Mark D. Simpson
Please be patient.
The following is Kathleen Marie Beddow Simpson's journal from our 2008 trip to France: Paris, Normandy, Mon St. Michel, Versailles, Barbizon, and to England: London, Bath, Stonehenge, Windsor.
|Day 1 Sunday November 2, 2008|
Mark & I were up at 7:00 AM and left Ruckersville in a nice Ford
rental car. Arrived at Dulles airport in D.C. in plenty of time.
Day 2 Monday November 3, 2008
Arrived in Paris at 6:30AM . Boarded a bus which took us to
our hotel next to the Eiffel Tower; arrived around 8:30AM and had to wait for
our room to be ready. Mark and I had bloody Marys which cost $18.50 each ($14
Euro each). We did NOT have seconds!
Walked to the Eiffel Tower and then went out to dinner at Le Cafe de Mars. The cafe was very small. The first course was goose liver pate' and salad; next - lots of bread with broccoli, rice, and fish. The waiter brought me steak & fries when our tour guide explained that I don't like fish. Then, along with our wine, we were given more bread with 3 kinds of cheese. Finally, they brought chocolate fudge-filled cakes with cream. What a meal! Bed by midnight. Long day!
|Day 3 Tuesday November 4, 2008|
|-ELECTION DAY in the USA|
All in Paris are hoping Obama is our next President.
Up at 5:30 AM, breakfast at 7:00. What a spread! They had everything except bacon. Wonderful!
At 8:15 Am, we went to visit Versailles. Lovely Palace. Did
no appreciate the works of "art" by Jeff Koons in many of the rooms of the
palace. (e.g. balloon dog, kids' floatation devices, Michael Jackson with a
monkey, vacuum cleaners, really stupid stuff, inappropriate for the Palace
Back to the hotel by 11:45 AM. Mark and I walked to a
supermarket for wash cloths, hairspray, water, bread, meat and cheese. Ate
lunch in our hotel room. Mark napped while I wrote 12 postcards.
|At 2:30 PM, we left for bus tour of Paris. Stopped here and there to get
off the bus for photo-ops. Walked from one stop to Notre Dame Cathedral
from our Mercure Hotel. Mark had duck, I had steak. We split a bottle of
wine; also had more of that volcano/fudge chocolate cake, this time with
vanilla ice cream & whipped cream! Also, I had American coffee - Mark had
|Day 4 Wednesday November 5, 2008|
|Before going to bed last night, we found out that OBAMA Won!!
|We left for Chartres this morning.
The cathedral there is best known as the finest gothic cathedral in France. It is included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. We used an audio headset so Antoine our French tour guide could whisper during our tour. When we got back to the hotel, Mark and I had a little bit to eat in our room, then headed to the supermarket for "supplies" (corkscrew, wine, bags, meat, cheese, croissants, wash cloths, chips, etc.)
Had about an hour to rest before heading out to Montmartre.
It is on a steep hill (we got to ride up on a large cable car ) in the north of Paris.
The area is best known for its appeal to artists ( Salvador Dali, Monet, Picasso, and Vincent van Gogh).
After that we came back into Paris to explore the Louvre!
There's no way to see everything in the Louvre! It would take about two months to do that. We did, however, get to view Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo along with many other famous works of art. We felt nearly dead on our feet after so much standing, but our French tour guide Valerie ( my favorite ) was excellent. Back to our hotel - bed by 12.
|Day 5 Thursday November 6, 2008|
|I had to get up at 5 AM (after such a long, tiring day, bed by midnight)
since we were supposed to leave at 7:15. Barely had time for breakfast, but
we made it. Actually left the hotel around 7:45. ( they had Canadian bacon
Pulled into the lovely, quaint, old village of Arromanches around 11:45.
Went to the D-Day Museum and then walked to a terrific place called Le Mulberry for a really fantastic lunch! Most folks had fish, but I had chicken with a really tasty sauce. Wine was included; best lunch we've had in France so far! ( met Dorothy Pace) whose husband graduated from Lane High School in 1964.
|Back on the bus and on to Normandie ( we spell it - Normandy ). Mark
took several pictures - hope they turn out. We only had 35 minutes so Mark
and I walked all the way down to the beach! This was an emotional day.
|Drove through villages, back to Paris a different way. Returned to the
hotel by 8:15. One of the women in our group asked if we had a corkscrew. We
said , "room 333!" She was at our door with her bottle in no time flat! I
taught her the cork trick/game.
|Mark and I had a dinner and wine in the room. (we'll need to pick a
better wine tomorrow!)
To bed by 10:30 PM. Easier day tomorrow. Not leaving until 8 AM! A little more time for breakfast. Hooray!
|Day 6 Friday November 7, 2008|
Janine is 50 Today!
Up at 5:15AM, down to breakfast by 7. Really enjoyed more time to eat and
not shovel it in! Bus left at 8 for Fountainblue (Fontainebleau).
This was one of my favorite tours (except for the stinky restrooms). Such a lovely palace! I bought a little book about it in their gift shop.
left at 11:45 AM and headed to Barbizon. Quaint, charming village! Known as an artists' village. Mark and I found a newly-opened restaurant called Les Pleiades. It was beautiful inside (had those square white porcelain sinks in the restroom, really cool!)
Our waitress seated us and began speaking French. We told her we didn't understand; she was so nice- brought us white wine, cream cheese with pinhead size tomatoes, and little crackers. She also sent over a tall, young black man to take our order. He is from Winchester, VA and is a sophomore at James Madison University! Small world! We really enjoyed our lunch, especially the chocolate volcano cake with hot fudge inside, along with vanilla ice cream. The bill was about 62.50 Euros, but it was worth it.
Bus left there at 2 PM and we were back to our hotel by 3:15.
Mark and I walked to the Metro and rode it to the Musee d'Orsay which used to be a railroad station.
John Colclough had suggested we visit there. It really was quite nice and the building is gorgeous.
Took Metro back to the hotel and walked to a gift shop near the Eiffel Tower for a few more purchases. Also walked to a Pharmacy( look for a green cross) for cold medicine - Mark feels sick with a runny nose and a cold. We are both very sleepy and exhausted, but we must push on!
Ate a very light dinner ( cheese & crackers mostly) in our room. I washed a few pairs of socks for us. To bed around 8 PM (after Obama's speech at 7:30) or some of it anyway-
We have our last full day in France tomorrow.
We'll be off to Mont Saint-Michel - so we have to get up at 5:15 again but
the bus leaves at 7:15 so we may have to forget about breakfast in the
|Day 7 Saturday November 8, 2008|
|My favorite day! It was a long five-hour bus ride to Mont Saint Michel,
but it was really worth it. The incredible Benedictine Abbey of St, Michel
is on an island off the coats of Northern France
|It is another UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is amazing; very mystical/magical. I actually did make it to the top of over 270 stairs to go from one huge room to the next. Without Valerie leading the way, we would surely have been lost. We had lunch (before the tour) at a lovely restaurant in an expensive hotel at the foot of Mont Saint Michel. Our "corkscrew borrower" and her niece saved us a seat at their table! We had the best view of Mont Saint Michel.|
|After the long bus ride to our Paris hotel, we'll need to pack because tomorrow we ride through the Chunnel on the Eurostar to London.|
|Day 8 Sunday November 9, 2008|
|Left our Paris hotel around 7:30 AM and the bus took us to the train
After a bit of confusion and standing around, we made our way onto the train which left around 9:45AM. There is a one hour time difference between London and Paris. The trip is about 2.5 hours ; we arrived at 11:15 AM London time.
|John and Vickie ColClough were there to greet us off the train! They
were all smile and hugs, and they both looked so good! There was room for
them on our bus so they rode with us to our London hotel, the
Hotel in Kensington. Very posh place - our room is much larger and nicer
then the room we had in Paris.
John & Vickie found a terrific pub within walking distance so we went there for a pint and some lunch, Super!
Mark and I had Tim Taylor's Pub Ale Pie and it was yummy! We walked through wind and rain - rode the bus to St. Paul's, went to the Tate Museum of Modern Art
and later that evening Mark and I walked to Sapranos Pizza Pasta Cafe for a delicious Italian dinner. I had spaghetti and meatballs!
|Day 9 Monday November 10, 2008|
|Up early again for the group tour of Windsor Castle,
then lunch at the Stonehenge Inn ( delicious chicken pie) ,
on to Stonehenge
|Day 10 Tuesday November 11, 2008|
|Mark & I slept in until 7:15Am! We had breakfast at 10AM and, after a
phone call from John, we went by Underground to Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum.
It was interesting; not as large as I had expected. Mark took several great
pictures. Most of the wax figures really looked like the people they
|The weather was sunny and beautiful, just a bit chilly. We rode the
That was amazing! It takes 1/2 hour for it to go all the way around and it barely felt like we were moving. What fantastic views from up there!
|Later Mark & I returned to the Elephant and Castle pub that John & Vickie had taken us to on Sunday. He & I each had 2 pints and we enjoyed bacon and mushrooms with potatoes along with an order of nachos. We spent over 2 hours there, eating drinking & chatting with the barmaid and the Italian cook who came our from the kitchen to eat his spaghetti lunch in the booth beside ours.|
|Back at our hotel, we rested a while, then took the Underground to Waterloo station where we met John & Vickie around 7:15PM. They treated us (again) to a lovely dinner at a French restaurant, Chez Gerard - a very nice farewell dinner, or last light in London. It was difficult to say goodbye to John and Vickie. They are such a great couple - wonderful friends.|
*We wore the poppies that John & Vickie gave us. They didn't want us to feel left out since most of the Londoners were wearing them in honor of Armistice Day (our Veterans Day) ! At one point, while we were riding the Underground, everything stopped ( and I mean stopped!) while a minute of remembrance was observed.
|Day 11 Wednesday November 12, 2008|
|We say farewell to London.|
|We boarded the bus around 8:30Am and left for Heathrow airport. After paying $92.00 extra we were able to get two seats together ( window A and aisle B) with much better leg room in the Economy Plus section with Ruby, Buzz, Terri and Kip ( all our TCI travel counselors). The United Air flight 919 brought us to Dulles by 3PM . We picked up our rental Toyota Corolla and arrived home at about 7PM. Called Mom & Dad ( Dad was in Martha Jefferson Hospital for some tests. We went to bed by 8PM exhausted. We enjoyed traveling but its always good to come home.|
|Last updated 03/28/2011 06:01:15 PM||®MDSimpson 2002 thru 2010 and beyond|