Friday, August 13, 2010

What To Do In Paris

Jim and Becky got back to the apartment first, so here is their day:  First we checked out BHV, the local department store that has a huge hardware store in its basement; sort of like Home Depot in a very old city.  Things and things and things are for sale.  We ate a sandwich on the 5th floor with great views towards the Seine. 

Next we took a cruise up the Saint Martin Canal 4.5 km for two hours that began in the old moat of the long gone Bastille, now Paris' Marina.  We rose in four double locks (about 80 total feet) and went through three turning bridges and one that lifted.  Many foot bridges passed inches above the people on the top level of the boat.  The cruise ended at Parc de La Villette, a site of a huge mirrored geodesic sphere, a submarine, the Science and Industry Museum, and many other gardens and buildings.

Our last adventure of the day was a metro ride away to the Basilique du Sacre Coeur.  We saw it from afar nine years ago, but climbed all the steps and toured the inside today despite the crowd of tourists.  It is free to pass quietly through its side aisles.  Perhaps many tourists go there to sit on the steps which are reminiscent of the Spanish Steps in Rome and enjoy the view of the city.

Or you could walk, like the rest of us, from our apartment in The Marais to Notre Dame, passing the Pompidou Centre, a building that was built inside out.  Everything that is usually hidden, like the plumbing, is featured all around the outside.  It is strange to see an inside out elevator. 

After feeding tiny birds from your hands, you could then walk to the Louvre and spend the next three hours seeing everything possible.  After you walk through the Jardin des Tuileries, which is next to the Louvre, stop for a bite to eat at a table under an umbrella where a woman might exhibit a phobia of birds.  Continue to walk all the way down the Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe, where you can see some military exercises.

Lastly, you could walk to the Eiffel Tower where only two of us (John and Austin ) had the energy to take the stairs up to the second level.  Finally, catch a taxi with a driver that combines speed and agility at the wheel with a lively vocabulary and the hand and arm gestures to match.  Kathy

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