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Published: June 23rd 2010
We went on that!
Great view from the top. It's only there a couple of times a year. Summer and Christmas I think.
Who'd have thought that only a year after first visiting it, I'd be back in Paris?! Where the first time I did all of the typical touristy things like the Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower I made a point of not repeating myself this time around. Paris is a city that has so much to do it's difficult to make a decision!
I began my trip by catching up with my lovely french friend Sylvain.
Sylvain and I met on the steps of the Sacre Coeur, perched on the top of the Montmartre hill. Whilst the inside of this catholic bascilica is worth a look and is known for having one of the worlds largest mosaics, it's the view from the steps outside which caught my attention. You can see across the city of Paris. I especially like this view at night, though you do need to be careful in that area on your own then. Montmartre is called the art district because of the many famous artists (eg. Dali and Van Gogh) who once painted there. Because of this lots of artists have set up their easles in a lovely little square with some great bars. Be warned
Cider in a coffee cup
Apparently it's how they drink it. I thought it was a bit odd when the coffe cup was placed in front of me. Not that I care what i drink cider from. it's YUM!
if you sit at a table outside though, you'll be approached by at least 6 portraitists and it can get very annoying.
From Montemarte we headed across town to the Monet gallery. It's fairly small but had a lot of the water lilly and bridge paintings. I hadn't realised that Monet had done quite so MANY of them! I guess if you keep churning out different versions of the same thing a couple of them are bound to be really good right? Wow, that sounds cynical, but the works on display at the gallery, whilst pretty, weren't actually anything particularly startling. And once you've seen 4 of the same thing, the rest get a bit pointless. The lower level of the gallery had some unusual expressionist painings though.
Despite being a cold and slightly damp day we went for a wander around the large garden, Bois de Boulogne. There were still plenty of glorious autumn colours and a few lakes which you kind of stumble across. What makes this park especially memorable was a dog which made us laugh. He was a gorgeous big black animal (possibly a laboradore?) with a penchant for carrying things around in his
All ready for Christmas.
mouth. He'd picked up a really long stick and was following his mistress down the narrow footpath when he noticed a tennis ball. He couldn't seem to decide which he wanted to carry more so he found a way to manouver it so he could fit both the tennis ball AND large stick in his mouth (despite having to stop every so often to readjust). So here he is with his mouth stuffed, heading joyfully down the path when a jogger appears heading in the other direction. The jogger doesn't see the large stick which stretches the full width of the path and very nearly trips right over it. May not sound funny in writing but it was hillarious. This dog had so much character he was great fun to follow through the park. And his owner hadn't noticed any of this, she just kept walking and chatting to her friend.
From the park its an easy walk to Palais de Chaillot which is an excellent spot from which to view the Eiffel tower. We tried to do the typical tourist thing and take a picture of me leaning on the tower, but it didn't really work. You feel
like a right idiot with your arm held up in the air! Hehe. There were also a group of dancing buskers there who were good fun to watch. From here we walked down past the eiffel tower and ended up on the Avenue des Champs Elysees. I've previously mentioned the fabulous christmas markets in every city in france but the one along the Champs Elysees is by far the best. There's everything from hand painted glass baubles (had to buy one!) to jewellery and hats (got a nice purple woolen one to keep my ears warm).
At La Concorde they had a big ferris wheel which reminded me of the London Eye but on a smaller scale. Sylvain and I took a ride at night and had the most perfect view of the Eiffle tower and along the Champs Elysees. I love the way one side is all white from the headlights and the other is all red from the tail lights.
Last time I left Paris with the burning desire to go to the Musee' D'Orsay because I love impressionist art, so that was the first gallery we headed to this time around. I was excited to
The dog with his giant stick. Sadly he was too quick for me to ever get a decent shot!
see Van Gough's Starry Starry Night again but sadly it was on tour! As were a couple of other famous paintings. The gallery itself was pretty cool, it's inside an old train station but some of the art wasn't quite what I'd hoped it would be. Not quite as impressionistic as I'd expected but perhaps that's because none of the best stuff was there!
Just before leaving Paris I went into the Paris Opera House which I had stupidly forgotten existed! (Luckily I'd been on a free walking tour earlier that day and they reminded me that it was the place where Phantom of the Opera was set. I highly recommend those free tours!) It is the most beautiful theatre I have ever seen. Smaller than I expected but lavish with its red velvet and gold everywhere. The curtain itself is actually painted onto wood but done very realistically. The entrance staircase is marble and made me wish I was wearing a fancy dress and going to a show in the old days. I'd love the sweep down the stairs with my skirts trailing. :D The ceilings were of course all painted too and had brilliant chandeliers. Incredible. Unfortunatelky
have we been here before? Yes! Only a year and a half ago! Never thought I'd be back so soon.
the dome in the theatre itself was painted recently and the modern bright style really didn't suit any of the things around it. That was the only part that really didn't work.
And that was Paris, from there I caught the Eurail to London and am now living in England. Think I'll be here for a couple of years.
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