Wandering through Paris

I love Paris. It’s a city that celebrates learning, thinking,subversive ideas and the enjoyment of life. So unlike Sydney.

We began this very sunny Sunday with a walk through the Sorbonne, France’s premier university, up to the Pantheon, the resting place of famous French men and women, including Victor Hugo and Madame Curie. Unfortunately, the massive classical domed building was closed for renovations. So we walked back down the hill towards the Notre Dam and our next stop Sainte Chapelle.

This small chapel, located with the Palace of Justice (courts) has a beautiful and colourful interior and exquisite stained glass windows on the top level.

From Sainte Chapelle we continued walkin along the Ile de la Cite to the Ile St Louis, taking the time to admire the wonderful views of the Seine river. Amongst the line of tourist oriented shops we even found the small store selling the van Gogh cushion covers and umbrellas from our honeymoon trip to Paris.

Crossing to the Right Bank and into fashionable (and Jewish and gay) Marais where we visited the Musee de Picasso. Following the development of the artist’s work was inqteresting, especially his deconvolutions of the female form.

Refueled with a tuna baguette from a little boulangerie decorated with little fairies we then walked along the Seine and past the pet (beautiful dogs) and flower shops. We decided not to enter the Louvre due the long queues and the fact we were enjoying the outdoors too much. Instead we walked along the Jardin (garden) des Tuileries, watching the yellow autumn leaves drift to the ground.

Crossed back over the river for a quick visit to the top level of the Musee d’Orsay (museum passes are great!) to admire the impressionists. Then back again to the Right Bank.

Unfortunately, the recently partly reopened glass Grand Palace was available for viewing only in conjunction with the special exhibitions on show. So we continued walking up the Champs Elysees with the intend of viewing Paris by night from atop the Arc d’Triomphe. The only problem was that it was still light.

A trip to Sephora on the Champs Elysees fixed that. The shop is full of the latest perfumes and cosmetics and very strange people who will help you select them. My legs were very sore by the time we got out, a bit poorer, but I had my revenge when, a few metres away, I discovered a FNAC store with a good selection of hard to get and limited edition soundtracks.

By this time it was dark outside. The view from atop the Arc d’Triomphe and its hundreds of steps was fantastic. The Eiffel Tower was lit up by sparkling lights, while a searlight rotated around the top like a lighthouse. The strobes switched off after 8pm, so were were lucky that we hadn’t arrived later. We watched cars drive like dodgem cars at a fair as they attempted to negotiate the big roundabout that circles the Arc.

It was very late by the time we returned to the Latin Quartier. We had another 3 course meal, a very slow one as our waiter was too busy flirting to serve. A small blemish on an otherwise wonderful and romantic day in Paris.

I love this city.

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