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Paris & Colmar, 28 May - 5 June

Just got back from 8 nights in Paris with an overnight in Colmar. The week prior to departure the weather was to be in the low to mid 70s with sunny skies, well that changed to mid to upper 60s with off and on rain and cloudy the entire time, except for a few hours in Colmar near sunset. But hey, We’re in Paris.

No issues with arrival through CDG, it actually took longer to get to Passport Control then it took to go through it. Taxi to apartment on Ile. Saint Louis. Terminal 2E arrivals is under construction, so no access directly out of the doors for transport, but staff was available to get folks through to where the Taxis’ were lined up. News of possible rail strikes on Tuesday & Friday and Air Traffic Controllers strike on the weekend, 3 – 5 June, which we were departing on 5 June.

COLMAR: Made it to Colmar on Monday, nice train ride, very green scenery & towns to view on the way. Some mist for a bit, nothing to ruin our time there. Just enjoyed walking around the town itself. We took the canal cruise on the small boat and rode the Green Train around the town. It seems a thing for the teenagers to do is sneak onboard the train without the driver knowing. This happened with about 6 of them hopping on & off during our time on it. They even made sure they closed the doors when they departed the train, instead of just leaving them open. Stayed at Hotel Saint Martin in the center of the old town, nice room overlooking the town. Made reservations when we arrived at Chez Hansi, good thing we did, filled up with locals and a few tourists. I enjoyed the Choucroute, sauerkraut & various pork meats, & my girlfriend enjoyed the chicken cooked in a Riesling. We opted out of breakfast in the hotel & headed to the Market & enjoyed buying some pastries, fresh fruit & drinks and just sitting with the locals & watching the different vendors set up in the morning. One lady was baking fresh breads & pretzels when we arrived, it smelled wonderful. The rail strike was voted on to commence on Tuesday, our day of departure back to Paris. Luckily for us it was to begin at 19:00 hours & we were departing at 11:00.

PARIS: Made it the sites I wanted to in Paris, but the flooding of the Seine did close down some activities such as the Canal Cruises, d’Orsay & l’Orangerie. The two museums were preparing their first or ground floors & entrances for the possibility of the overflow from the river. Some of the structures on the main roads that parallel the river also had large metal structures secured in front of them along the sidewalks in preparation. The level of the river was high enough to completely cover the walk ways and roads that run along it and caused flooding into some of the underground highway networks and the metros. The Saint Michel Metro/RER stop closed & some of the connecting stations. In the morning you saw some some water on the walkways & by the afternoon water was flowing down some of the steps along the walls, so the stations where closed. All this made the traffic, foot & vehicle, very heavy above ground. But, we took Metro routes to get to where we wanted that I had not taken before & enjoyed figuring out & using the Bus system, since we had the Navigo Decouverte Card.

The Fete du Pain, Bread Festival, in front of Notre Dame was still going on when we arrived & we partook in the viewing & tasting. I’m glad I don’t have a Gluten allergy. In 2014 the main window in Saint Chapelle was being worked on, this time it was complete & all windows available for viewing, which I enjoyed. The Cathedral Saint Denis was impressive as well, an easy train ride out there. We just missed the Festival of Saint Denis by one day, the Grand Royal Robes exhibition within the church was still ongoing & my girlfriend enjoyed that.

-- To be Continued

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Continued --

Our last 3 nights there was not much rain in Paris itself, but the river was still rising a bit & by Saturday the roads were already dry, just cloudy & some windy moments. Taking pictures & viewing the flooding Seine seemed to become the “National Pastime”. Folks would stop on the bridges, put on their hazards & with the whole family view the flood, take pictures & even bring food to eat. The police where even taking photos to include selfies with the river in the background. There were zodiacs cruising up and down the river with divers on board & checking on the private & commercial vessels that were moored on the river.

Saturday began with the UEFA EURO 2016 events. There was a Fun Zone set up in front of Hotel de Ville with activities & Meet & Greet areas & the large Tennis Ball was changed to UEFA Ball in the center of the Eiffel Tower. We had the chance when we were returning from the Centre Georges Pompidou to see the different nationalities of the sporting event lining up along Quai de l’Hotel de Ville & practicing for a parade. Very colorful costumes & energetic music. Organized to, each group was brought in a large commercial bus, unloaded gear from below, headed to their spot in the procession, then the next bus arrived with a new group.

We enjoyed our time there & look forward to returning. I have Switzerland on my mind first then possibly an Eastern France trip of the country working down to Marseille, focusing on the smaller villages & wine country. The girlfriend is pushing for England, which would be nice. Our return to CDG was uneventful, less than an hour in our Uber car. Processing our VAT, checking in & going through security took less than an hour & our flight was on time, the best thing was on 2 June, they voted not to strike over the weekend we were leaving. But a strike the following week was being looked at.

I’m heading to Germany at the end of August, I’m hoping for an uneventful trip there & back without having to worry about any strikes. Fingers crossed.