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Published: July 22nd 2010
The Pynes disguised as Baguette Salesmen
Shortly after this, we head to the airport to get H on the plane.
A couple of observations about Paris. There seems to be a lot of homeless people and people pan-handling for cash; Paris is the only city where I have seen a “beggar” with his Ipod and earphones waiting for change. And there are lots of Gypsies, I think this is a by-product of an open Europe. They are everywhere there's a tourist, from the Eiffel Tower, Arch de Triumph to the entrances and exits of churches. There's something wrong with this picture...
While there is still dog excrement on the streets, it is less than previous trips, on the other hand, the smell of urine on a hot day is noticeable. The Metro trains take a bit of a hammering from the graffiti hoodlums, the suburbs get hammered, but in the inner city, the graffiti is mostly confined to the Metro. Thursday, 15 July
Harrison packs and we leave the apartment at around 1.00pm. I am accompanying him to the airport as I want to see my son safely on the plane (unlike Bangkok). His plane at 4.50, takes him first, to London and then a 10.00pm flight from London to Sydney (22hrs) and then another layover before
finally reaching Auckland. I don't envy him any of it and it is something Caroline will be doing in reverse come July 25.
I'm sad to see him go, we've had a number of adventures and a bunch of fun, over the past three weeks.
I head back to the apartment, and cook myself a meal. Tonight, I'm staying in....... Friday, 16 July
I've done most of the Paris must does, from the Eiffel Tower to the Louvre, so I have made the decision to take a daily walk out of the book “Walking Paris”. Most of the walks are around 4-5 km and the fact that I sometimes get lost adds a little more to this. Plus, I also walk to the start point from the apartment, unless it is totally at the other side of town. Today, its St Germain des Pres. I set off at about 10.30am.
Along the way, I pass Kiwi Corner, where there is a little restaurant owned by a New Zealander and staffed by Kiwi's, that serves up Kiwi and Aussie faire. It turns out the owner has been in Paris around 15 years and now owns
most of the street... He runs a travel Agency specializing in down-under tours. Along the way there are numerous restaurants and bars from Eden Park to the Deaux Maggots and Cafe Flore. The latter two being very up-market establishments.
I end up inside Saint Sulpice which features heavily in the Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, the whole business about the church being built on a pagan site is debunked and as far as the rose line it seems that it is all in an authors imagination. However, I did pound on one of the paving stones beneath the obelisk just in case it was hollow. From what I can gather Dan certainly researched the Dossiers Secrets mentioned below:
The following is an excerpt from Wikipedia: “References to the church of Saint-Sulpice are found in the so-called Dossiers Secrets that were planted in the Bibliothèque Nationale in the 1960s. The documents are alleged to be records of a 900-year-old secret society called the Priory of Sion. Serious researchers have concluded that they were in fact forgeries created for the purpose of a surrealist hoax by Pierre Plantard, a French pretender to the throne. As part of the story
though, Plantard alleged that the letters "P" and "S" in the stained glass windows at one end of the church's transept are a reference to the Priory of Sion. In fact, the initials SP refer to Saint Pierre and Saint Sulpice, who are the patron saints of this church.” See the full article on Saint Sulpice on Wikepedia.
The church itself is enormous and only slightly smaller than Notre Dame and it has known many celebreties during it's day. The Marquis de Sade was baptized there, perhaps the priest had run out of holy water on that particular day. The entrance has the requisite Gypsy begging at the door.
My walk ends up being around 5-6 km and I arrive home in the afternoon. Saturday, 17 July
Up at around 9.00am , today I'm about to do a walk around the Pigalle. The planned walk is around 5.5 Km (I must add another 2Km on top of this as I am researching our next swap-apartment) and starts close to Fauborg-Poissonniere (the road that was used to bring fish to the city markets). If I'm not mistaken, I think that I can smell fish. Anyway, the walk
The two Maggots
I believe the food is excellent.
takes me past and through a number of old Catholic churches (dodging the Gypsy beggars), through a Jewish Quarter, before passing the Folies Bergere, Casino de Paris and the numerous sex shops in the Pigalle.
Along the way I see old houses that were once occupied by artists, composers, writers such as Vincent Van Gough, Henri Toulouse La Trec, Chopin, Victor Hugo, George Sand, etc. However, the author of my Paris Walks book doesn't tell me how long the artist actually lived at each place. It could be,Victor Hugo slept here on his way to the sex shops in the Pigalle, for one night. Who Knows!!!
Finally, I end up at the Cemetery in the Monmartre and spend 45 minutes wandering around looking for, no, not Jim Morrison, but Emille Zola. Our Rider on the Storm, Jim, is actually in Pere Lachaise.
After this, I scout out the location of our next apartment in Paris, on Rue du Lamarck, which turns out to be very close to the Sacre Coeur.
Drinks in the evening with Fred ( a French guy that I met while watching the world-cup) at my favorite 3 Euro Beer Bar near the
Another place to be seen.
Bastille and home at 11.30pm Sunday, 18 July
Up at around 08.20 followed by a lot of reading and at 4.00pm I finally head towards the Luxembourg Gardens to take photo's in the park. Lucky me, there's a Chopin concert in the park today and it's done in a Jazz style. It reminds me of the Hollywood Bowl, but there's lots of shade as the concert is in a little copse of trees. I thoroughly enjoyed the playing and the arrangements, so I hang out and listen to the whole concert.
I then head to the Latin Quarter and indulge in a Indian curry. It seems quite good at the time. Monday, 19 July
I'm a little under the weather this morning. Could it be the curry from last night? Anyway, I decide to stay close to the apartment for most of the day and finally make a move around about 4.00pm
Another little walk of around 6km. Starting on the left bank, by Odeon and crossing the river, through the Louvre and then a rather convoluted way to the Palace Royale. I cross the river on the Pont de Arts a cast
iron bridge with wooden struts. This is the bridge that all the young people seem to have their picnics on every evening. It seems, the original bridge on this site built in 1802, was designed as a suspended garden. Unfortunately, the river barges that run up and down the Seine had a habit of crashing into the pilings and it was demolished in the 1970's to be replaced by the current bridge in the 80's.
Along the walk, I see the Bourse de Commerce, I think that this is a Paris stock exchange, forgive me if I am wrong. I pass the Bibliotheque Nationale, the library with one of the oldest and largest collection of books in the world and finally end up at the Palais Royale. The oldest part of the palace was built for Cardinal Richelieu, the villain of Three Musketeers fame. The palace has had rather a checkered career and has a particularly rich history. Richelieu bequeathed it to Louis X111 and the royal family lived there through two rebellions, often having to flee until they finally said, 'sod it', and moved to the Louvre.
I'm back in the apartment at 8.00pm, where I cook
myself a spaghetti dinner. Tuesday, 20 July
Today I am going to fill out the form to get my visa for India. I catch the Metro, to the wrong station, but it is still only a 20-30 minute walk from the Visa place. I collect a ticket and wait in line. This reminds me of my days at INS in Los Angeles waiting to be called for citizenship. Anyway, my number comes up, bingo, I pay them 94 Euro and have to wait for 10 days. I'm not so sure that this is good service.
After leaving Visa Services, I head down to the shopping center at Les Halles and walk around in the air conditioning before heading home.
Steve and Sue arrive in from England at around 8.30pm, they have come over on EuroStar and are staying with me in Paris for a few days before heading to Switzerland. Wednesday, 21 July.
We decide that we will do a little walking today as it is overcast and not too hot. Anyway, we start with rather slow leisurely stroll along the Canal St Martine for about 6km. Along the way, we see a restaurant
that Ed, Wendy, Caroline and myself had dinner in 2007 with two of Ed's friend. I take the obligatory photo.
The walk continues and we end up at Cite des Sciences et de l'Industrie, it's pretty much deserted, so there's a restaurant on About.com that I had wanted to try. Chartier is a belle Epoque restaurant with an enormous turn of the century dining room. The waiters dress appropriately with long white aprons and write your orders on white paper tablecloths. Unfortunately, the food is pretty average, even though it is very moderately priced. Great venue, lpoor food.
After this we walk to Sacre Coeur, and then make our way back to the left bank for a couple of well earned beers. Along the way, we stop at Galleries Layette and find our way to the roof for a bonus view of Paris. It,s around 8.45pm before we arrive back at the apartment. I reckon that we must have walked at least 18Km over the day. Paris - Likes and Dislikes Likes:
The Metro, it gets you around the city quickly and efficiently.
You can see a ballet /opera in a world
It seems Josephine Baker made her name here
class venue for only 18 Euro.
Visually a beautiful city
The history and the museums
3-4 Euro Pints
Fresh baguette's and chocolate eclairs
The fact you can walk most places
That people will talk to you in English
Concerts in the Park
Quality busking (ie. 3 young ladies playing violin)
The apartment in the 6th - Thank you Carine
The fact that Carine's oldest daughter, is a rabid Rolling Stones Fan and has lots of their early CD's
The Latin Quarter (cheap and cheerful food)
The dances at the Fire Stations on July 13th Dislikes:
Beggars and Gypsies
A packed Metro on a hot day
6 Euro Pints
Dog Shit and Urine stench
The fact that I cant speak French
All the damn tourists
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