Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Ah Paris, je t’aime.

Never having been to Paris before I wasn’t too sure what to expect but I was looking forward to the experience.
Our visit got off to a rocky start when our accommodations were changed at the last minute and we arrived at Charles de Gaulle Airport without a place to stay. But we got that sorted out (more or less – it’s a long, long story that is continuing) in a couple of hours and then we had a place to drop our bags so we could start to explore.
And explore we did.
When we travel we like to walk the cities we visit, and Paris is a great walking city. Over the next 6 days we left a lot of shoe rubber on the cobblestones as we toured all the traditional venues like the Eiffel Tower, Montmartre, Champs-Elysees, Left Bank, Right Bank, Versailles, the Louvre – it’s a long, long list. We also visited some not so common places like the Catacombs where the bones of millions of Parisians are stacked like so much cordwood.
But the best entertainment, by far, was to simply sit in a sidewalk cafe at an intersection and watch the traffic flow. At every stop light motorcycles, scooters and bicycles would all work their way to the front of the line. As the light was about to change there would be a great revving of engines. Then a green light would trigger a Formula 1 type start with trucks, buses, cars, motorcycles, scooters, bicycles, and the odd pedestrian caught off the sidewalk in the mix. Pure madness but fascinating to watch. And most amazingly, in the entire week we never saw an accident.
So what do I think of Paris having been there? Fantastic! I loved it and would happily return if the opportunity presents itself.
Here are but a few of the pictures from Paris, some of which you may not see in the tourist brochures.

Waiting for the flag to drop.

For my Vespa riding friends.

In front of one of many scooter dealerships.

New glass floor in the Eiffel Tower. For scale, those are people in the upper right corner.

Looking up the Seine. Love locks on the Pont des Arts in front of the Louvre.

Just plain ugly.

Kind of seedy actually. Didn’t bother with a show.

Rear side of Notre Dame. Beautiful.

Fashionable footwear for bicycling. Pretty common.

One of the gardens at Versailles.

l’Arc de Triomphe from la Defense

Aw, can we cuddle?

Probably a good story behind this.

Scooters, scooters everywhere.

A nice looking street of apartments.

Obviously accidents DO happen.
 
Jim Morrison’s grave in Paris’ largest graveyard.

Excluding the Catacombs, of course.

Some of the bone stackers got quite creative.

The Louvre courtyard. Only part of 1 wing showing; it’s HUGE.
 
Finally got to see the Mona Lisa, along with all her groupies.

Why it’s not a good idea just to lock the front wheel.

Futuristic vehicle in the Toyota showroom on Champs-Elysees. You have never seen car dealerships like these!

Trying on the Renault Twizy, a 2-seater electric car, for size. A bit tight.

The Eiffel Tower really dominates the skyline.

Why you shouldn’t park your delivery van on the street overnight.

12 comments:

  1. Sounds like a fantastic trip with awesome photos to back it up! Can't wait to see more.The best way to see a place is to walk it; I'm all about that philosophy! Welcome home.

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    1. VStar Lady - Thanks. No matter how great the trip it always feels good to come home.

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  2. Wonderful photos! Thank you for sharing your trip. You have a completely different perspective than the normal travelogue. I like the transparent floor on teh Eiffel Tower.

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  3. What a great trip you had and you really did get around. It is quite a walk from most of those places to the next, but beautiful. You made me want to go back again!

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    1. KaTy Did - We did a of of walking, that's for sure. And I can understand wanting to go back, it is an amazing city that you could never get too know in just one trip.

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  4. Great photos. I so want to go to Paris one day. Has been on the bucket list for a good 20 years.

    I agree with the walking when being a tourist. The perfect way to see a city and wear off all the good food.

    Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Trobairitz - I was actually kind of lukewarm to the idea initially, but now I'm a convert. You need to move it up your bucket list; it's a great city to visit.

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  5. Ah, Paris. I guess it's time for another visit... thanks for sharing these (often two-wheeled themed) pictures.

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  6. Sonja - In spite of my previous rant about the road system I do envy your proximity to all these fantastic places throughout Europe.

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  7. Brings back great memories.

    Paris was one of the significant influences that got me riding. What amazing dividends that has paid.

    Can you believe how closely they park their bikes? You'd get lynched if you cozied up to a Ducati or an FJR here?

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    1. David - True. Several times I saw people moving others' bikes to make enough room to get in, or out, of a parking spot. And they weren't always gentle.

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