Today was the one non-UK day of this cruise. We landed at Le Havre, in Haut Normandie, this morning, not too far north of the site of the D-Day landings. (My father, I think, landed on one of the Normandy beaches just a few weeks, at most, after D-Day. At least that’s what our French guide, who specializes in Normandy and D-Day, thought most likely. I don’t recall his having ever said anything about where he came ashore from England.) But, though I would love to tour the beaches and the World War Two sites, we drove to Paris.
I love Paris, too. And so does my wife. A couple of years ago, when she was still an undergraduate, she spent five months in the city on a semester abroad. (During exactly the same time, decades ago, I was in the last quarter of my mission in Switzerland.) So we were excited to see Paris again, although it was a very brief trip.
Driving to Paris, we basically followed the valley of the River Seine. But, because the Seine meanders, we crossed it several times. Had we followed it closely, it would have taken us several days to reach Paris. As it was, we took about 2.5 hours, plus an hour’s delay in a traffic jam caused by an accident.
Arriving in the city, we drove to the Trocadéro, from which we had a marvelous view of the Eiffel Tower and much of Paris. We drove from there to the Arc de Triomph and down the Champs-Élysées. We visited the Place de la Concorde and drove past the Louvre. We stopped at Notre Dame, and went our separate ways. Debbie and I and a few others spent most of our time in the cathedral itself. The rose windows are magnificent.
Then we drove back to Le Havre and the Caribbean Princess.
Having just seen Midnight in Paris again, I was rather disappointed to have missed Hemingway, Picasso, Eliot, Fitzgerald, and the gang, and to have failed to find myself in the Belle Epoque. But even a few hours in Paris are memorable, and it was fun to see the city again. It’s been a surprisingly long time since we’ve been to Paris, except in the airport. Too long.
Ninety minutes out of Le Havre, France.