Sept 29-Oct 1
According to the October 2011 publication of “Europe on a Shoestring”, Paris had a population of 2.21 million. And I feel pretty certain that many of them were trying to take the metro [subway] with us one evening. We waited for two long and packed trains to go by before we decided to cram -quite literally- onto the third one. City people have a different personal-space bubble than country-folk.
Luckily, we had decided to rent a flat for the weekend in a suburb of Paris. For those of you who know the area, we stayed in Le Kremlin-Bicitre, Ile-de-France,a short 10-15 minutes by metro to the city center.
Really, what we did in Paris was figure out how to get where we were staying, figure out how to purchase groceries-grateful that we could cook in a flat and relax!- figure out how to take the metro from where we were staying, and then we got ourselves to a few iconic places.
I don’t know why this is famous other than it’s in a scene in a Jason Bourne movie. So we went there to take a photo, because I LOVE the Bourne trilogy [which, really, now is a.. quadrupoly? But having not seen the 4th one yet, I’m okay calling it a trilogy].
Walk the promenade along the Seine River.
It’s a very lovely stroll along the river. Everything is new, so everything was interesting. There is plenty to look at: house boats, people, books being sold [by the river? I don’t know, but it seems cool], buildings with a lot of gold stuff on them, fancy sculptures, and things like that.
Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. This is a very cool arch that is quite close to the Louvre. We enjoyed sitting nearby with an espresso and kind of contemplating that we were in Paris.
Eiffel Tower. It was everything it’s cracked up to be. Gargantuan amazing mass of creatively constructed architecture. Really. We gazed at it from various areas around the city. Since we disembarked the metro so far away from the Eiffel tower, we really got a lot of good views as we walked towards it along the Seine. When we finally got there we took a lot of photos and contemplated going up, but the line was way too long that evening. I think it’s interesting, the draw to view iconic places, because you get there and it’s like, “Oh! Everyone else from every other country also is interested in seeing this thing!”. A curious reality. It also got me thinking; we have this idea of a place in our heads long before we arrive. And, at least for me, I’m noticing that the idea in my head is of an older, purer, more nostalgic place. The Eiffel tower in my head is from like, the early 1900’s [built in 1889 for the World Trade Fair]. I see it as a calm placefrom the past. Yet, now, throngs of people go there to see it -and many other iconic places- every year. Why is that such a strange thing? What would the others say if interviewed as to why they chose to come see the Eiffel Tower? Now THAT would be interesting.
The Louvre. “You just can’t do it in a day”… Again. Unless that’s all you’re going to take, in which case, you most certainly can do it in a day. Maybe “you can’t do it justice in a day”, but it is what it is, and it happens to be in a HUGE city and I am getting pretty close to my cap on maneuvering in a completely foreign language in an over sized city.
This museum really is incredible. I don’t even want to attempt to describe it because I know I would come short. Instead, stay tuned for a pictorial blog with short captions along the way!