Saturday morning we had breakfast in the hotel then boarded our trusty bus to drive out to Versailles. The line to get in was long, even though we had pre purchased tickets. The palace is a large museum that has sculpture, paintings and quite a few rooms that had been kept as they originally were. Several of us wanted to go into the gardens after we finished going through the palace only to find that they wanted an additional 8 euro to get in. We declined but took a few pictures from outside the fence. They were beautifully kept, more so than the inside of the museum in some areas.
We boarded the bus and drove back into Paris for an abbreviated driving tour of the city. Our driver was amazing at navigating tight turns and crazy drivers. About 2 p.m. we went to the American Church to drop off all our equipment. After that we had some free time to see the sights and have lunch. The prime target was to visit Notre Dame cathedral but it was closed until 4:30 due to an event that was being taken out; loads of chairs etc. We decided that lunch and shopping first was a good option and some of the group was treated to ring side seats for the Paris gay pride parade. I may include some interesting pictures after we get home and I have time to process them. We were finally able to get into the cathedral, which we thoroughly enjoyed. It is large and beautiful but not as large or beautiful inside as the cathedral we had seen in Amiens on Friday. A few of the group climbed up the stairs into the tower and enjoyed the incredible view.
We had a designated place to meet for pick up to return to the church for our rehearsal only to find that the streets were still closed from the parade. Our bus wasn’t able to get in to pick us up so our guide, Norbert, guided us at a very quick pace, through the subway system. We still had a few blocks to walk after we exited the subway but we made it to the church just slightly later than planned. We rehearsed until about 9:30 p.m. then got back on the bus to head to the river for a boat cruise on the Seine. We left the dock about 10 p.m. when it was getting dark, which made for beautiful light. Our boat also had many very bright lights on the sides that pointed up to the buildings along the river. We passed the Eifel tower at 11 so were able to see all the flickering lights that last for 10 minutes on the hour. Beautiful! Difficult to take a good picture of though, between the bright lights and the constantly moving boat. We disembarked then went back to the hotel for the night.
Sunday morning we headed back to the American church where we participated in their worship service. At the conclusion of the service we changed clothes and had a choice of activities. Some of the group went to the Louvre and sight seeing and some went back to the hotel to have lunch and shop or rest. At 3:30 we headed back to the church for our 5 p.m. concert. We had a nice audience that was very appreciative of our offering. It was great to play in this lovely old church where Fred Gramann is the Director of Music. We played one of his pieces during his concert and hopefully did it justice. We loaded up the equipment and tables one last time then headed back to the hotel. We changed clothes and met downstairs to walk to the restaurant for our final dinner together with everyone. (Kelli, Erika and Justin were staying on for two more days. Sarah and Karen both left immediately after the concert as they both had booked their own travel arrangements.)
I think I can speak for the group and say that we all had a wonderful time seeing new places and experiencing the history to be found there. It was great to perform for audiences that were mostly unfamiliar with our instrument.We are in the Salt Lake city airport presently, awaiting our flight home to Phoenix. The trip has been wonderful but we are all ready to go home.