” Another well-known Paris landmark is the Arc de Triumphe, a moving monument to the many brave women and men who died trying to visit it.” — Dave Barry
You can’t go to Paris and skip the Arc and the Champs-Elysees, so we took the Metro there this morning to check it off the list. The 284 steps to the top of the Arc weren’t calling my name. I’ve already climbed the 300 steps up to the dome of the Sacre Coeur Basilica, and one life-threatening climb was enough for me. We admired the grand frieze of Napoleon and his conquests, then walked down the Champs.
Imagine how thrilled Mike was with all of the window-shopping. But, a stop at a patisserie cheered him up. The Champs is pretty, with lots of sidewalk cafés and trees. The shopping? Not much here that we can’t find at Oakbrook Mall or the Premium Outlets. Mike’s fave— Levi’s 501 jeans for 90 euros, or $125. As if!
We decided to go rogue. Mike pulled out his trusty Plan de Paris, and we set off toward Rue du Faubourg Ste. Honore. We happened upon the Elysee Palace, the home of the President. (Full disclosure: we didn’t know what the heck the place was, but knew it was big time. Googled it later.) The street was blocked off to traffic, and a gaggle of gawkers hung around peering from across the street into the heavily-gated courtyard. We were right in time for the changing of the guards, with all its pomp and posturing.
Our walk took us past block after block of boutiques. Outside Christian Louboutin, shoppers queued up for their opportunity to enter this cathedral of shoes. Double-parked luxury cars with tinted windows lined the curb, their black-suited chauffeurs waiting for their passengers. Occasionally, a woman who probably never taught middle school emerged from a shop, and her driver relieved her of her purchases so she could continue her shopping unencumbered. No, I didn’t venture into any place, just worshipped from afar.
At Place Vendome, we picked out trinkets in the windows of Van Cleef and Arpels and Patek Phillipe. Broz had his credit card in hand, but the guard at the door refused to let us in.
Over the river, past Notre Dame, then over the river again. Hours after we’d begun, we were back at 62 Rue de la Montagne Ste. Genevieve. Not a remarkable day, really, except that we were in Paris.