We returned to Paris in order to catch the non-stop, return flight to Salt Lake City. We left ourselves more than a day between flights back from Italy and out of Paris to allow for any cancelled flights or delays in getting back to Paris. So, with our extra bonus day in Paris, we decided to train and subway ourselves downtown one more time.
We visited the Sacré Cœur first. After returning from the basilica, we were walking down the steps to the subway and we passed a large, somewhat rough-looking man coming up the stairs. He was carrying a very pretty handbag with the leather strap dangling down below. I pointed him out to everyone in our group as we passed him. He was busy going through the contents of “his” purse, but he still noticed our interested looks and stared us down from his position a few steps above us at that point. Perhaps our little robbery a few days previous had made us too suspicious, but we had the feeling that that just might not be his pretty, little handbag. Perhaps it was his sister’s and he just needed a place to keep his immigration papers for the day (he didn’t look very European). Well, I pondered that little encounter for quite a while afterwards. I kept imagining the cycle of different emotions of the lady from whose shoulders that handbag had most certainly just been was lifted as the doors to her subway car were closing.
I also kept thinking about what I might have done differently in that situation to right the wrong that had just taken place. I hadn’t witnessed the theft, so I couldn’t really call out to the police from the steps of the subway. I could have followed our nice friend up the stairs to see where he went and tried to alert an authority, but we had already stared into each other’s eyes and I don’t think he or his friends up above the subway entrance would have fancied my company too much. We’ve met a lot of super nice people on our trip, but we’ve also witnessed (or been victims of) some really bad people. We have always been on alert in public places as we have traveled this year, but we clutched our backpacks a little tighter that day as we toured Paris.
We took in the Notre Dame one more time from the outside and watched the scam artists out front try to take-in unsuspecting tourists in the “golden ring” scam (you can search it on the internet) which had been tried on us at the Arc de Triomphe three weeks earlier. From the Notre Dame, we picked up some of the city bikes and cruised through the crowded and somewhat treacherous streets to the Bastille and a few other landmarks before deciding that it might be a little too treacherous for us and we parked the bikes and finished our tour on foot. We noticed a large group gathering for France’s game in the World Cup, which was going to be shown on a huge screen in front of the Hotel de Ville, but decided against joining when we saw the crush of people jammed together. Instead, we went back to our hotel and walked down the street to the Marriott for our last meal in Europe.
In the morning, we took a short shuttle ride to the airport and boarded our non-stop flight back to Salt Lake City, where we were met at the airport by Sydney’s father and two siblings. We felt very happy to exit the airport and know that it was likely going to be quite a while before we got back in another security screening line or had to haul our luggage through another airport. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!