Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Sunday, 15th October – Paris

A very fun morning – at a laundromat (Keith) and an Internet Café (Shelley). Both of us had complications – too boring to write here, but the exercise took all morning. Still, the clothes needed cleaning, bills at home needed paying, and we had to update this blog.

We spent the afternoon at the Musée D’Orsay, which houses French Art from 1848 to 1914, picking up where the Louvre leaves off. It showcases the development of impressionism, post-impressionism and contains some very famous works, such as Manet’s 'Déjeuner sur L’Herbe' and Renoir’s 'Dancing at the Moulin de la Galette'. It is housed in a converted railway station, and it is worth visiting just to see the building itself. We stayed till they threw us out at closing time, we could have stayed a lot longer.

The time had come to visit Paris’s most famous landmark – the Eiffel Tower. We had been waiting for a clear day (the weather has been great, but there seems to be a constant haze) but decided we’d better just go in case the weather got worse. Also we reasoned the crowds might be less if the conditions weren’t great (ha!). Perhaps the crowds were less than usual, but we still had to wait an hour for the lift. We were hoping to get to the top in daylight and watch the city lights come on, but by the time we got to the top it was dark. However Paris at night from 900 feet is something to behold.

We spent time on each of the three levels, which offer different views and also exhibitions about the tower itself. It is an amazing structure, stunningly beautiful, in an industrial kind of way. It’s much bigger than you expect, and quite an engineering marvel in its day. By the time we got to Level 1 the crowds had disappeared and we sat and had a cuppa with Paris at our feet.

By the way, 900 feet is very very high! And as you may know I (Shelley) am not very fond of high places. All the way up in the lift I was asking myself why??? But I was in Paris, so I just had to do it. And when I got to the top I was so mesmerized I forgot to be afraid, possibly assisted by the fact that you can’t see the ground from there. And when we got down to the second level it didn’t seem very high at all.

Back on earth we wanted to try to get a good photo of the tower at night, so wandered across the river to the Trocadero. There we found 2 Jamaican men (? buskers) conducting a sing-along of Beatles songs with a group of people sitting on some steps with a wonderful view of the Eiffel Tower. We joined them for a while – it was somewhat surreal to be singing in English with Jamaicans in Paris.