What does one do on the last day in Paris? Obviously a multitude of things. The sky is blue, the day is nice, warm and long. There’s time for everything and anything!
At about 9 a.m. I confidently sail out, having consulted the maps again. Yes, I’m determined: as a confident woman of the 21 century with all the attending sensibilities, I must be able to conquer my own inability to find the right direction. So I take bus 21 to Opera – Rue 4 Septembre, emerge, look around carefully, walk past Grand Opera, towards the huge Galleries Lafayette store. To its right I see first Boulevard Haussmann, and next right is Chaussee d’Antin. Et voila as they say in France, I can actually see Trinite! So if one walks in the right direction it’s really five minutes away 🙂 This amazingly ornate building is part of the renovations effected by Hausmann in the 19th century; it was erected in the 1860’s and cost 5 million franks, a colossal sum at the time. As all the churches and museums, it is surrounded by a lovely flowering garden with a nice playground in the middle. One can go inside and look at the many ornaments, paintings and decorations. There are also information leaflets in many languages. Entrance is free; one may drop a coin into the receptacle or not.
Walking back on the left hand side, I glanced into the little streets and soon saw Hotel Helios, a charming place where I stayed on my very first visit to Paris many years ago. From there, to Opera, where I began to look for my bus. But before I found the necessary stop I saw a sign, Toilet 50 m, and decided to explore. What do you know, in a few steps I found it that little booth, Access Gratuite, which I correctly interpreted as Free Access. I pushed the green button, the door slid open, then closed, and a nice female voice gave me a lot of information in French. Is it just me, or is it a girl thing? I mean, when you step inside a little space and a door slides shut, aren’t you scared for a few seconds, that either you won’t be able to open it, or that it will open while you are still in the process? The former happened to me once when I mistakenly stepped into what I took to be an elevator, and there were no buttons, no door handles! Somehow it opened and we got out, but such an episode is enough to leave a trace of paranoia for life. But never fear: in a Parisian street toilet they have large red handles which are clearly your escape route.
on to some shopping, to the bus, some more shopping, bus again, and we are home. Having a weekly or a monthly transportation pass is indeed a blessing, and the pass is good for the RER train to the airport too. So now all that’s left is pack, wrap up some snacks, and we are good to go.