Another day of major walking!
We had most of the day free because the group would only meet for the welcome later in the evening so after breakfast (where they at first directed us to the function room to dine with other groups but I think that was a mistake because our tour hasn't officially started), we headed out to the metro station Anatole France to catch a ride to Notre Dame.
I had an ulterior motive to visit there today because I knew the Queen was going to be in the vicinity, visiting the flower market nearby which was to be renamed after her. Unfortunately the market was closed off to visitors and security was tight. I naively thought we could just bump into her at one of the stalls! Oh well.
But all was not lost despite it starting to rain. Because of the road closures and our intention to head towards the Louvre next, we had to walk towards Hotel de Ville where we saw a large crowd gathered. I recalled the Queen having a meeting with the mayor prior to her flower market visit so I did eventually manage to catch a glimpse of her after we waited a few minutes for her arrival. Yay!
Next we walked along Rue de Rivoli to shop a little, I bought some items from H&M and C&A before we wound up at the Louvre. Since the boy doesn't appreciate art and I have been before, I just made him take some photos by the glass pyramid before we continued on towards the Opera House.
I bought a giant chocolate macaron from Paul, and we found a Japanese restaurant to stop for lunch. It was run by mainland Chinese so the ramen didn't make the cut.
From there Galleries Lafayette was a short walk away and we spent a couple of hours shopping. It was packed with lots of Chinese tourists queuing up for all the designer stores and I was a bit put off. Only managed to cover the first level and bought a Gucci belt on Swana's behalf and a couple of Vanessa Bruno bags for me, plus one for Jane.
Came back to the hotel after that to rest and freshen up before meeting the rest of the tour group in the lobby along with our travel director Vanessa. Quite a number of Asians in the group, everyone was very friendly and in no time we boarded the bus for a short drive around the city, catching a glimpse of The Pantheon, Opera House, Place de la Concorde, the obelisk, after a quick pit stop at the Eiffel.
We got off at the Champs Elysees for dinner near the Arc de Triomphe at a place called Chez Clement. We were just in time to catch the daily parade and homage to the tomb of the unknown soldier, I had no idea the flowers were changed everyday with a little ceremony.
At dinner, we sat with Aussies Ray and Marian from Melbourne, as well as Bill and Naomi from Adelaide. Dinner was pretty good, best French onion soup I've had and the main was roast chicken with mashed potato. Can't go wrong. Dessert was creme brulee was which a generous portion and so smooth and creamy.