My beloved and I took a dinner cruise to celebrate St. Valentine's Day. I made reservations on the same boat that we took for my birthday dinner a few years ago.
We took the metro to the location, if you have ever ridden the metro here you know that it is very easy to navigate. You pick the line you want to ride, the direction you need to go and off you go. Of course, most times you need to change lines and trains to get to where you want to go. That means getting out at a station and then have to get to your next train to reach your final destination. Getting to your next train can be a very long and athletic endeavor.
Out of the train, find the right tunnel, follow the signs for your next train, go down some stairs, follow a long tunnel, up some stairs, around a corner, take a moving sidewalk, up some more stairs, around another corner down a few steps, up a few steps, around one more corner and then you are on the correct platform, wait for your train, get on and then get off at your final destination.
Altogether about a 30 minute trip.
We took the 4 line to the 6 line to Bir-Hakeim which is the bridge AFTER the Eiffel Tower. The boat leaves from the Allee des Cygnes - Walkway of Swans. The Captaine Fracasse is a small boat (compared to some of the other boats on the river) old school, lots of wood, small intimate tables and being V-day rose petals on the tables along with your bottle of wine.
You stand in a queue waiting to get on and they are running late, this is familiar. We are seated at a table in the middle row, we have a table to the left of us against the window and a table to the right of us. At the table to the right was a couple a little older than we are and to the left a couple a bit younger than us. All around us were couples celebrating this night of love.
We witnessed a proposal, it seemed to be accepted. I mentioned it was a good thing that she dressed up tonight. She looked pretty and happy, he looked relived and happy.
We realized we were not the only lesbians on the boat.
The price of the cruise includes a bottle of wine on your table. So, you my faithful readers know that I do not drink, my beloved does not drink very much. So we were commenting on the fact that after her first glass of wine the rest would just go to waste.
Oh no, our neighbors to the left had finished their bottle and noticed we were not drinking ours. The woman leaned over and asked if we were going to drink our wine and if not, could she have a glass. We readily agreed and poured her a glass saying that we were just commenting on the fact that it was a shame that it would go to waste since we don't drink. She leaned back in her chair and saluted us with her glass and said "I am French" and shrugged her shoulders.
The husband asked where we were from and we told him San Francisco (remember this).
We cruised on the Seine and could not figure out where in the world we were. We were cruising past house boats, lots of house boats. Abandoned buildings covered in graffiti. And a swan - how appropriate.
Our wine loving neighbors starting talking to the waiter and I understood her as she pointed at me and said San Francisco. She turned to me and said "I was just saying that Paris is such a beautiful city if you go THAT way, but we are going THIS way where it is not very pretty and people come all the way from San Francisco and this is what you show them?"
I asked is it because the water is so high and the boat cannot get under the bridges?
Yes, yes that is the reason, but still Paris is more beautiful that this - as she sweeps her arm at the scenery. Oh well, I explain that we have taken this cruise before and have seen the beauty of Paris from this vantage point before. She seemed to be happy about this. At this point I gave them the rest of our bottle of wine and she gave me her Valentine's flowers.
Once things were done and we were docked we headed back to the metro for the reverse trip home.
We were not sure if the metro would be open, but it was. We got on our our first train, the 6 line back to Montparnasse for our change to the 4 line back to Saint Michel. Sounds easy, right....
The first part was, got on the train and in our car were four really drunk young men - swearing, smoking and drinking. Yeah!! Well, they kept to themselves and we got off at Montparnasse and started the long trip to the 4 line. Up stairs, down stairs, around corners, a people mover, more steps, you get it. Finally the platform. The time 0:55, the time the last train leaves the platform? 0:53. That's right, two minutes late for the last train. We were not the only ones that seemed to be late and have missed the last train.
OK, now what. Well you put those two things at the end of your legs to work - your feet. We walked home, down the boulevard Montparnasse, to Rue St. Jacque to Blvd. St. Germain to Rue F. Sauton to the Seine over the bridge, across Ile de la Citi, across another bridge to Ille St. Louie to our little home.
I'll admit I got a little turned around and was unsure of our location a few times, but we made it home and had a beautiful walk thru Paris on a beautiful night.
All in all, even with aching feet a good night.