A Travellerspoint blog

Day 3 in Paris, Lundi, Août 9, 2010 - Sacre Coeur

sunny 25 °C

The Sacre Coeur was very beautiful. High up in Montmarte above everything. Crowds of people we in the church, on the stairs and milling around. We went in and many were lighting candles. It was quite incredible just how many candles were lit. You were not allowed to take pictures and asked to be quiet. The view of the city from the grounds of the Sacre Coeur was breathtaking. You could see so much of the City. Paris was much larger than I had anticipated. It felt like it was as big as Vancouver, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Richmond and Burnaby put together and perhaps even larger than that. Although the Metro is fast it does take time to travel from place to place.

Outside the Sacre Coeur enterprising young men sold Heinken beers, water, more Eiffel Tower souvenirs, and handbags.

There was also street performers. An incredibly athletic and muscled young black man was showing off his soccer skills as he balanced on top of a cement pillar doing all sorts of acrobatic tricks with a soccer ball. I could have easily watched him longer. Then there was the tail end of some street dancers. A group of young black men, about 6 or 8 of them doing some hip hop dance to a most enthusiastic crowd.

We left the grounds of the Sacre Coeur and started towards the Metro. We saw loads of souvenir shops and it seemed like this would be the best place to buy souvenirs as the completion here was great. Unfortunately we were tired as well as tight on time and so it wasn’t a good time to shop. We still after all had dinner reservations for that evening at 7:00 pm.

We got to the Metro at Abbesses and there was a man with a shopping cart. Inside the cart was a metal barrel and on top of the barrel were corn on the cob that he was grilling and selling. Don’t know for how much as he did not have a sign.

Posted by Sydney324 08:32 Archived in France Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Day 3 in Paris, Lundi, Août 9, 2010 - Cafe du Musée

sunny 23 °C

We took the train to go to the Cadolle store on 4 Rue de Cambon. Cadolle is the family that invented the bra. This was definitely a place I wanted to check out. The store was supposed to be open as it was Monday and that was what their website noted. Perhaps, if travelling in France during the month of August, which is when many of the locals take vacation, it would be smartest to not rely on the website and just call to confirm that they are open.

Quite a few restaurants and shops around our hotel are closed for a period of 2 weeks or longer for their vacation. I wonder where all the Parisiennes head as we all come to their beautiful city.

We then got back on the Metro and travelled to a station called Varenne. We wanted to go to the Musee Rodin. When we got off the Metro and walked onto the platform we were greeted by two large bronze statues by Rodin. One was of The Thinker and the other was of Balzac, I believe. How cool is this. You get off the train and walk onto the platform and there in front of you are two Rodins.

We walked up the stairs onto the street level. We saw a gas pump right on the corner of the street. I had not yet seen a gas station and I wondered if this is how they do it here.

It was while we were walking on the street that Margy realized that because it was Monday, the Rodin museum might be closed. I had completely forgotten that it was a possibility. After we ate, we crossed the street and sure enough the museum was closed. We noted the open time. I wouldn’t always rely on the information on the internet as with summer hours it could be different. The internet said it opened at 9:30 am when the sign at the museum said 10:00 am which is when it actually opens.

Museums are closed on different days. I do recall that some are closed on Sundays or Mondays or Tuesdays. Again it would be best to call rather than rely on the website.

At the Cafe du Musee we immediately ordered two beers as we sat down. It was a very hot and muggy day again. Almost all the cafes have tables outside and your seats do not face opposite each other but you look directly onto the street. I found this a very pleasant way to sit and enjoy your meal, or coffee or glass of wine. The French are so smart; they have it all figured out.

I ordered the Croquette Madam which was a ham and cheese grilled sandwich with a fried egg on top. It was really good. The cheese was real cheese, perhaps emmenthal and it really hit the spot. Margy order the Salad Nicoise. We had espressos afterwards. Mine was decaf. Perfectly done coffee. The waiters were all wearing white shirts with black pants and vests. Older gentlemen who seemed just a bit distracted as well. You had to get their attention to pay the bill as it took a bit of time to get their attention. As far as serving you when you first arrive, they were pretty quick. Food also came quickly.

We then got back onto the Metro to head to Princesse Tam Tam.

Posted by Sydney324 08:07 Archived in France Tagged food Comments (0)

Day 3 in Paris, Lundi, Août 9, 2010 - Moulin Rouge

sunny 23 °C

We got off the Metro in Montmartre for the purpose of going to Princesse Tam Tam since the Cadolle store was closed.

When we got off the train station we took the lift but got off much too soon. Instead we took the stairs and how lucky for us. The walls were adorned with lovely murals. We had great fun taking pictures of them. One was of a blue background with a winged Pegasus. Another was of Paris, all done in light and happy colours.

When we reached the street level the first thing you saw was a brightly coloured carousel.

We walked a few steps and we went into a church and had a look around. I don't know the name or age of the Church. The stained glass was quite beautiful and there was a peacefulness being there. Margy wandered around and had a better look. As I was still coping with very tired feet I sat at the back and just looked at everything.

I had been sitting for about 5 minutes when I was approached by a young girl. She was probably somewhere around the age of 15. She had a piece of paper with her. Letter sized on a cardboard clipboard. On it was a list of people's names, where they were from and a donation amount. She pointed to the heading and it was about a deaf organisation. I gave her 5 Euro. I didn't think twice about giving her a donation. One it was for a good cause and two, we were in a Church. There was another girl with her.

She then changed the number amount from 5 Euro to 10 Euro and kept pointing to this number with her pen. I said no. This, I then realized was a scam by gypsy kids. Obviously they are much better pick pockets than I realized. We later saw her at Sacre Coeur.

I had been approached by a younger woman on my first or second day in Paris who came up to me and asked "Parlez vous Anglais?". When I said yes, she asked for money. I said no and she wailed about her babies and walked off. Maybe I should have told her that my babies, ages 18 and 24, can eat their weight in food.

When I was later approached by another and possibly the same young woman with the same question, I responded with a "Non!" She went away. Guess she didn't speak any Chinese.

We walked along the streets and saw all sorts of cafes and shops. The area had a feel of a combination of Commercial Drive and Chinatown. Definitely ethnic and cultured. Restaurants were of many ethnicities. There was a large variety of clothes, all types of food and every type of souvenir you could imagine. Some pseudo outlet stores, but nothing looked very good there, at least not at a glance.

We were headed in the direction of the Moulin Rouge. We soon arrived after walking just a few blocks. The streets here are often cobble stoned and there are some gravel areas as well as pavement. It can be dusty when walking. The streets though are not difficult to walk on. Back home we have much more uneven streets.

We arrived in front of the Moulin Rouge and we thought it was not very impressive at all. Just a simple nice looking red building and where was the windmill part? When we went in we saw that it was a gift store. There for around 45 Euro you can get a Moulin Rouge t shirt bedazzled with Swakorski crystals.

We soon learned that the real Moulin Rouge was down the street and to the right. Well, it was quite the sight. Just like in the photos. It felt wonderful to see it. One of those special moments when you see a building or statue in real life and not just on tv or in a book or magazine. We were here in Montmartre in front of the Moulin Rouge.

Lots of tourists including us were standing in the middle of the road to get the best pictures. The entrance at the Moulin Rouge had some murals on both sides with can can dancers. We were able to look inside as well. I did take a picture of a glass case that housed a very fancy pair of high heels as well as a large jewelled necklace. Part of the dancer's costumes. I will definitely have to watch the movie Moulin Rouge again when I return home. It was wonderful to take in another piece of history.

Posted by Sydney324 23:22 Archived in France Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Let Me Entertain You

sunny 23 °C

Back home if people got on the Skytrain and started to sing, you would probably ignore them or unfortunately as I have seen, asked them to be quiet in not so nice words.

Well, when people in Paris jump on the Metro and start to sing the passengers seem to do the same thing, ignore them that is. While travelling on the Metro on Sunday a man got on with his guitar and as the doors closed he started to sing a wonderful rendition of Yesterday by the Beatles. People seemed indifferent as well. I am not sure whether he was able to get any money for his performance or not. All I know is that he made me smile as he sounded pretty good. I was sitting at the other end of the train.

Later in the day, when I was on my way home on the Metro, two men got on with a speaker strapped to a luggage cart. The singer had a trumpet. He had obviously had something happen to him as the tip of his nose was deformed. Almost as if it was a birth defect or some sort of parasite. He was an attractive man otherwise. Nice dress shirt and his buddy, a heavier set guy with a navy blue t shirt and a nice round belly to fill it out. He had the important part of the tambourine. They started to play and the music was great, but then I didn't live here and who knows how often the Parisennes are subjected to this. If it happened to you everyday, the novetly would wear off pretty quickly.

Funny enough we saw this guy the next day and this time he was accompanied by two others playing the trumpet as well. They didn't sound as good so I am not sure if it was the novelty or the song choice. Anyways, you had to applaud them for their effort, but you really can't escape if you don't want to listen, at least not until the next stop.

The doors on the trains here don't just automatically oepn at the stops. Back home on the older Skytrains you can just pry open the doors with your hands. This is not the case on the newer Canada Line.

Here I have seen variations on how the doors open and I am guessing that the variety is due to different ages of the doors as the train system is over a 100 years old. Some doors open with a handle that you pull up. Others open with a button. There is also a difference in the stations. Some are very modern such as Madeleine. Saint-Lazare is a busy station as it is a point of transfer for three lines and possibly more. Some of the stations have stores in them as well. Others have glass or plexiglass walls and doors so that no one can fall or jump onto the tracks.

There is also an tunnel which you can drive through that is connected to all of the seven train lines. We went through this tunnel on the way back to our hotel with the driver from Paris Vision.

The Metro is very efficient and you get from Point A to B very quickly.

Posted by Sydney324 23:11 Archived in France Tagged train_travel Comments (0)

Day 3 in Paris, Lundi, Août 9, 2010 - Cityrama Tour

24 °C

Got up at 7:15 am. Still tired as I didn't have the best sleep last night. I was restless and my right ankle was quite sore. Had to stretch out my quads a lot and that helped. I went to bed somewhere around 1 am and then woke up around 4:45 am to what sounded like huge raindrops on the roof. It wasn't raining and I am not on the top floor so I don't know what caused the sound.

Anyways got ready for breakfast and then I was leaving immediately after to go to the Pyramides station to go on the Cityrama City Tour.

Got a little turned around when I exited the train station and asked a stranger and then she pointed me in the right direction. Some people say that the French are not too friendly. I find that so far if you approach things correctly for the most part they are very nice people. I generally ask "Parlez-vous Francais?" and generally the response I get back is "un peu" or a little and everyone has been pretty helpful. Some do say no and then I practice my French and we are then able to figure it out. When I have asked for help from someone that does not speak much English they have been good enough to find someone who does.

Got to Cityrama in plenty of time, about 1/2 an hour prior to the start. In the meantime I got a text message from my girlfriend Margy who resides in France. She was just testing that the text got to me. I happily responded to her.

The tour got off at 10:00 am or pretty close to that. Met a nice couple of Aussies with their young son. They had been to Vancouver last year and loved it and Whistler. Husband commented that if he had to live anywhere else he would live there. Said he really loves our transit system. Likes that we are environmental. Thought that that was the nicest thing.

Margy will be arriving today and is going to be meeting me somewhere close to where I was.

I like this tour much more as there was a lot more as there was a lot more information given to us and much more detail. We also saw more so this is a tour that I would recommend. We saw Opera Square, Vendome Square, Concorde Square, Champs-Elysees Avenue, Arch of Triumph, Eiffel Tower, Invalides, d'Orsay Museum, Grand Louvre Museum, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Sorbonne, Pantheon, Saint-Germain-des-Pres and Rue des Pyramides.

Got back at about 11:20 am. A few text messages and phone calls and then we sorted ourselves out and I went off to the fountain in the Jardin des Tuileries to meet Margy.

Long last I am here in France to see my longtime girlfriend Margy. Another item on my Bucket List fulfilled.

Posted by Sydney324 15:12 Archived in France Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

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