Trip Start Aug 23, 1996
582Trip End Ongoing
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On the 1st of the new year, I was speaking to Lucy and we agreed that she hadn't skated enough in the past year. There was only one thing we could do, so I jumped on the web, and within 5 minutes, I had a train and hotel booked, and on the Saturday we would be heading off to Paris. As it had been two years since we had been, it would be nice to go back.
It's actually not a bad drive from Calais to Paris, and a couple of hours later, we were parked up and on a train into the centre. I had booked a room ten minutes out from the centre for a bargain of a price. After a quick bite, we went to the Hotel de Ville as this is where the best rink is. Now in Hyde Park in London, you pay £12.50 for an hour of skating. In Paris, if you have your own skates, it's free and you can stay on as long as you like. Lucy however wasn't ready to skate so we walked over to Hotel Invalides as there is a church with Napoleon's tomb in it, but there was one problem, it was closed !!! Oh well, such is life.
At this point, Lucy left me to go skating, and I headed over to my next stop.
Now I have never been to the d'Orsay as I've never found the time, but this was the main reason for me coming here. Basically, it's an old railway station that was built in the 1900's and converted into a museum in 1986. The best thing about museums/galleries in France, is that the buildings themselves are great to look at. The Louvre is a classic example of this, and this place doesn't disappoint. I climbed all over the different levels checking out the paintings and scultures. There were a couple of rooms dedicated to the Art Deco movement, complete with furnishings. I wandered around for hours, leaving the best till last. Gaugin, Van Gogh and Monet. All the works were beautiful. I was getting into it, and then the text came through from Lucy. Now I know that I swear a bit, but fuck me, I can't write what she wrote. Basically it was beep, beep, beeeeep beeeeep beep. She wasn't happy, so we met up and took a walk to calm her down !!!
Tower of Gustave
All roads lead to the Eiffel Tower. Been here loads, climbed many times, and when in Paris, we always come here. Times are a changing however. Normally, as soon as you walk near it, you are surrounded by Africans trying to flog you minature towers, but now the sellers are from the Sub-Continent. It must have something to do with cheaper labour !!! As a couple walked past, I gave them a Namaste, and they replied. I then dazzled them with all my Punjabi/Hindi that I knew. We had a laugh and I asked them what they were doing here. Apparently, they were illegals, and like all good illegals, they were on their way to the UK !!! After much walking, we died very quickly.
The Next Day
Lucy wanted to go skating early, so I dumped her there and I headed over to what is most probably the greatest known museum/gallery in the world.
This is a place that you need to spend days in. I have done this before and also gotten lost !!! I had come back because I knew I could get in for free, and the officials didn't stop me !!! I walked around, enjoying the Greek sculptures, the Michelangelo ones were lifelike, Venus de Milo was covered in tourists as to be expected !!! I followed the crowds and ended up at the Mona Lisa. It always amuses me that it draws such big crowds !!! Is it the real one ??? Compared to the last time I was here, Madonna on the Rocks was now surrounded by people as well. Realistically, more people watch movies than read books, so it's amazing how a movie can change the popularity of a painting !!!
This time, I did not get lost, and I made it back to watch Lucy skate. Fuck I'm good sometimes !!!
Then it was time to leave Paris, so we grabbed the car and hit the Paris ring road.
90K's later, we arrived in a town, which according to a book called 1000 things to see before you die, has the third largest Cathedral in the world, and as we had seen the first two, it would be rude not to go.
You can't miss this Cathedral as you drive into the town. It's so big it stands out like dog's balls !!! We only had a small amount of time, so this was all we could see. Now I could bore you all and write twelve entries about the Cathedral, being a good plagiarist as others would do, but this is not my style, so here is a wiki link instead !!! I will say this, when you enter, the floor was sloped, not very good work by the floor layers in my opinion !!! The stained glass windows were old and impressive. We had a walk around the outside, and like most good buildings, it was covered in scaffold !!!
Then it was time to go.
We drove the 370K's back to Calais, and for once, we made our train. Actually, I had to speed to get there, but I wasn't caught, and that is the main thing !!!
Paris, some love it, and some hate it. I love it. There is something about the Parisian lifestyle. Can't explain it, you need to try it. But I do know this. I will be back because I just can't keep away from Paris.