May 1st is Labor Day in France. It is celebrated several ways. Everyone gives each other Lily of the Valley flowers, and most shops are closed, so we planned to have our guided tour of Paris in the morning. First stop was the gorgeous Basilque Sacre Coure and Montmarte, the artist square.
Since buses can't drive to the top, in order to get to our destination we first we had to climb approximately 1000 stairs. I am not exagerating. This is just the first SET. Yeah, we were smiling because we hadn't started yet....
Our effort was so worth it. A great view of the city
And one of the most beautiful churches on earth. It is made of a white stone that gets whiter with age. When the sun is setting, it simply glows......
Right around the corner is the famous artist's square, Montmartre.
It's full of music and mimes......And, of course, the artists........We spent a good deal of our time here buying artwork and visiting the shops.
Next stop was the Eiffel Tower
And Notre Dame and other amazing chuches, parks, and monuments.
When the tour was over, we were told there was a huge antique fair at Place Bastille, which covered both sides of the Seine for several blocks. You can see all of the white tens set up on each side. We arrived, saw a sign that said "Entree", paid our $8. entrance fee......
and found we were right in the middle of a CONTEMPORARY ART EXHIBIT with lovely offerings such as:
We were told the Antiques were NEXT week on the same spot! Oh well, we went though the whole thing. It was "interesting". The best thing that happend was we met two gentlemen with the last names of Snow and White (seriously). One is an amazing photographer and the other is an artist. The are both ex-pats living in the south of France. They own a chateau and host visitors and teach photography and hold art retreats. They also told us about numerous garage sale / flea markets in the surrounding villages (Timothy White uses many of the antique "objets" at the subjects of his photography). HeyLadies! Sounds like an added side trip for next year's Paris outing!Never to waste a good crisis, the other way Persians celebrate Labor Day is by protesting. We had warned the girls that they would probably see at least one protest and we were kind of disappointed that we hadn't seen one all day. Parisians protest because they have to pay a huge amount of taxes (usually 50%) and they think they work too hard, because 6 weeks paid vacations and tons of holidays off just isnt enough (not positive I am with them on that one). Not to be disappointed, when we came out of the exhibition, the square had turned into a huge sea of people climbing on statues and stairs.....Even though there were lots of handsome policemen in full riot gear, we thought it might be time to make a hasty retreat back to our hotel.
Back at the hotel we were having our Marce Aux Puces (Market of Fleas) orientation with our lovely and talented French Shopping Guide, Jodie.
Then off to a wonderful dinner at Montparnasse 1900, one of the most beautiful restaurants in Paris. Even though it was a late night, we will be up early, for tomorrow is THE DAY. Our first full day at Marche Aux Puces, the FIRST, OLDEST and largest antique flea markets in the world. STAY TUNED!!!