Sunday, October 21, 2007

We're Tourists

Here's a quick tour of Paris with Tonya, Morey and Janet. I'll have more photos later, but these are the ones for our families. And yes, my camera shy husband was with us on these tours.

On Thursday the 18th French transportation workers were on strike, so we walked all the way up to the Sacre Couer Basilica in Montmartre. We had lovely sun and not many fellow visitors.

The traffic was really light on the streets. I think everyone decided it was a holiday from work and stayed at home. Good thing we didn't try to go to museums - we heard afterwards that the Orsay was closed and so was most of the Louvre.

We'd heard riding the metro hadn't been so bad, so decided to chance it on Friday. Hmm. Got the first train okay, but the line we intended to transfer to was "perturbed" and then cancelled. Our second choice was also cancelled. A very sweet woman who worked for the metro told us what line to use instead so we did eventually make our way to Montparnasse, and started our tour at the cemetery. It's not as cool as Pere-Lachaise.

This is the tomb of Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. Why are people leaving metro tickets here as well as roses?

Next up, the Catacombs, where centuries worth of Parisian citizens were moved when the regular cemeteries started to cause health problems back in the late 1700's. It took decades to move the bones down into the former mines.

Riding the metro home was a chore. Fewer lines running and lots of people smashed into the cars. We let several go by before realizing it wasn't going to get any better and we just had to crush into everyone already on board. Not altogether pleasant, but my husband said it was like riding the metro in Cairo but without the heat and aroma.

The museums are open again and we were assured there wouldn't be any more closures by a helpful woman at the tourist office. So we joined hordes of people on Saturday to see the Mona Lisa at the Louvre.

Here's my uncle trying to get the best shot of a funerary monument:

We had blue skies so headed over to Notre Dame Cathedral, again with lots and lots of people. Waited in the cold shady side of the cathedral for about 45 minutes to climb all the way to the top. The stairs just about did me in (why is everyone compelled to go fast?) but I made it. Woohoo, gargoyles. My uncle taking a photo of me:

And me taking one of him:

Me again trying to get a shot of a gargoyle:

The streets were full of rugby fans of both persuasions (South Africa and England). Thought these English fans were a hoot. Now that the match is over, does this mean the fans will get home or just sleep at the railway stations for several days hoping that service gets back to normal soon.

Today is the Arche de Triumphe (agh, more stairs up to the top) and the Eiffel Tower. We have to take advantage of this chilly (51 degrees) but clear weather.

14 comments:

Tanya said...

Very interesting photos! It looks like you're having fun! Please find out why they leave those metro tickets! I thought it was only in Japan that the squeeze people onto the subway cars. (They're called packers and they really do pack the people in!)

Karen said...

Man, great gargoyles. It does look like fun. Your uncle looks like a great guy :-).

comicbooklady said...

Looks like you are having fun despite the inconveniences...and yes, why are they leaving tickets on the tombstones?

joyce said...

I never heard of tickets on tombstones either. I am very much enjoying your tours of Paris. We have to get back there somehow.

lovejoy said...

great pics and commentary!!!you're a match for your uncle.
can't wait to show you our mona lisa visit - will get working on it right now.

Sassenach said...

It's creepy to think that someday my bones may be dug up and stacked by category in an old mine...


Smile for the camera and say "cheese."

Brit said...

did you ever figure out the tickets? Maybe it's a pilgramage thing..like look how far I traveled?

Is the strike over?

Kathie said...

Hope you made it to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. The stairs about did me in but they really did in my travel companion who was so overcome by vertigo and claustrophobia on the steps that I thought we might have to airlift her down from the top. Things worked out but it was tense for awhile.

Sharon said...

I was just thinking about you in Paris the other day, as I was reading about the new thing there - renting bikes by the hour/day/week (velib). It was in the NY Times http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A01EED6113EF937A25753C1A9619C8B63 Looks like you sure could have used them on your touring day, huh? Love the hair and face paintings too!

Clare said...

Never been up to the top of the Arc so will you want to do it again in the Spring? Glad you finally made it to the top of Notre Dame. Do they still have a bowl for money for Quasimodo?

Metro tickets for Sartre and Beauvoir? Something to do with their way of thinking perhaps?

Keep having fun whilst the weather holds. First heavy frost last night, but now its gorgeous.

CraftyRachel said...

Beautiful photos, as always.

I'll have to ask around to get to the bottom of this metro ticket mystery. You'd think a department full of literary scholars could tell me, right? More to come!

Dawn said...

Your pics are very funny! I liked them! Just popping in to say hi!

Colleen Eskridge said...

Loved the new photos...and adore the little halloween quilt. I have gotten South American embroidered block closeups...hope to get on blog by Thursday.Have too much going on. Can't wait to see what you post next. Colleen

kimy said...

I visited jean-paul and simone's grave twice, but once saw a single rose and the other time a few roses - never any metro tickets. quite curious! inquiring minds do need to know!

thanks for bringing us along on your sightseeing trip! I do love paris - trite as it may sound.