Tags " tour bus"
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 28, 1961 - Europe 1961    No Comments

London, Day 1

We had breakfast in the dining room – mainly because if you eat there, you can have an “English” breakfast, while in your room, you can only get a Continental breakfast.

We rode the subway to Russell Square to meet our tour bus. It started promptly, and we had a 3-hour trip of the western part of London. It was a lovely, sunny day and a very good tour. The main stops were at Westminster Abbey & at Buckingham Palace for the changing of the guards at 11:30. The Abbey was more interesting than I’d expected – we had a very good guide – & the changing of the guard was about what we’d expected – colorful, crowded, mildly exciting.

Before this tour ended, the bus stopped for about 15 minutes (an unscheduled stop) at Tate Gallery. As usual, Harry & Allen scooted down the street to the nearest bar, while Jeannette & I went into the gallery. I spent my time in the sculpture gallery – enjoying some pieces by R0din, in particular.

We had lunch at a hotel on Russell Square after which Allen left us for the horse races while we headed for the silver vaults. While looking at the map, standing on a corner, a nice-looking girl asked if she could help – she could because we couldn’t locate East or West. Everyone is very helpful about directions – tho’ often their idea of a “short” walk is longer than we like. Imagine Harry’s & my amazement the night before in the subway when a Cockney woman came up & asked us the way to Charing Cross! We’d been in town a full half-day.

We did walk to the vaults (which incidentally our guide had never heard of) and spent the afternoon looking at the shops. They are simply amazing – it’s hard to make a choice. But we (Harry & I) finally settled on a wine cooler for Bud & Nelwyn. Jeannette had bought several things.

We caught a cab to Piccadilly Circus to buy theater tickets, then went to Fortnum & Mason for tea. Didn’t get to to see much of the store – the first floor was a fancy foods department – carpeted yet!

Went out the back thru Regent Square to the Cunard Office to see about our stateroom, then a bus back to the hotel.

We were plenty tired but after a bath & a couple of stiff drinks, revived. We all caught a cab to a restaurant on Curzon Street recommended for oysters & lobsters. It was small, hot, crowded & understaffed. After an hour’s wait we had a mediocre meal.

Went back to Speakers’ Corner at Marble Arch and listened to several speakers – some on politics, some on religion, another on racial discrimination. It was amazing. The hecklers would interrupt, boo, argue amongst themselves – quite a free-for-all. We stayed for about an hour before walking the 2 blocks to the hotel.

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