We are back in Paris again – really loving using this city as a central pass through point on our European travels. We are staying near the latin quarter this time so started the day with a run / walk up to and along the River Seine.
Steve, Carol & Mel from NZ have joined us in Paris. Mel has been over in Blackpool competing at the World Ballroom Dancing Championships. She has a few days in Paris with us before she heads home and we head to Barcelona to start our cruise.
They have never been to Paris before so we were happy to play tour guides. We decided to get a two day pass on the Batobus which is a hop on hop off boat that goes along the Seine and stops at the main tourist spots. Our first stop was the Champs Élysées – we walked up one side then decided to detour to another Avenue where we had lunch.
When we first arrived at the Champs Élysées we saw all these French flags and Union Jack flags and wondered what was happening. At lunch time we noticed all these police vans and the Arc de Triomphe was a hive of activity. Whilst checking out a wine shop Steve casually asked what was happening and was told that the Queen was in town for a three day state visit.
She had travelled on the Eurostar that morning after unveiling a plaque commemorating 20 years of the Channel Tunnel. She is here for the 70 year celebrations of D Day at Normandy tomorrow.
Normandy landings, codenamed Operation Neptune, were the landing operations on 6 June 1944 (termed D-Day) of the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II. The largest seaborne invasion in history, the operation began the invasion of German-occupied western Europe, led to the restoration of the French Republic, and contributed to an Allied victory in the war.
Steve, Carol & Mel had come from spending a few days in London and never got to see the Queen so we thought we would hang around to watch her come down the Champs Élysées. It was a bit of a long wait but finally we saw the procession coming down. Some fairly non de script cars then came into view and at the last minute we noticed the Queen sitting in the back of one waving. Towards the end of the procession the maroon Rolls Royce that she had arrived in came past with only the driver in it – if she had been in there we would have seen her clearly. Damn French decided to put her in a French made car!
We then continued our tour down the Champs Élysées and waked back to the Batobus to come home. We passed the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dam which will be on tomorrows agenda. The Eiffel Tower has a big tennis ball hanging from it as the French Open is sill on here in Paris. It was another lovely day weather wise and as I sit here typing this at 10pm the sun is only just going down.