Well I got up Saturday all in a rush to get to the pick up point for my trip to Monet’s Garden. Arrived at the tourisme office, checked in… and was told I was a day early. Doh. So I thought I’d take a bit of a stroll since I was up and about. I eventually got back to the apartment 13 km later.
First stop was the outside of the Palace of the Louvre, which of course is now a museum, one of the largest in the world I’m told. Just a short perambulation through 22km of galleries. No I didn’t go in, it’s funny I don’t seem so much to want to go inside. Not even to use the metro. I’m happy outside in the sun walking and walking and watching and walking. And stopping to drink expensive Perrier while watching… people as well as cool clouds, I do like the clouds.
And I like the glass pyramid.
Then it was a walk along memory lane, also known as Rue de Rivoli to see the hotel I stayed in 19 years ago (and couldn’t afford now) and to have brunch (is it still brunch at 3pm?) and hot chocolate at Angelina’s.
Internally fortified I wandered into the Jardine des Tuileries where 19 years ago I said to a huge security guard who was trying to close the park and yelled something at me in French, “I am sorry I don’t speak English”… There are more fences and bollards than I remember. The redaction of memory or anti-terror measures? Anyway I walked up to something new, the Paris Eye. Cheap and no line so on I hopped. The gardens you can see are the Jardine des Tuileries looking back at The Louvre. Love those gates.
And of course at the top you see the icons of Paris. Saturday is Sacré-Cœur.
Then into the Place de la Concorde and the site of madame la guillotine. Had to laugh when the driver back from Monet’s Garden on Sunday said that Cleopatra’s Needle was “gifted” by the Egyptian people to Napoleon! Gifted, haha.
I wonder, is this the only (well there are three Cleopatra’s needles so clearly she was quite the sewer), but is she the only woman to have a civic phallus named for her? All the others I can think of are for men, who in the words of Shrek, may have been compensating for something? Men conquer, women sew and sit in fountains, sigh.
Leaving Place de la Concorde I walked, turned in the general direction of home and walked.
And then I turned a corner into a square that I instinctively knew I couldn’t afford. Not just the stores, but the sleek black limousines, with sleek black suits standing ready. The buff tight black t-shirts with ear pieces, their eyes roaming every corner and watching every walker, especially those short ones lurking with massive camera lenses… compensating you ask again? Yes I had wandered unknowing into Place Vendome and I was standing outside the Ritz Carlton. Here began the last few moments of the life of Dianna Princess of Wales.
Felt like I needed to walk out with the normal folk for a while! Ended up going through Pyramides and into the garden of Le Palais Royal which was full of children climbing and playing football and generally lots of fun.
And then I wandered out into the middle of a pop-up Chamber Orchestra outside La Comedie Francaise. Too much fun, so I sat with a water and watched. Can’t upload the video here so you’ll need to look at it on my Facebook.
By then I was pretty shattered so I walked home. Must have been tired because I gave a guy 10 Euro to do a charcoal sketch that no one will EVER see. You live and perhaps never learn.
So long as we learn to look up. Look up, even if you trip you’ve seen the glories of the heavens – natural and constructed.