My last day in Paris.
I had a pleasant surprise while eating breakfast this morning. The owner of the apartment called to say I could stay in it all day! That meant I didn't have to take my luggage up to the Gare du Nord and stash it in a locker. Yes! So, I called the taxi company and changed my pick-up time to 4:00 pm.
After breakfast I finished packing and tidied up the apartment. I hadn't decided what I would do today, but it was sunny, so I decided to go up to the top of the Montparnasse Tower.
The Montparnasse Tower is widely regarded as the ugliest building in Paris. When it was built, it caused such an outcry, that buildings of its type have ever since been outcast to the suburbs. But, from the top (59 stories), there is a fantastic view. Some say even better than the view from the Eiffel Tower because from the Montparnasse Tower you get a view of the Eiffel Tower without having to look at the Montparnasse Tower. It cost 13.50 euros to ride the elevator to the 56th floor where there are windows, a cafe/snack bar, and a boutique. You have to walk up to the 59th floor where it is open air, but surrounded with plexiglass. Fortunately, there is an open space between the upper and lower pieces of plexiglass so you don't have to take pictures through the plexiglass. While the sky was blue from the ground, it was a little hazy from the height of 210 meters. I think that might be a little higher than the Space Needle. But, still the view was well worth the trip up the stairs.
I rode the bus back toward the river and got off at St. Germain des Pres, and walked around for a little while. I was tempted to have lunch at Les Deux Magots or Cafe de Flore, but decided against it as they were both very crowded. I found a little Italian place down a side street where I ordered one of the specials, having no idea what it was. It turned out to be a large ball of fresh mozzarella - nearly the size of a tennis ball - on some greens with cherry tomatoes. Not exactly what I had in mind, but it was good.
I walked down Blvd. St. Germain to the Odeon Metro Station, then turned down toward the river where I came out at Pont Neuf. On the way, I passed Le Procope, which is one of the oldest cafes in Paris. I got to the bridge a little before 2:00 with the idea of take a cruise on the Seine. The Vedettes du Pont Neuf leave from under the bridge and I was just in time for the 2:00 cruise. The cruise lasted an hour, and it was nice to be out in the water with the breeze in my face. The monuments look different from the river than from the either the street or from the top of a building - so now I've seen Paris from three different perspectives.
Officially, today was the last day of summer, and everyone in Paris seemed to be taking advantage of the sunshine. All along the banks of the Seine people were soaking up the warmth of the sunshine. In the two weeks I was in Paris, this was the nicest day, and one of only 4 or 5 that had any sunshine at all.
After the cruise I walked to a bus stop and took the bus back to the apartment, arriving about 3:30. I was able to cram my luggage and myself into the elevator and get everything out on the street where I waited for the taxi, which arrived right on time. G7 is the most reliable of the taxi companies in Paris and they have an english-speaking operator. The traffic was terrible getting out of Paris and the driver tried to take me to the wrong Novotel (I think I saw 4 of them in this general vicinity), but he did get me to the right one - at the terminal - and I checked in. Nice room; beautiful bathroom with walk in shower. After climbing into a tub to use a hand-held shower for the past two weeks, I'm really looking forward to that shower in the morning.
I had dinner at the hotel. Baked penne with lots of cheese and a little bit of chicken. It was pretty good, if only because there was lots of cheese.
It's been a wonderful trip, but I think I'm ready to go home. I'm so tired right now. I think being away from the energy of Paris has a lot to do with it. I'm crashing and I've set the alarm for 6.