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.