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Published: September 20th 2013
After weeks and weeks of fine sunny weather which had been great for sightseeing we are being tested here in Paris with light rain that seems to appear just when we don't want it and today looks like it will be no different.It is also our last full day on the continent and we have a small list of outdoor things to do and we need the weather to clear for us.
Sylvie had alerted us to the flea market just up the road from the B&B so we put our coats on and walked up in the light rain to have a wander around and experience it with the locals.However,we were a bit early at 10am and the stalls were just starting to open as we found shelter from getting too wet before we started to walk around the uncovered area.
It seemed the rain was not only putting the locals and tourists off but also the vendors as a number of stalls remained locked as we took a walk around the market place.Eventually the rain just got too much for us and dripping water we headed back to the B&B stopping at a boulangerie to get some
lunch to have before we headed out again to finish off some sightseeing.Now all we wanted was the rain to stop.
A cup of coffee and some food and sure enough the rain did stop and we set off for the subway heading out to Saint Denis a few stops up the line to check out the cathedral and also to take a look at the Stade de France,the home of French test rugby in Paris.
Getting about Paris is very easy on the underground and a day pass was the way to go today with Gretchen's tour plan and it would pay for itself after 3 or 4 trips as we made our way around.So like meerkats we popped up from the subway at St Denis and followed the arrows to the square where the impressive gothic style cathedral was located.
There has been a cathedral on the site since Roman days but the structure you see today was started in the 7th century and added to over the years.For 8 centuries the cathedral had been the burial place of the Kings of France and had been a place of pilgrimage.Like all of the churches we
have been in the stained glass was striking especially the rose window.
The signage in St Denis was excellent,actually it is great all over Paris,and we headed towards the stadium that is the home of rugby although we had no idea what we would be able to see when we got there.And as it turned out the closest we could get was about a half kilometre away as the roads were under repair.With the route to get closer looking difficult we admired the structure from the underground entrance and then headed back underground for another couple of subway rides to get to our next attraction which was the Pere Lachaise Cemetery,a huge place of 44 hectares,where many prominent Parisians plus a number of other notables are buried including Frederick Chopin,Jim Morrison(guitar player)and Oscar Wilde.
We started out by reading the directory of prominent graves on a noticeboard at the gate we had entered but quickly became confused by the layout.So we tried again at the main entrance and regretted not having some paper and a pen to write down the locations of the ones we wanted to see,e.g those listed above..
Not to be put off we
continued on our way but after not finding any of those we wanted to view we gave up as the afternoon was stretching on and we still wanted a final look at the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower before we headed back to the B&B after some dinner.
It had been an interesting walk amongst the avenues of grave sites even though we didn't get to see those we had come to see.And so we walked back to the subway and returned towards the Arc de Triomphe.
By the time we emerged like meerkats again from the underground the rain was threatening again but it held off long enough to allow us 20 minutes or so watching the tourists stand in all manner of poses and positions with the giant structure in the background.
As for the traffic,Gretchen thought she had it sussed out and had worked out that if a car was entering in from certain points they had right of way.And all this without the aid of traffic lights or policemen.
We were astonished as we watched an Asian family of 3 cross from the monument and somehow negotiated 5 or 6
lanes of traffic all whizzing around them and still made it to the pavement unscathed.Everyone else used the pedestrian underpass!
We also watched a couple of brave cycle rickshaw drivers with tourists enter the circle of motorised traffic and by some miracle or perhaps it was local rules that everything gave way to them with everything of course happening before our eyes at slow speed.
We then walked a short distance down to the River Seine and a look at the Eiffel Tower which by this time was partially obscured by misty rain.Then finally before we went back to the subway again we paid our respects at the Princess Diana memorial above the entrance to the car tunnel that she tragically died in.
We had decided on dinner at a restaurant near the Gare du Nord station for a couple of reasons.One was to check out the way to get to where the Eurostar departed from as tomorrow we head to England on the train.And secondly for old times sake from 4 years ago when we had a couple of memorable meals at the cluster of restaurants near the station.
We found a restaurant that had
a menu that suited us and enjoyed a meal before we checked out the Eurostar area of the station and then took another subway route that we had,'t travelled on before back to the station closet to our B&B.
While the weather had not played ball over the last two days we had got to get around the attractions we had not seen 4 years ago and we had finished up with two of those most famous and memorable sights,the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower and had not been disappointed.
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