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Tuesday, 27 December 2016

AMA Cruise and Land Tour in Provence - November 24th/15....

 The Pullman Hotel had a nice buffet breakfast - I had granola cereal, pancakes with syrup and sausages, fresh pineapple, orange juice and hot chocolate.

 AMA scheduled a city bus tour of Paris today - the weather continued to be rainy and inclement.   The one location where we had a guided tour was at Notre Dame Cathedral.  The south rose window in Notre Dame has a diameter of thirteen meters and is an extraordinary work of art.


The other locations included the Eiffel Tower; the Arc de Triomphe; the Champs Elysees; the Place de la Concorde; and the Opera.  After the city tour, we returned to the hotel.  The weather was miserable and it was raining hard.  After such a big breakfast, for lunch, I  went to a convenience store near the hotel and bought some nuts, chocolate and a coke.

Montmarte and Illuminations was the optional excursion, with an extra charge of €56.  We drove around Paris at night and viewed some of the major sites.  Montmarte is the hilly part of Paris - the crowning glory of Montmarte is the famous Sacre Coeur Cathedral perched at the top of the highest hill.  We were able to enter the cathedral for a short visit.  

Montmarte is also famous for its artists, cafes, and nightlife.  The Moulin Rouge is here as well as the red-light district.   Montmarte is notorious for its steep steps - a lot of them.  Fortunately, we took a funicular railway to Sacre Coeur and, after the visit, we were on our own to find a café for dinner. 

The local tour guide pointed out a few cafes and restaurants, but I just followed the tour guide to the Cenis Café.  I was at a table with the local tour guide and one other solo traveler, a chemist from South Carolina - there was a generous supply of good French bread and we shared a bottle of red wine. I had the French onion soup and beef Bourguignon with steak fries,fried foie gras, candied sweet potato and green beans. For dessert, I had the crepes suzette. Everything tasted very good, especially on a cold and rainy night.  My share of the total bill was about €25, a reasonable amount. 

After dinner, we took the funicular railway down, and we boarded the bus to continue seeing Paris at night.  We made our way to a good viewing point to see the Eiffel Tower, which is lit at night.  Possibly because of the recent massacre, there was no flashing light show - instead, the tower was lit in the colors of the French flag:  red, white, and blue. There were about ten military personnel armed with automatic rifles around Notre Dame Cathedral and also three military personnel armed with automatic rifles around Sacre Coeur Cathedral.

We returned back to the hotel at about 11:00 pm.

 Photos belong to Phil Bianco

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