Galeries Lafayette, Paris
Got up 8ish and enjoyed our hotel breakfast. Packed and checked the room, then went down and checked out. As prearranged, they stored our luggage and we headed to the Metro. It’s a direct line to Galeries Lafayette although it was a long ride on a full train. When we arrived, the Metro entrance to the department store was closed and we had to go upstairs and enter from the street. Only a couple entrances are open so everyone goes through Security. Our brave new world . . .
Tiffany Dome, Galeries Lafayette, Paris
Galeries Lafayette, Paris, 2015 Christmas Tree
We found the Tiffany dome and the giant Christmas tree. It was spectacular, over-the-top Christmas decor. I got photos from nearly every floor. We visited the Christmas shop and got a Paris ornament for our tree. Fun! We exited and walked along the outside looking at little (and big) kids enjoying the animated window displays. One window was full of stars and the kids could swipe from star to star to make music . . . but only if they could get Mom and Dad to stop playing and give them a turn!
Galeries Lafayette Store Windows with a delighted audience
Interesting band at the Garnier Opera in Paris
As we walked around the Garnier Opera, we heard music and in front was a funny band . . . a bunch of high school or college kids with instruments and some in very interesting costumes was set up on the front steps of the Opera. One of the trombones looked like it was made of yellow plastic. Strange, but they were great fun. We stayed and listened for a while.
Palais Royal - Musée du Louvre Metro stop from Café Nemours
Café Nemours, Paris
We walked down Opera to the Palais Royal-Louvre Metro stop and checked the time. Decided we should eat lunch so went into Café Nemours where Ed got a Croque Monsieur and I got a quiche. We washed it down with Badoit. It was a fast enough Paris lunch so that we had time for one more adventure before getting our luggage and catching our train to Strasbourg this afternoon.
The Christmas Band again, now at Place du Palais-Royal by the Louvre
Paris in the Carrousel du Louvre shopping mall
In all our trips, we've never looked into the Carrousel du Louvre shopping center so we decided to check the very modern mall under the Louvre and as we crossed the street, we heard another band so we followed our ears to Place du Palais Royal and it was the same band we’d heard earlier. They must be doing a tour of Paris today.
I took more band photos and we moved on to the Louvre mall . . . and more security checks. We were checked going in and also entering Printemps department store. Galeries Lafayette had been swarming with people, but the Louvre mall was nearly empty. Printemps had a gorgeous tall tree and lots of smaller ones, all decorated with flowers. They were delicate and beautiful. Somehow decorating Printemps trees with flowers seemed appropriate. Springtime at Christmas . . .
Gare de l'Est, Paris on the way to Strasbourg
Walked on out to the Metro and back to our hotel where we retrieved our luggage and walked up the street where we caught the #47 bus to Gare de l’Est. It’s a nice ride with a great view of Notre Dame on the way. Now we’re waiting for our platform to post. It is a very cold wait; don’t they heat these places?
Later: It finally posted and we started the long hike to car #17 but were stopped for yet another security check. Everyone had to open one bag and ladies, their purses. After a cursory glance, we were waved on and continued the trek to car #17. Found it, stowed our bags, found our seats and settled in for the 2+ hour train ride. Very comfy, but dark so no photos out the windows.
Strasbourg, view from our hotel
Arrived in Strasbourg and couldn’t find our way out of the train station. Finally discovered you haul all your luggage down a very long flight of stairs to exit the station because the escalators only go up. Finally left the station and easily found the walkway through Place de la Gare to the street we needed. It took about ten minutes or less to walk to our hotel. We checked in and did need our booking.com confirmation. They were training a new young woman and she has a way to go. Fortunately, the fellow working with her had no trouble finding our confirmation. We’re in room 620 which turned out to be between floors so we take the elevator to 6, go through a door and down a short flight of stairs, with luggage, to get to our room. Interesting, but the room is huge, has a desk and small sofa and is clean so we are happy. The location couldn't be more perfect. We walk across a square and a bridge and we are in the heart of Strasbourg. [Hotel Ibis Strasbourg Centre, 18 rue de Faubourg National 67000 Strasbourg FRANCE; +33 (0)3 8875-1010] http://www.ibis.com/gb/hotel-0943-ibis-strasbourg-centre-petite-france/index.shtml
We walked to the corner to Le Schnockelok, an Alsatian restaurant, and it was packed. We asked about our chances for dinner and the lady said she thought she could seat us in a few minutes so we waited and, sure enough, two couples soon left and we got one of their tables, Despite the number of people, we were taken care of quite promptly (French prompt, not American prompt). Ed ordered a couple of kirs to celebrate our arrival in Strasbourg . . . a good beginning. For dinner I ordered the hind stew with spaetzle (someone must have gone hunting earlier), and Ed got chicken with a Reisling sauce. The spaetzle was homemade and both dinners delicious. As a chicken/venison compromise, we got an Alsatian rosé and loved it. It was very rich and complex, not the bland rosé of our youth. [Le Schnockelok, 2 Rue du Faubourg national, 67000 Strasbourg, France; tel: +33 (0)3 8813-4504; http://schnockeloch.fr/]
After our wonderful and very friendly dinner, we walked over to the nearby church before returning to the hotel. Checking Mass schedules done, Christmas lights admired, we walked back to Ibis and SLEEP!