My short weekend trip to Paris went very smoothly. I got the train at the little Saint-Aignan-Noyers station Friday afternoon at 5:44. I changed trains at Vierzon, with just a 20-minute layover, to board a non-stop Intercités train to Paris. I arrived at the Austerlitz train station in Paris at about 8:35 p.m.
The Panthéon is a national monument so the French flag flies over it. Here I'm looking out over the Palais and Jardin du Luxembourg toward the Tour Eiffel and the Dôme des Invalides.
From there I took a bus (the 89) from Austerlitz station over to CHM's and arrived chez lui at about 9:15. It stays light here in July until after 10, so I wasn't traveling in the dark. There were no surprises or hitches. CHM had dessert waiting for me — I had taken a sandwich to eat as a light supper on the train.
This is the Eglise Saint-Sulpice up close, with the skyscrapers of the La Défense business quarter, west of the city, in the background.
On Saturday morning, I did one of the things I really wanted to do while I was in Paris. That is, I rode the 89 bus back over to the Panthéon in the Latin Quarter, paid for a ticket to go into the old building and take the accompanied tour up into the main tower and out onto the colonnade far above ground. I and about 15 other people climbed the 225 or so steps to the top to see and photograph the views from up there. And take pictures.
Looking north past the Sainte-Chapelle (foreground) past the Eglise Saint-Eustache toward the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur up at Montmartre.
According to the Panthéon web site, the first montée up to the colonnade and walkway at the base of the dome was scheduled for 11:00. I got there at 10:10, and when I bought my ticket (10.50€) I was told that there was a tour up to the top at 10:15. No waiting! Above are three of my photos from the top. The weather was fantastically beautiful — hot but not too hot. Don't forget that you can click on the pictures to enlarge them.
This is not the Grand Bistrot but a little restaurant in the Latin Quarter, near the Panthéon, that I thought was picturesque.
The next thing I was looking forward to doing in Paris, besides just spending some time with CHM, was having lunch with him and two friends of his, P. and M., whom I've gotten to know a little bit over the years. Saturday was M.'s 86th birthday, and CHM had invited them and me to lunch at the Grand Bistrot near where he lives. More about that over the next few days.