Tuesday, 1 October 2013

13th-14th August - Paris itself

Getting into the Arsenal looked pretty tricky, nowhere to wait, you cross all the downstream lane, and blow me if there isn't a little tuppaware boat just come to enter from downstream (must be a hire boat!), but luckily the great Bateaux Mouche that whizz in, out, up and down, turn around there.  So we've called the Capitaine, Bruno, who always says it's fine, and the green light means "go for it!".  Just as we storm forwards a police boat flies towards us, what?  Oh, I see, they have their little floating police station on my right, so he just ignores my sluggish craft, I don't/can't hit him, and we aim to follow the fibreglass boat into the lock.  Oh but the noise!  What is that?  It seems they've decided August is a good time to pressure blast off all the dirt on the brickwork here, so we are deafened, cannot communicate.  The lock has two floating bollards, one the plastic boat has taken, and the others is too far back for us.  Enough talk, our mooring is lovely, when we get there:
 Then we go inside the boat to let Bollinger out.  Oh dear, he's not there.  Where can he have gone?  Bother, the bow window was open, maybe he jumped out right at the start of the marina, when I had to go into the Capitaine's office to show my documents & find out where we can moor?  Nik runs down that way, I get on my bike and pedal after her.  She finds Bolly by the building, coming out from the bushes, and now here comes a nice black Parisian cat he's made friends with.  So it's true what they say about this city!!
Well the first item you come to, just a boulanger away, is Notre Dame de Paris, on the Ile de la Cite:
One of the best (but in August lots are closed) boulangers is on the first island, where our friend the first mayor of Paris lived.  We walk this way often during the two nights/3 days here.  There is some huge structure inhabiting the square in front of the Cathedral, an exhibition that is closed for now, and a huge staging for a son et lumiere.  The queue to get in his huge - no that's just for the tower.  The rest of the square and adjacent street is the queue for ND proper - impossible!  I say, don't let's bother with that rot, I know a much better place - so we go to see Saint Chapelle, inside the Palais de Justice.  The queue here is very short, despite an exhaustive bag search.  They let me keep my tiny Votorinx knife, but insist on emptying my hip flask out "Is it alcohol?"  "Of course, rather nice"  They said they couldn't drink it - well one said later he'd like to, but not here, not on duty!  Anyway, it was all worth it I think you'll agree:
I know this place from my time in Rueil, but while it looks good here there is much evidence of the years since, like me did you say?  Lots more pix, I told you I love it:
These are both of the lower chapel, more earthly and I feel more red (oh hell) but that can't be!  Upstairs they were restoring the stained glass, so hard to get the best shot, but here's an idea:
with lots of detail in the wall below.  All of this, both levels, were the private chapel of King Louis IX, and was built for him between 1239 and 1248, pretty amazing.  He built it to house some really big holy relics he'd bought on holiday, in order to raise the profile of Paris as a great place to visit.  The star of the show was Christ's Crown of Thorns, tho' later kings had to sell the odd thorn off to pay debts, but the crown is now in the Louvre.  Other stuff was sold/lost, like bits of the cross, etc.  Here's some detail:
We didn't bother with visiting the Concierge (it's a job-lot visit option) as it was so hot & sunny, so we wandered on towards the Louvre, you can see the little building behind the arch and someone who keeps getting into my photo's:
Then, as you do, we went for a walk on the beach.  Did I mention before that the French have had a typically inspired, crazy, wonderful idea of putting beaches in the middle of all towns, villages and hamlets to encourage the recession-hit population to stay at home for holidays?  It works, and Paris is no stranger to it:
You didn't believe me did you?  It goes for about a mile along the embankment.  I think they should do this in London, preferably inside the Stock Exchange.  We need a holiday from them!  Our objective, mostly in jest as it was so far, was that Tower that Eiffel knocked up out of scaffolding poles.  We got there, and it is just a framework waiting for a building, look:
Oh, did I mention that we had to walk up?  No?  The main queue here was also plain silly, but not if you opt to walk up to Level 1, oh and then to Level 2.  No steps available after just those 690 steps, er, how many?
There was a bar on Level 1, but the prices were as high as the tower.  First the bar, then proof we made it:
 It's the height, my hair is in take-off mode, I can't keep the ailerons down captain.  I took a picture myself in case this one was a disaster.  Enjoy!
Pretty impressive height, and this level is open to the full rigors of the breeze.  We're smiling thru' the pain!
 See, just scaffolding!  They took out a huge amount of steel to lightweight it too! Back to that bar...
 Did you know that Buffalo Bill came here in 1889?  Also Czar Nicolas II, last Czar of Russia (unless you count Putin, or is that Count Putin?).  Wonderful pix of people you only read about are set about on top.
We came down to the Tuilerie Gardens, this is such a wonderful city, we're determined to stay here a long time, when we don't have a bent prop to nurse and have fixed.  So we bought some momentos and found a cheap card shop where the cards actually cost less than the European stamp.  Did you know that a European stamp here is just 80 cents, say 75p, similar to a first class in UK, and in France it's 20 cents!!
Then back to the mooring, from another angle!!
See, what a lovely location we had, and no dog poo to speak of, lovely cafes and restaurants, beautiful gardens all around us, good security.  We were very happy there.  Now to round off a picturesque evening shot of a well known landmark
 See you again Paris, maybe in the Spring (like you said last year Tony?), oh well, we'll see.

1 comment:

  1. Great views of Paris. Hope the prop gets unbent soon. Thinking of you here at anchor in Fuerteventura :-)