Last week I had my first guests since my children went back to the states at the end of July. Jay and Audrey Conners from Springfield, Virginia came to see me. Jay and I have been close friends since we were in graduate school together in the early 1980s. They ski every other year in a small town in the French Alps called Morzine. Since they had never been there in the summer, they wanted to visit there. So, on Monday we drove 7 ½ hours across the whole country to the Alps. Morzine was the end of the last mountain leg of this year’s Tour de France bike race. We stayed at the Fleur de Neige (snow flowers) hotel which is owned by their friends David and Delphine. It was a delightful little hotel with fabulous views of the mountains.
On Tuesday we took the tram to the top of the ski mountain and had lunch overlooking the valley and town. Wednesday we drove back through the Burgundy region, stopping to take a tour of the wine caves (cellars) in Beaune. Thursday was a small adventure when we went to a nearby town for what I thought was their local market day. Oops – not the market day! But we stopped and had a coffee and pastry and then spent a quiet afternoon enjoying the great weather and peace at my house before going to dinner at the Auberge up the road.
Friday turned into a true adventure! Audrey wanted to spend the day in Paris since they were flying home on Saturday. So we decided to take the train to Paris and allow her to get in the major sights and shop a little. We got up early to catch the 8:15 train to Paris. When we got to the train station the agent informed me in French that the train was broken, and that there wouldn’t be another before noon. A very nice lady explained this to me since my French wasn’t good enough to understand and the agent spoke no English (or not enough to explain to me). So we sat down in the station to regroup. We were discussing having me drive us to Paris. My big thing was that I didn’t know where I could safely park the car that would get us close to a metro stop. The same nice lady was listening to us, and said she was from Paris and would be happy to show us where to park near a metro station if she could ride with us. It had been hot for the last week, and her little black dog had an 11:00 am grooming appointment in Paris and the lady was desparate to get there. She said she would gladly pay for the gas if I would take her. So, off we all went!
Florence (never did get her last name!) directed me once we got to Paris to a safe garage near the metro and just 2 stops away from the Arc d’Triomphe! Perfect location! She took us to the metro station and directed us to go one way while she went the other. We got off at the Arc (one of Audrey’s “must see’s”) and from there we took a double decker bus tour of the city. This was an excellent decision since the weather was gorgeous, and we got to go past all the major monuments of the city. Great for picture taking. We got off at Notre Dame Cathedral, had lunch and then toured the cathedral. Back on the bus for the rest of the tour, and then off on the Champs Ellysees so that Audrey could shop. Got her gifts for family, and then took the metro back to our car. We left the garage at 4:30, and allowed “Georgette” (my GPS) to get us out of the city. We were back home by 7:00 and we all felt like we’d had a great adventure! By the way, I never get lost – I just have an adventure I wasn’t planning on having!