My trip to Paris

Read Part Seven.
Read the whole thing on The Diaries page.

My trip to Paris
April 5 – 14 1941

April 10

After breakfast at 8.0 we went up to the Pantheon, but it was closed so we could only see the outside. Went into the Church of St Étienne du Mont, where Mass was being said. Nice church. Then we went to Notre Dame again and walked right round inside. Saw the Treasury. There are some gorgeous crucifixes, [???] and chalices there. There is one crucifix made out of an elephant’s tusk. I bought a nice rosary and lots of them bought medals.

Then we went out and round to the side and climbed to the top of the tower by a spiral staircase of 380 steps. It was pitch dark, and there was an orphanage which got mixed up with us. It was awful. We came out on to the sort of bridge halfway up and looked at the gargoyles. Then in again and up again.

The view from the top is worth the climb, all Paris spread out before us in the morning sun, sparkling and alive. There was an English boys’ school up there too. (While we were up there Gwen told me she liked freckles as they looked holidayfied.)

Then came the climb down which was worse than going up, as we had only the inside edges of the steps. At one place an English voice – man’s – asked us if we wanted any help, and he helped us. I wonder who he was?

As usual we made for a café and refreshed ourselves with citronade. Faith broke a glass and a nice cheerful waiter appeared. F stood there with a scarlet face saying “Combien? Combien?” but he told her it was alright. Funny!

We tried the Palais de Justice but the actual building was closed. We got into the Sainte-Chapelle though. That has got marvellous stained glass windows. Then we went to the Conciergerie du Palais – the old prison. Ghastly place. All stone with huge pillars. Saw the cell in which Marie Antoinette was kept, and a letter written by her. Also the court where the prisoners used to take exercise.

It was Faith that made us laugh again. She sat on a round stone, and suddenly the guide said that the prisoners used to dry their washing on the stone “Where Mlle is sitting”. Poor F thought someone had been killed there or something as she didn’t catch what he said, and she absolutely leapt off the stone! The chimneys, in the kitchen especially, were tremendous.

At 2.30 we went by taxi to the Gare de Luxembourg and caught the electric train to Robinson. It was packed – being bank holiday – Gwen and I sat on little stools at the back of the seats, with everyone holding the rail over our heads.

Mrs Cooke met us at Robinson and walked us two miles through the town and some woods. Saw Chateaubriand’s home. Her own home is a lovely house and garden. Mme Jacquot asked us if we were ‘fatigué’ and brought us lemonade. Then we had tea! Chocolate to drink, and gorgeous pain des pieces. O bliss! There were several pots of homemade apricot jam, and as no one ate any, Mme J. told us to eat it with spoons after. My hat! it was heavenly. O joy! What a tea!

We listened to the piano after and sang French songs. We left there about 7.0 and came home by the same sort of train. Gwen and I were squeezed into a seat with some fellow, me in the middle and did G push me! Everyone was nice and tight and some man made farmyard noises to amuse – apparently – everyone.

Usrsula and I went to a café later, and talked to some people – the man knew English but the two women didn’t. Then U and I went down the street alone and looked at the shops, before going to bed about 11.0.


Read Part Nine.

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