Whirlwind Tour of Paris

Trip Start Apr 04, 2007
Trip End Oct 22, 2007

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Sunday, October 7, 2007

Paris, the City of Lights, what can we say...


Jam packed in an amazing two days, we scored an awesome deal arriving the day before the first Sunday of the month. For those of you considering visiting this fair and insanely over priced city of wonders, the first Sunday of the month is the 'free day' at many of the museums. As expected, chaos ensues.

We arrived in Paris via the super fast TGV trains, crossing a huge portion of the country in a measly three hours from Nimes. This is accomplished by giving up several limbs and your first born child for a ticket on these posh rail riders. We managed to navigate the metro and hauled all of our heavily laden bags to our hostel. It was fairly clean and nice, undergoing some renovations, but again with the exhorbinatly expensive for dorm beds. We moved into our room and were surprised that it just had two beds and an ensuite bathroom. Making the fatal error of trying to book more nights, the receptionist realized that she put us in the wrong room and we were then stuck in a multiple bed dorm with the increadibly wobbly dorm beds. We both were forced into narrow top bunks which had a swing radius of a few metres. Cutting our losses we decided to go see Paris.

Not too much of a walking distance away took us to Paris' Pantheon. At only 200 years old, it is a baby brother to the one in Rome boasting of a much 'newer' style. Beautiful in construction, the Pantheon has undergone a few different uses in it's relatively short existance but has become a dedication centre to St. Genivieve and a burial place for many of France's greatest thinkers, revolutionaries and warriors. The crypt below hosts names like Voltaire, Rousseau, Dumas, and Curie. Braille, whose name was written in his developed type, and Victor Hugo also rests in the simple yet beautiful crypt. The building above hosts paintings and statues, stories about St. Genivieve and Joan of Arc on it's walls, French revolution statues and a giant pendulum that demonstrated to early scientists Earth's rotation on its axis. We were also invited to play a science game that was going on on the front steps but apparently not being able to speak French made it a bit more challenging so we passed.

To finish off the sight seeing portion of the day we hit up the Notre Dame Cathedral. Again with the walking, Notre Dame sits beside the river and has attracted a wonderful array of street sellers along the river side, selling old books and magazines, street art, and souveniers. The cathedral itself is spectacular in it's detail. Gothic cathedrals display in many places in Europe, but we don't think any quite match up to Notre Dame's beauty. Covered in monstrous gargoyles and carvings of saints, we went inside to the remeniscent smell of incense and a soft red light that permeated the building through the stunning stain glass windows. It was very much in use as a church and every crevice is used for a simple and beautiful purpose. Dodging the gypsies outside and checking out the statue of the famous Charlamagne, we took a walk through the park at the back of the cathedral before heading back for some dinner.

Now, for those of you who are unawares, the Rugby World Cup is being held in France at the moment, and today was the quarter finals. We watched a surprising last 10 minutes of the Australia - England match with England taking it 12 - 10. The English themselves seemed surprised to come away with the win over the supposedly dominant Aussies, sending the Wallabies home early. Later that night was the much anticipated France - New Zealand match. Having beaten New Zealand in the Final of the last World Cup, this quarter final had NZ set to take it easily. We packed ourselves into a Pub filled with French, being the only cheering squad for the Kiwi's. Two stricken hours later we walked out of the pub not being able to believe that NZ lost to France 20-18 with the All Blacks and the Kiwi audience looking lost, confused, and hurting, but that's the way it goes. Our French Pub compatriots were very good winners and shook hands before we left the pub.

Still in disbelief, we've got heaps of Paris to see tomorrow, so off to bed with us.

All our best from France

Dan and Gabrielle
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