Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Paris 2008 - 14 Mai
14 Mai - We were up and about by 10h00 today (yes, even me). Though we didn't get started doing anything until around 12h30 or so. Robb wanted to go to a Geox shoe store. We checked the internet and found the closest one was in the Opéra area in which we were just yesterday. So walked down, grabbed the bus and rode to the Palais Royal again. But this time, instead of walking all the way up to the Opéra, we grabbed the 27 bus and rode up. The good news is, there was a Geox at the address we had. The bad news is that it was just the corporate offices. It was in the same building as Celio, so we wandered in there. We each bought a nice belt.
After leaving Celio, my first thought was to have lunch at Café de la Paix, even though it's a really touristy place, but after checking the ridiculous prices, we changed our minds. We were approached by an English girl who thought we were French. She was looking for Notre Dame. She evidently wanted to walk and it really is close enough to do that, but she wasn't sure where she was. When I pointed out that the Louvre was just at the end of the street, she seemed to get her bearings and, thanking us, took off.
We started after her down the street but stopped at a sidewalk sandwich stand, got a sandwich and then sat at a table at the café next door, where we ordered a café.
After the light lunch, we walked down toward the Louvre, stopping once to take a picture of a fountain. There are two fountains, actually, one on each side of the street. I had taken a picture of the other fountain yesterday. Then, at Robb's urging, I took a picture of all the motorcycles parked around the fountain. I stopped a couple blocks later to get this picture of Place Vendôme, a few blocks away.
We were going to walk through the Louvre (there is a street that runs through the center), but then I saw the sign for the Carrousel du Louvre, and we figured we would go in, have a look around and get a cool drink. Not many people know of this entrance to the Louvre, most think that one must enter through the Pyramid. This entrance brings you in to a place where you can see the upside-down Pyramid (if you remember the DaVinci Code). This entrance also brings you in through the Carrousel which is like a mini-mall with all kinds of stores. I saw this interesting display of fossils in the window of one store. Then we walked through the room which contains a remnant of the original wall that surrounded the city of Paris back when it was first built. We ended up at the restaurant area and stopped to get an Orangina and sit by the railing overlooking the upside-down pyramid. It was great for people watching.
We left the Louvre by the entrance through which we had entered and continued our trek through the courtyard, where I stopped to take this picture of the Pyramid. Then we left the Louvre and walked along the Seine. I took this picture of l'Institute de France, the body entrusted with the preservation of the French language. I followed that with this picture of le Pont des Arts, which is usually full of people doing all kinds of things when the weather is good. Next, I took this picture of le Pont Neuf and Ile de la Cité. The green area in front of the island is the Point Vert, a little park, in which we will be going to a picnic in a couple of weeks. In the background to the left of the picture, you can see a couple of pointy turrets; that is the Conciergerie where Marie Antoinette awaited her fate after the revolution. Then I spotted Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois, which is just opposite the eastern side of the Louvre.
We walked down to the Pont Neuf, where I stopped to take this picture of the crazy motorcyclists riding in the middle of the traffic, then we walked midway to the entrance to the Point Vert. While we were checking that out, it started thundering, so we headed back to get the bus before the rain came. We didn't make it. We were only about half-way back to the street when the rain began. Luckily, I thought, I had brought my umbrella, but the damned thing wouldn't open correctly and I had to hold it open. We made our way to the Pont Neuf métro station and ducked inside just as the real downpour began.
The rain only lasted ten minutes or so, and then we set off to find the bus, which I thought would be on rue de Rivoli, but I forgot that rue de Rivoli is one way in the wrong direction at that point. So then, I figured we had to go back to the street along the quai. We walked down there, but the only bus stop I saw was for several buses, but not the 69. I thought we were going to have to walk further down the quai, but Robb somehow spotted another bus stop next to the one I saw, and that was the right one.
We hopped aboard the bus which showed up almost immediately, happy to be safe from any remaining showers that might happen along. None did. The 69 bus passes the Bastille both going and coming. It stopped in the perfect spot for me to shoot this picture of the Opéra Bastille.
We got off a stop before our regular stop because I wanted to stop and buy another umbrella, having deposited the other one in the first trash container I found after leaving the Pont Neuf métro station entrance after the rain had subsided. I got my umbrella and we continued back to the apartment. It began raining lightly, just as we were almost there. The rain continued pretty much for the rest of the night.
Plus à venir, mes amis.