Saturday, August 30, 2014

7/31/14 Day 196 Paris, France-City of Romance

Arriving near nightfall our host David took; Celeste Kevin and I to the busy tourist filled Sacre Coeur for a refreshing beer and panorama of the city We watched fire dancers spin flames, immigrants pushing cold refreshing beers sold illegally by the bottle and laser pens prompted into the hands of souvenir seeking tourists. It is the last day of July, and we are in Paris! After moving the car out from within the ring road and ticket zone, we strutted out into the wafting smell of crêpes and baguettes and continued right on into the depths of the metro system only to be spit out a few hundred yards from the Arc De Triomphe. The cost to get up to the top is a staggering 10 euros for a less than thrilling view, so we decided to head to the famous Notre Dame Cathedral instead. The line for free admission was long but moved very fast and the gargoyles are still animated despite their decrepit aging. The views of the back from across the river are my absolute favorite with showy flying buttresses to sandwich and cement the massive church together. We wound our way through the narrow food dominated streets, with fresh baked bread in the boulangeries, Nutella filled goodness at the creperies and all of the macaroons we can handle in the patisseries. Celeste Kevin and I had a lovely dinner featuring Steak au Poivre (pepper sauce) and an escargot seasoned with pesto with a creamy creme brûlée! With our stomachs stuffed full of bite sized morsels and the daylight fading fast it was time to head towards the iconic Eiffel Tower. Apparently not the only tourists in town desiring an Eiffel Tower sunset picnic dinner we squeezed our way amongst the hundreds of people already hunkered down in the grass wine bottles in hand, and Brie smothered crackers in the other. The sunset turned out perfectly with the tower's dazzling twinkle of lights to follow up the cover of night (patently it twinkles hourly). Our next two days were passed wandering the streets in search of the best crepe in the city, (a clear winner to the apple compote crepe we had the second night) while admiring graffiti by Space Invader an artist who mosaics colored tiles and plasters his creations across the city. Our Friday night was spent at the Louvre where after 18:00 students are admitted for free. Not personally for me, as interesting as the museums in Madrid, but very nice architecture to house the museum. Most everyone who attends is interested inane thing, the Mona Lisa, with directions mapped from all corners of the museum so you always know which direction to head towards it (or in our case always heading away from the traffic!) So you can't even get near it, not to mention there is a secure velvet rope keeping sticky fingers at least 15 feet away from the piece, and then it is actually enclosed in a glass case, and to top it off, sometimes the masterpiece on display is actually a duplicate copy to thwart thieves, so it's possible you are marveling at a high quality print when all is said and done. We visited the famous lock bridge and only after visiting the second day did we realize there are actually two bridges completely smothered in pads locks, bike locks, turtle locks and many adorable heart locks. We also learned that the locks don't last long as they take off some of the panels every 3 months to make room for new locks and to be melted into one giant lock eventually. The whole charm of the locks is that you lock up your love and throw away the key, seems like a bit of a death sentence for romance to me, (when it may only last 3 months before being melted down) but Celeste, Kevin and I nuzzled our lock into a cozy location next to an American flag padlock regardless. 

View from Sacre Coeur
Arc De Triomphe

The Paris beach?

A very cool museum turned inside out architecturally
Water fountain
The famous Notre Dame

This bridge was tolled for a number of years and when the financial goal was finally met the city partied for free for three days, a sculptor then caught these expressions in stone forever to be sculpted on the bridge. 
The Louvre

The Mona Lisa (or the duplicate, who knows)

Sculptures galore from the main shopping plaza
Space Invader

Babar Is from France!

Fresh made crepes
Pesto escargot

Macaroons of every flavor 

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