Monday, September 5, 2016

A weekend in Paris

I forgot to mention last blog a bit about our train ride to our apartment.  We stopped at a station and on jumped 8 soldiers in to different carriages. They were fully equipped and ready for any action. One was right near us.  It was a little confronting to have an assault weapon that close, knowing that it was loaded (in locked position no doubt) but ready to do what was necessary in a split second.
After a couple more stations, they hopped off to get on another train.  Felt secure with them about, that's for sure.
I mentioned yesterday about our apartment lift being small.  Here it is.

I was squashed in the corner taking this photo.  Limit of 3 people, (225kg) but I'm not sure where the 3rd person would fit.

We headed to the "Chic" dining strip for dinner. Just around the corner. Most people were dining outdoors to watch the world go by, or to smoke, or to enjoy the warm weather. Well, we just watched the world go by and enjoyed the weather.  This district (7th) is fairly wealthy and very "happening". Mojitos were very nice (not quite as good as Mozzies) €7 each.  
Our waitress spotted us as being English speaking and replied to our mangled French greeting with  fluent English. Made life easier.  Very pleasant evening. We even recognised some of the French wines from the Loire Valley.
We strolled back to get a night view of the Eiffel Tower.  On our way, some Italian tourists stopped us to ask where the nearest metro station was.  Fortunately for them, they spoke a little English and we could show them on the map.
Whenever you see the ET, it still looks amazing.

It was a warm night but we both slept pretty well, being back in a full sized bed.
Reenergised to hit the streets today.  In fact, it was back on bikes to do a Fat Tires Bike Tour around Paris.
Heaps of Australians doing these tours today.
The Ecole Militare was our first stop.  King Louis 15 (the fun King)was known for his extravagance and hundreds of mistresses.  The head mistress suggested Louis give something back to the people by building a Military School where the poor could enter to become Officers.  He agreed, but wouldn't pay for it.  She paid for it (she was exceedingly wealthy in her our right).  Napoleon trained there to become an Officer, the school's greatest soldier.
It became headquarters for the Gremans in WW2 after Germany occupied France.  It is still used for military purposes so not open to the public.

Onto Louis(14)'s own church. He was 5 years old when he became King.  Another massive build, it took about 30 years, with 15kgs of gold on top.
It was pilfered during the French Revolution, but reinstated in 1989.  The 7th districts residents were taxed for it.
Louis (16) had this built for returned war veterans. The Invalides.  He wasn't really concerned for their welfare, he really wanted to keep them hidden away, to prevent low morale amongst the community.
Th King Louis's ( several of them) were all a bit loopy.
Louis 16th was married to Marie-Antoinette.  They were both beheaded in the square below where the Obelisk now stands.  It was known as Revolution Square for many years.  This square is also the finishing line for the Tour de France.  The winner get to stay at the Hotel in the background for a week. The Presidential suite of course.  About €10,000 a night.  Lance Armstrong stayed there 7 times.  After he was outed as a drug cheat, the hotel sent him a bill for back payment.  They are still waiting for the cheque to arrive.
We stopped in Tuileries Gardens for lunch.  Plenty of people about, just enjoying the day, sitting around the fountain, etc.  It is now a quieter time, July was the peak for tourism, but it is estimated to have been down by 50% this season, probably due to terrorism fears.
Below is the Arc of triumph that Napoleon and his army rode through on the return to Paris after victory.  The Arc de Triomphe was commissioned for this purpose, but it was never going to be completed on time because Napoloen wanted something very grand and he won the war too soon.  So had to settle for a lesser Arc for his victory march.
The Louvre below, was once the Kings Palace, but he took over the Palace of Versailles, because it was grander than this Palace.  The Louvre is a Museum which we will visit tomorrow.  Nicola, our guide showed us the "other" entrance which hardly anybody uses because they don't know about it.  No queues.  9.00am sharp tomorrow.

A ride back along the Seinne River
You can see the water mark on the bridge just above my head.  That was where the river level got to earlier in the year, when half of Paris flooded.
Shortly we will head out to a dining experience on the Seinne.  
Bon Soir.


  1. Love the pictures and the food - keep the pictures coming. H

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