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Aug 1, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

Paris, Day 1

Our hotel room overlooked Rue Faubourg St. Honore – there was so much traffic I didn’t see how we’d sleep but I slept like a baby. While having our Continental breakfast in the room, we dressed and packed as we were being moved back to the Hotel de ParisI contacted the current-day Hotel de Paris to see if they were the same one that mother would have mentioned. They replied, 'in reply to your mail , we are pleased to inform you that our establishment was HOTEL DE PARIS since 1837 .'. The tour picked us up at the hotel and we got on a bus and saw “Moderne Paris” – some of the things dated from Napolean’s time. Place Vendome, Place de la Concorde, Champs Elysees, Bois du Boulogne, Palais de Chaillot, Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides, Quai D’Orsay, etc. It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed every minute.

After returning to L’Opera, we sat at La Cafe de la PaixCafé de la Paix (French pronunciation: kafe də la pɛ) is a famous café in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, France. It was designed by Charles Garnier, the architect of the Paris Opéra (located across the plaza). It is said that if one sits at the café, one is bound to run into a friend or acquaintance due to the café's popularity and reputation. – on the sidewalk naturally – had beer and sandwiches. Our hotel is just a short walk and we found our rooms (unmade) adjoining and overlooking Blvd. de la Madelaine. French doors onto a small balcony right over a sidewalk cafe. We are well-pleased with the view and the location and the room is fairly large & comfortable. The bath is enormous & includes a bidet – no soap and terrible toilet paper but…

After a little rest & unpacking, Jeannette and I window shopped for about an hour, meeting Harry at Cafe de la Paix & later going to the one at the hotel. It is delightful just to sit and watch the people.

Allen had bought himself a beret and looked very French tho’ actually we have seen very few of them and he had a hard time finding it.

Allen and I figured out the Metro (subway) – we had only a block to walk to catch it at the Madelaine church and without any trouble arrived at our stop at Montmartre. We rode the funicular up to the Sacre Couer and the view was superb – overlooking all of Paris. We walked on to the Place de TertreThe Place du Tertre is a square in Paris' XVIIIe arrondissement. Only a few streets away from Montmartre's Basilica of the Sacré Cœur and the Lapin Agile, it is the heart of the city's elevated Montmartre quarter. With its many artists setting up their easels each day for the tourists, the Place du Tertre is a reminder of the time when Montmartre was the mecca of modern art. At the beginning of the 20th century, many penniless painters including Picasso and Utrillo were living there. and it was very gay. We sat outside and saw more goings on – artists, musicians, many odd characters – it was simply fascinating. Allen had his silhouette cut – in 1 1/2 minutes. We ate dinner at a little place, Le Vieux Chalet, in a little patio. It was delightful – inexpensive and good steaks. Afterwards, we wandered all through the district looking at art stores and watching people. We found our way down to the Moulin Rouge, had a drink across from it. Then on the Pigalle where there are many girlie shows. But we resisted, caught the metro back to the Madelaine.

Harry used the street “W.C.” – Jeannette and I earlier (in the Vieux Chalet) had an interesting time in the W.C. there. We sat at the sidewalk cafe again before going upstairs to bed.

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Aug 27, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

Cologne to London

We were taken to the airport terminal by Cadillac, then to the airport by bus (an hour’s ride). We were to fly tourist class on Lufthansa but the had oversold it and as we were among the last checking in, we were put in first class. It was an hour & half flight to London – we were served coffee or a sandwich, given a bottle of Schnapps, a newspaper, our post cards were mailed free. Also a duty-free wagon was wheeled by with cigarettes, perfume, whiskey, etc. We had bought cigarettes (Winston) duty free at the airport for $1.75 a carton.

It had been cloudy & raining at Cologne but was clear & sunny in England. Went easily through customs & into town on another bus. Flowers everywhere here as on the continent – baby carriages prolific too. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to their driving on the “wrong” side of the street.

We were met at the terminal and taken to Mount Royal via one of the funny-looking cabs – there is no left hand door & the luggage is put in on that side. Our hotel is near Marble Arch & Hyde Park on Oxford St. – a tremendous hotel & a large room.

We had a sandwich in the room, unpacked & rested, then met the Early’s in the lobby. Rode a double-decker bus to Westminster Bridge – seeing many familiar names on the way. Rode down the Thames on an excursion boat to Greenwich seeing many landmarks along the way. The guide who point out things of interest was as hard to understand as the guides in Paris or Rome – his English wasn’t like ours! Twas Cockney! After the river trip, we caught another bus to the City of London, going thru Strand, Fleet St. to the Bank. But this turned out to be a mistake – the bars don’t open until 7 on Sundays – if at all. We wandered around through an old & interesting part of town – practically alone in the streets & finally found a “pub” open to try our first English beer.

Our destination was Simpsons where Bud had recommended but it was closed on Sunday. We rode a bus back to the Strand – found another pub open – with real character. Still looking for a restaurant, we walked to Leicester Square. It was full of activity – people of all races & types – mixed couples (black & white). Harry wanted chicken so we lucked into a cafeteria, leaving the Early’s to find a ritzier place while we ate.

After eating, we walked to Trafalgar Square to see the monument & fountains lighter. Then by the aid of the map, we rode the subway to Marble Arch, transferring once. The subways are easy to figure out, as are the buses. We must have set some kind of record today – we rode so many different kinds of vehicles.

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