— 17th July 2003
Some sights we saw while in Paris
- The Louvre
- Huge, huge, huge, wow, huge, enormous big U shaped building surrounding a square. There’s like a big glass pyramid in the middle and underneath a huge cavernous entrance area like an airport only with ticket offices and machines and huge queues. We got there fairly early, I can’t imagine what it’s like if you don’t. We went straight for the Mona Lisa and saw her and some more of Leonardo’s before the real crowds got there. It didn’t take long for them to arrive though. Still it was amazing due to the sheer size of the place it was still possible to find places in the museum where you were completely alone. Sadly the section with the Flemish and Dutch paintings in was closed - boo!
- Arc de Triomphe
- At the end of the (very long) Champs Elysee’ it was very big and grand and you could just pick out people walking along the top of it. It’s also in the middle of a lot of traffic so I think it requires a subway to get to. We did go that near though.
- Centre Pompidou
- Kind of behind some buildings off a main road it isn’t in a very grand location but it’s a wonderful building. Outside there’s a kind of sloping concrete area where lots of people were sat sunbathing and watching some street performers inside it’s cool and spacious and you have to go up and up on escalators (attached, in glass tubes, to the outside of the building) to get to the art galleries. The galleries themselves are big squared and modern. Around the outer rim it a very thin corridor between the wall of the gallery and the glass wall of the center itself. That was a nice touch and added to the airy relaxing atmosphere. The art was very varied and modern but there was no big famous paintings which (being lapsed in my art studies) I tend to enjoy the most these days.
- Sacre Coeur
- Big white basilica atop a hill to the north of the city. You can see it from various places in the city (we saw it from a big wheel near the Louvre) because mostly Paris is quite flat and not built very high. It’s up in Monmartre and we walked directly there from the hotel as it wasn’t far off. At the bottom of the hill was a little restaurant where some kind of French soap opera was being filmed and attracting quite a crowd. We climbed the hill, passed many many strategically positioned salesmen selling what looked like pieces of string and who were very insistent. While the building itself is undeniably beautiful the rampant commercialism both inside (10 euros to light a candle and make a prayer) and outside made the experience seem a little sad.
- The Eiffel Tower
- Mistakenly we didn’t make it to the tower until about mid-day and so by that time the whole world and his mother had arrived and started queuing up at one of the four legs. Some where queuing for the lifts and some for the stairs but we couldn’t face queuing and so didn’t end up gong up the tower. It was enormous though and very impressive to stand under. It’s nice to think that human beings built something so big and impressive for not really much reason (they were going to pull it down if it wasn’t for the fact they realised it was a good place to put TV aerials).
There’s more but that’s probably enough for now.