Our Welcome Reception was held at a restaurant called La Bouteille d’Or, which means “The Golden Bottle”. Notre Dame Cathedral is right across the street and most of the restaurant offers a great view of the magnificent church. Our group quickly filled the dining room and the wait staff handled everything courteously and efficiently. Jay had chicken and vegetables with Crème brûlée for dessert. My choices were limited so I had an eggplant plate. We were happy with the food and had a great time getting to know the folks at our table, who were from North Carolina and different parts of Australia. Not sure about golden, but there were plenty of red and white bottles being passed around!
After dinner, the coach picked us up and drove to Port de la Conference, where we boarded a “Bateaux Mouche”. It was a beautiful evening and we chose seats on the top level of the ship. Behind us, the Eiffel Tower glowed in the twilight hues of the Parisian sky, and for the next 45 minutes, we enjoyed seeing Paris from the serene water of the River Seine. We passed under two notable bridges, Alexander III and Point Neuf, and had a magnificent view of the Orsay Museum.
Ruth had promised a big surprise on the cruise excursion, but we weren’t quite sure what to expect as we headed back to port. All of a sudden, the Eiffel Tower lit up in the near distance, and everyone around us was completely stunned. The ship moved closer and closer, until it seemed you could reach out and touch the tower, and we literally took hundreds of pictures in less than a few minutes. It was truly an extraordinary experience!
Once back on the coach, Ruth announced she had a few more surprises in store before taking us back to the hotel. Our next stop was Place du Trocadéro, where we had another great view of Paris’ most famous landmark. The area was alive with visitors and vendors and dozens of people waited on the hill for the tower illumination to begin again. We bought a few LED mini towers to take home and I treated Jay to a hot crepe filled with berry jam and whipped cream. Afterward, the coach drove from one end of Champs-Elysees to the other, and everyone oohed and ahhed at the views of the Arc de Triomphe and the Obelisk of Luxor. We also got to see The Big Wheel on Place de la Concorde lit up!
We finally arrived back to the hotel around 11 p.m. Our second day in Paris was even more exciting than the first, so check back soon for the next post!