26 July 2006

A lazy day in Paris

Hotel music and people chatting in the lobby.

This trip has been my first operating trip to Paris, the one I wrote about in my last entry was taken on my 4 requested days off. I was called off standby for it which I didn't mind but it meant that I wouldn't be able to meet one of my friends in London. Anyway I had a wonderful day.

Since I didn't go inside last time my first stop was Notre-Dame. Out front these kids were feeding sparrows from their hands, very cute.

I shelled out 5euro for the audio guide and listened to all sorts of things about the cathedral I didn't know - like one of the oldest tombs is the most modest one and quite easy to overlook, that the cathedral fell into ruin at one stage and Victor Hugos ¨Hunchback of Notre-Dame¨ while exciting controversy, brought attention to the cathedral once again and saved it and that over 12 million visitors come every year. It also explained the significance of its layout, the stories behind famous round windows and sculptures in the portals on the facade. Although there were signs saying photography wasn't allowed tourists everywhere were posing for photos all over the place, in such a disrespectful manner and while I sometimes do take photos inside churches and cathedrals I didn't feel right to take photos here.

From there I i walked to the Louvre where I wanted to see that Da Vinci's smiling lady but it so happens that on Tuesdays the Louvre is closed...Oh well, next time maybe (I love being able to say that so simply *grin*). I sat to the side of the square and watched people taking photos infront of the glass pyramids, kids playing while their parents took respite in the shade and sellers lugging around buckets of ice and water bottles.

A lazy walk through the park infront of the Louvre (Jardin Du Carrousel) took me past the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel (a smaller version of its famous brother), to the Obelisk and down Ave Des Champs Elysees till I found a nearby metro stop.

The Metro is very easy to navigate and efficient like that of London, so a short ride later and I found myself in the Jardin Du Luxembourg. Its not a typical 'site' of Paris to see but my friend recommended it and it definitely fell within the lazy day category. The garden forms the grounds of the Palais du Luxemborg which was built for the widow of Henri IV but she was banished before its completion and its had many uses since including an air raid shelter built under the gardens themselves. Anyway the gardens cover 60 acres of land and are beautiful. They have everything from tennis courts, horse rides, kids playgrounds, outdoor cafes, a bee-keeping school, puppet theatre to large man-made ponds with toy boats floating around. Being a sunny day the lawns were covered with people stretching out in the sun or settling down for a chat. Naturally these were my kind of people so I pulled up a patch of grass and stretched out myself.

As the sun began to sink and I began the long trip back to the hotel feeling well and truly lucky.


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