Wednesday, July 07, 2004

But We'll Always Have Paris....

Once again we had Paris in the rain - and some serious rain it was too. The morning cry was "Eiffel Tower or bust" - we couldn't leave Paris without seeing it.  In fact, I am sure there is a law that says all first time tourists MUST see it or they can't leave the city.  And it is BIG - the pictures give one no hint as to how immense it really is. It was damp and wet, but the streetside markets had umbrellas for sale - 14 Euros later we were all set to brave the weather. While   we encountered the entire population of Japan at the Louvre, every British teenager appeared to be at the Eiffel Tower. Being more or less 16 years of age  they all had to squeal, rough-house, push and of course talk constantly on their cell phones. A bit to much humanity for me, but the view at the top made up for it. 360 degrees worth of Paris, a wet, grey, chilly Paris but it was indeed Paris.  My beloved braved the gift shop while I braved the heights.

High atop the Eiffel Tower Posted by Hello

Down we came and headed toward Napoleonic tomb in the Dome Church  - on foot.  Hiked through a park and took some time to enjoy watching the dogs at play. Some of our favorite experiences in Paris haven't come from the Guide Books.   None of our meals have come from the guide books, we've just stumbled into cafes that look promising and we've yet to be disappointed.

Buy My Sweet Lavendar! Posted by Hello
The Tomb and Church were  overwhelming- much, gilt, stained glass and statuary. It was not nearly as crowded and the people were respectful & quiet. Again, major frustration set in  at not being able to read the placards. I feel so ignorant for not knowing any French - and it's also very tiring.

The skies opened, we got wet yet found a Taxi - My Beloved has taxi gris gris just like she has parking space gris gris, so we headed home to dry off.  Normally we used the Metro but when it's raining a taxi is a nice luxury.

My Beloved took a nap, I headed for the Paris City museum, The Musee Carnavalet which isn't far from our Hotel. Again, I could not fully appreciate it, since everything was in French, but I had a fine time wandering around looking at the facilities. It is housed in a 16th century town house. I kept thinking of Calico Captive, one of my favorite books which is set in Quebec, Canada in the 1600s, and some of homes Marian Willard encountered must of been like this home.  '
Went back to the hotel via The Place Des Vosges, a square of lovely, symmetrical mansions built in the 17th century.  Very peaceful, looking very much locked in time.

My Beloved took a nap, and so was fresh and ready to attempt the Arc de Triomphe . We got very brave and took the bus, so we could see a bit more of the city. Again, like the Eiffel Tower it was BIG - much bigger than it looks in the pictures. I climbed all the way to the top - another killer spiral staircase but the view was worth it. Almost better than the Eiffel Tower since the streets around the Arch are like spokes of the wheel. Afterwards, we opted for a taxi back to the hotel and went down The  Champs Elysees, which was a major disappointed. McDonalds, The Gap, Virgin Records...Nothing but major American chains. Not at all French - a sad commentary on how the American brands are taking over the world.

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