Paris is always a great place to celebrate New Year's Eve, but this year it was better than ever, because we were there with our daughter and son-in-law. Denise and Mick visited his family in England for the week around Christmas, and then flew over to Paris to spend a week with us.
Paris was cool but clear when we arrived by train after a great trip. Our seats were in the back of the lower TGV car and this allowed Toby to have his own seat for a change. He was able to hop into an empty luggage compartment behind us. This was better than his usual place, which is to lay in the middle of the aisle, forcing everyone, even little old ladies, to step carefully over him. It is remarkable that no one ever complains though, and when we attempt to move him out of the way we are always told to leave him be.
We have to buy a half fare ticket for him, and this time his ticket even said that a muzzle was required, something new since our last train trip. But, of course, after we bought the muzzle, we carried it in our pocket, and even the train's conductor never asked why he was not wearing it. Everyone just patted him on the head and said he was handsome.
In the taxi queue at Gare de Lyon, we did not get rejected by any cab drivers, which sometimes happens when they see we have a dog. The first cab let us get in when we said we would put a sheet over the back seat to protect against the dog hair that Toby always leaves behind. That made Toby very happy, because he did not have to put on his special taxi suit. You can tell by the look on his face that he feels a little silly in this getup.
This year we didn't make any advance plans, other than our hotel reservations, because we all just wanted to visit and we decided it would be easier to let each day flow around us rather than conforming to a schedule. We were lucky with the weather, it rained for a couple of days at the beginning of the week, but then the skies cleared and although it was cold, it was beautiful. All of the colors were so crisp and clear. Dressed properly, even walking at night was pleasant.
It was Denise's first trip to Paris since she was a child, so our first full day together we did a walking tour, taking in many of the major tourist sights. We went to la tour Eiffel, but didn't wait in line to go up. Then we went to les Champs-Élysées for lunch at our favorite people-watching café. We visited the Arc de Triomphe, but we didn't go up there either. We hopped on the metro, and went over to the Bastille to show Denise and Mick the Arsenal, the port where we stayed this summer. From there we walked over to the Île St. Louis on our way to Notre Dame, and then back along the left bank toward the 7th Arrondissement, where we were staying this time.
For the rest of the week, we went our separate ways during the day and met each evening for a long visit over dinner. Mick and Denise enjoyed their vacation in a great city, while we took advantage of being in a big city to shop for all of the things that we cannot easily find in the countryside. We had a list of things to do and after we check it off, we played tourist too.
On the 31st, after an early dinner, we took to the streets. The moon was full and the sky clear early in the evening. We walked around enjoying Paris, stopping here and there and eventually headed over to la Tour Eiffel. As midnight approached we watched the tower disappear into the fog. There were many people gathered together for this non-event, no major fireworks this year. Some people had come early and found benches with a good view for their picnics. Others, like us, seemed very happy to be strolling through Paris as 2002 approached. After midnight, as we walked back to our hotel, we enjoyed peeking into the many restaurant windows seeing all the people sitting at tables wearing their party hats. There were parties everywhere we looked.
It was a great week and we all had a great time being together again. Paris captivated Denise and Mick. They are already planning for their next trip, and we can't wait to see them again.
We all had sad faces when it was time for them to leave.