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 chilly with blue skies when we arrived by train after a pleasant train trip. Our seats were the last in the lower TGV car, which allowed Toby to have his own place to sit for a change. He was able to hop into an empty luggage compartment behind us. Usually, he sits 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, they tell us to leave him be.
We have to buy a half-fare ticket for him, and this time his ticket required a muzzle, something new since our last train trip. But, of course, after we bought the muzzle, we carried it in our pocket, and 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 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 outfit.
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. Warmly dressed, even walking at night was pleasant.
Denise had not been to Paris since she was a child, so we did a walking tour in many of the major tourist sights on our first full day together. 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 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 checked it off, we played tourist.
On the 31st, after a leisurely and delicious dinner, we decided to take a walk. The moon was full and the sky clear, and we walked around enjoying Paris, stopping here and there, and eventually headed over to the Eiffel Tower. As midnight approached, we watched the tower disappear into the fog. There were many people gathered together to watch the lights flash in the new 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 restaurant windows seeing all the people sitting at tables wearing their party hats.
It was a fun week. Denise and Mick 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.