A week in Paris, two days in Milan

first, Paris

After the Dutch cruise, Mary and I avoided the Queen's Day celebration and packed a picnic lunch to eat as we took the TGV to Paris. The TGV is amazing: it's very smooth and quiet but you're flying along at over 200kph. It's breathtaking. But then, we got used to it and began to pour our wine and beer into the complimentary champagne flutes from the cruise line.

Arriving in Paris, we immediately purchased the Carte Orange (weekly metro pass). The Paris Metro is great. With one transfer we were within a short walk to our hotel for the week (the Deux Iles on Iles St. Luis). Shopping and eating began almost immediately.

The photo to the right is the back of a Honda mini van. It says "Joy Machine".

As Mary said "leave it to the French to take something useful and turn it into a fashion weapon". In the photo to the right, Mary is pointing to a sling back sneaker. "They've pretty much managed to take all the sneak out of it, haven't they?", she says.
Another must have item in Paris is the Periscope. It lists everything happening around town for the next week. We decided to go listen to an organ recital one afternoon at this church in the photo to the right. Unfortunately, the concert was "Anulle" (canceled). Not to worry.

Later that week, we did hear a boys choir singing gregorian chants in Notre Dame. Now that was cool. We left the concert a little before it ended because we had dinner reservations at Les Bookinistes on the left bank.

Mary liked the vest in this window so I took a picture. It was a men's vest so it didn't fit Mary. 



and now, Milan!

We had no particular agenda in Milan besides shopping. We didn't even have any restaurants picked out. We stayed in a hotel (The Gritti) just a block from the Piazza Duomo. The major shopping streets (Via Della Spiga and Via Montenapoleone) are less than a 1k walk.

A sample of the over-the-top shopping opportunities is the window display to the right: The tool set is gold plated! 

This was a tough shot. The green monster that Mary is standing next to claims to be a couch. It's actually several padded strands covered in velvet. The room has a huge storefront, but no one was there when we walked in, and the lights were off. The camera flash made the odd reflection from the velvet.
Mary is happy in Milan! 

As far as we can make out, "Expensive!" is the name of the store.