right paperwork to the flight crew, how very nice. So, we arrived almost on time at Charles De Gaule airport. We caught a cab (after a very very long line to check passports – three open agents for all those flights, again very nice) and got to the city. We got to the hotel around 10:30A and had to wait til 1P for our room, so we walked around a little and had lunch at a small cafe on St. Germain de Pres called Mondrian.

We checked in – the room is nice, the hotel is the Best Western Premier Left-Bank Saint Germain – showered and changed, and then started out. We went looking for Harem, a jewelry store Aviva likes a lot. A woman stopped on the street to ask if she could help us find something – we thanked her but had already figured out where we were and where we were heading. We found Harem and Aviva bought a ring.

Harem, a jewelry store

Harem, a jewelry store

We then walked down St. Germain de Pres to the church of the same name.

We walked over to St. Thomas d’Aquin; it was closed when we got there. We sat down for a bit as we were quite tired. We got a bit of entertainment from a construction crane moving through a very tight alley – here’s a link to the movie and there’s a picture below. They even took the outside mirrors off!

Now that's a tight fit!

Now that's a tight fit!

The sign outside the church says:

“Established in the suburb Saint Germain since 1632, the reformed Dominicans, or Jacobins, confided (entrusted) for 50 years more land to Pierre Bullet for one chapel for their convent. Work of a monk, a brother Claude, the facade was added in 1766. At the beginning of the revolution, the chapel became a parish under the name of Saint Thomas d’ Aquin, soon plundered and closed down. Pope Pius VII, come to Paris for Napoleon’s coronation, celebrated the mass here on December 26th, 1804, in the church which was rededicated two years previously.

“The Dominicans tried in vain to get back their convent: around the cloitre, buildings(ships) had been transformed into a storehouse of former (ancient) weapons, then into a Museum of the Artillery. And it stayed a property of the Army after the transfer of collections to the les Invalides.”

After all that the church finally opened (we were quite surprised – we’d been concentrating on the crane and as we were about to leave we noticed the church door open) after all and of course we went inside.

We were really tired and so we walked back to the hotel. We ate at the restaurant next door, Le Procope at 3, Rue Ancienne Comédie, which we ate at in 2001 on our last trip. Its a historic spot, first opened in 1686 (they preserve an upstairs table that Voltaire liked to eat at). We took a short stroll along a street by the hotel and then went back to sleep.


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