Well hello to 2008! I hope the transition from one year to the next went well for you all. A quick look at the newspapers would show that not everybody made it through, so lets count our blessings.
I'm about to embark on the final chapter of my France trip, just so I can crack on and tell you about my Crimbo!
The cab was booked to take us to the Chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Haut de Ronchamp, a 30 minute drive away. Gregg was irked by two situations; the 1st being that the chapel was only open for two, 2 hour windows a day, meaning he would not have as much time to take in the building as he had planned. He had intended to use sight, touch, hearing and smell to not only look at the building and walk away, but 'bathe' in its design and build and inception, almost to promote an emotional reaction. The 2nd irksome matter was the fact that the cab driver would wait, and take us back to Belfort: but only for one hour. Gregg was so downhearted. His intended all-day exploration had been boiled down to a concise hour.
We all had our hotel breakfast before leaving, and had also to pack all our belongings because check-out time was at 12pm, just about the time we hoped to be back from the chapel. As it was, we did get back in time to fetch our bags and check out, only to place our bags into storage so we could go and explore the fort!
Gregg had ventured out at the crack of dawn to investigate the fort, as his midnight effort had bore little fruit, his camera had died on him. He was sporting a brand new digital SLR camera and every photo was experimental! The fort itself was at the top of a hill and a path meandered its way to the castle structure at the top, circling the building, on its way, at least once. If I remember rightly, our return train to Paris was leaving at 2.30 and at 1.45 we were atop the fort. A mile from the station, with about an hour walk back to the hotel (if we went back the way we came). Thankfully we had noticed a quick way back. Dan still got quite itchy, hating, having to rush around.
We safely boarded the train and were soon being whisked back to Paris. Our apartment owner pal had responded to our missed call from the day before and was more than able to provide us with a place to stay that night. Once but in town we wasted no time dumping off our bags and heading back out. And to the Buddha Bar, an ultra trendy bar/restaurant in the West End for a couple of drinks (at €10 a pop), then back to République, feeling that it had much more to offer than on our first trip there. We found a quaint Italian eatery that had a live jazz band at one end of the small diner. Of course, it was all in French, as was the menu and my beef dish turned out to be smoked beef (raw in my eyes) and I found it unpalatable. Still I ate about half of it. The late nights and early mornings had started to take there toll on me and my head was pounding. Once back in 'our' neck of the woods, Pigalle, I took an early bath (at 1 am!) while Gregg and Dan stayed out at a local bar.
Thursday, our last day!
Breakfast; juice, hot chocolate and a croissant. Next stop, our missed stop from Monday; Ville Savoye. We got a good hour and a half there, but we were still harried out the closing door. We had lunch in Poissy before Paris again, this time 'shopping'. Time to get some goodies for the folks back home. We hit the Champs-Élysées looking for some stuff, Dan lucked out but me and Gregg were still empty handed so we crossed over to Montmartre, the part of town on the lower hill below the Sacré-Cœur. Lots of boutique shops round there, still, time ran out on us and we had to get our bag and head on over to Gard du Nord. It was time for us to come home....