Monday, June 06, 2011

They weren't kidding about the sizzling

It's been hot in Paris, especially in the afternoon, when only a VERY large beer can began to reverse the effects of large crowds, tourism-fatigue, high humidity, sardine-like Metro journeys, and sore tootsies.

But, we have seen sights. There have been many great moments, many good coffees and croissants, and, it bears repeating, cold, welcome beers.

Two particular moments:

1) standing in the gravel looking up at the east side of Notre Dame, away from the crowds. This was one place where i can say without any doubt, that i stood exactly here in 1967.

2) a couple of hours later, after a snack and waiting in the hot sun in two long lines (one security and one for tickets), climbing the circular stone steps and emerging into the sublime, mystical astonishment that is the upper chapel of Sainte-Chapelle.

After that, we took the Metro up to Montemarte, and did more touristy things, including a formula tourist dinner at a tourist restaurant in the tourist square (at least the waiter was hilarious), followed by a ride around the butte in the surprisingly-fun tourist train, where we observed the shocking boards of tourists emerging from big busses, only to join the existing line of tourists waiting in line at the (tourist recreation of the long-gone, actual) 'Moulin Rouge'.

That's Paris. A theme-park with many cheap facades, and genuinely-authentic gems of Western Civ, the sort of places that make you aware of people long ago getting motivated to create something truly remarkable, and those that came along later, despite their inclinations for plunder, having the sense to say "don't mess it up".

Last night, safe, showered and confusing in our hotel room, there was a thunderstorm of biblical force. The morning, the air is clean and cool. Breakfast soon, then more tourism. Two full days remain.


MANY hours later.

We did a museum (the Orangerie, filled with Masters of Impressionism).

We walked up the Champs to the Arc d'Triumph.

We metro'd to the Trocadero, for the amazing view of the fountains, gardens, and a certain Tower.

As long as we were there, we figured we might as well join the crowds and take the elevator(s) to the top. Nice view.

Tired now, we hobbled to a metro station and got ourselves back to the hotel, for a very-welcome hour of down-time.

Being a tourist is hard work.

We went back to the neighborhood bistro, where we've happily eaten three or four times.

I couldn't resist ordering the evening's special, which appeared to translate as andouille (sausage) with mustard sauce.

Big mistake. Not as expected. Not something i wanted to finish, after the first three bites. At least the accompanying potatoes were good, as was the glass of wine i had luckily ordered.

Sometimes, in the game of travel dining, you lose big. It was my turn.

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