mercredi 27 juillet 2011

Week V, celebration & light adventures

OK, This period starts off with Thursday July 14th, or Bastille Day.  We were a bit disappointed to find that nothing was taking place this day at the Place de la Bastille.  Going to the military parade along the Champs Elysee seemed out of the question because of likely crowds and a lot of walking (public transport, as well as roads, is shut off near the parade).  So we watched it on television.  It went on for a while, with every imaginable military, paramilitary, quasi-military and veterans group present.  A reviewing stand had been set up in Place de la Concorde, and we had to admire Sarkozy's fortitude in continuing to look serious, patriotic and interested throughout the long review.
The main evening event was fireworks by the Eiffel Tower at 11 pm.  Again, we thought it inadvisable to go and watch at the Champ de Mars or Invalides, so we did some scouting and settled on the Pont de Sully.  This spot had a good, if distant, view and was within walking distance from the apartment.  We joined a small crowd there just before 11 and got a good view of the show.  The tricouleur, blue, white and red, was featured, as might have been expected.  I was reminded of watching 4th of July fireworks from our hill in Solana Beach, and the heavy crowds there.  No pictures this time.
Musee d'Orsay as ad space
On Friday we did our first museum visit, to the Orsay.  After making several attempts to get up to the third floor where the good impressionist art is, we finally learned, after a heated complaint, that it was closed for renovation  but that much of the good stuff could be seen on the first floor.  Well, you can't see it all anyway, so we were happy enough to see our favorite art in the crowded corridor.  Carolee braved the long line at the cafe for me so we could rest with coffee and water.
Tuileries with carnival rides

Tuileries, looking toward Louvre
Once out, we couldn't resist, even with tired legs, crossing over the Solferino pedestrian bridge to the Tuileries Garden.  Our stroll, punctuated by short rests, took us past the main pond, through a traveling carnival, and finally down into the very convenient Tuileries Metro stop to Line 1 and back home.
Eiffel Tower, soggy

Eiffel Tower, Palais de Chaillot
On the rainy Saturday we opted for an easy outing, so it was to the Trocadero stop and Palais de Chaillot for the great view of the Eiffel Tower.  Easy became hard because of the amount of climbing necessary from the Metro line 8 (deep underground) to line 6 (overhead) at La Motte Picquet.  But the views of the tower and the Seine were terrific from this elevated line.  The Trocadero stop discharged us right at the Palais de Chaillot, and from then on the problem was to negotiate broad, wet steps with no handrails anywhere.  It nearly came to disaster when an African souvenir vendor, running from the police, nearly pitched me down a flight of steps.  Loved it anyway, and we got our pictures like everybody else.  Metro back by a different and much more manageable route.
Sunday, still a bit rainy, we opted for an easy trip to see the Opera Garnier.  In our neighborhood Carolee noticed a sushi restaurant with a small army of motor scooters for delivery.  The opera house itself was as grand as we expected, and the view down the Avenue de l'Opera was a joy.  Coming back Carolee, always noticing things, saw that there was a gym above the neighborhood McDonald's, and that it was full of exercising Parisians.  From previous visits one never would have expected this.
Sushi bikes

Opera Garnier, Grand Foyer

Avenue de l'Opera

Exercise traks above McDonald's

Monday and Tuesday Carolee was off to school, and there are no pictures to remind me of whatever we may have done, other than the usual shopping and housekeeping.

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