Sunday, 17 July 2011

honeymoon part 2: Paris

When we made it off the train in to Paris I was far more relaxed. there were no more possible delays, our only remaining transport was in the hands of eurostar and dear old British rail. We found our way out to the worlds longest taxi queue, which also wins the award for worlds fastest moving taxi queue. We went on a hairpin backstreet one way street ride to our flat in the 3ieme which was a tiny tiny studio, with amazing use of space. seriously, go look.

We were there for 5 days, and we did a lot of walking, even after we bought 5 day passes to the metro. They are well worth the money, get one if you go. is the first time I've done much travelling on public transport on holiday, I've not felt particularly safe on them before, but this was fine.

We passed Notre Dame several times on our wanders, impressive inside and out but so swamped by tourists that we never spent long there. The first of my dreams to visit viewpoints and take photos from high up, crushed cruelly by large queues of chinese tourists. dreams aside, it was a beautiful building inside. amazing

We happened to wander to the arc de triomphe just as they were raising this massive French flag.

On morning we went up to Montmartre, made it up to the hill to Notre Dame, to see the early morning views over the city. Just in time, also, for a frenchman to get his head in my photo.

We'd read about the insitut du monde arabe being one of the great free viewpoints of the city, and we managed to find it one day. its an amazing building, the whole side below is glass fronted, and split into panels. Within each panel are hundreds of contracting mechanisms which control the amount of sunlight going into the building. just as stunning from inside when you can see the mechanisms.

Theres a cafe at the top too, when you reach the free view!

I built a journey around going to this metro station, since I had seen it on Little Brown Pen. It was redesigned in a steampunk style based around Jules Vernes work. Absolutely amazing, its clad in copper, the seats are wood, and every so often there are portholes in the wall with museum artefacts in from the arts et metiers museum above it.

We went on one of the boat tours up the Seine. you can hop on and off all day, but we just did one long course of the river, starting just before Notre Dame and going to the Eiffel Tower. James enjoyed it for seeing the underside of the bridges, odd man, and I enjoyed all the views.

These last two are from the tuileries gardens, and one of the old shopping arcades that have been restored. 

I loved Paris, and I'm glad I've been, but I didn't find it as amazing as it always sounds. If I went back, I think I'd go with friends, and do different things. I'd like to see the massive Monets in the orangerie, and wander and drink coffee and not feel the compulsion to have to see everything. We went to the eiffel tower three times thinking we might go up, and every time the queues were horrendous. so I have lots of pictures from the bottom, but none from any level above that. We went at night once though, as very hour the whole tower lights up like a sparkler for 3 minutes. that was worth seeing.

(what a misery I sound! I did love it, it just wasnt earth shatteringly, mind blowingly awesome. And I'd rather be honest)