Paris 2008

Foaming fountain
Foaming fountain

The day has started sunny so we should make the most of it. Our programme will be determined by the fact that this the second day of our two-day Open-Tour bus tickets and we plan to travel the blue and orange routes today.

On the way to the bus stop, we saw a number of Paris’s famous and beautiful fountains. They all seemed to be foaming (see picture) as though someone had added washing-up liquid to the water. Is this done to clean them?

Les Invalides from the bus
Les Invalides from the bus

The promise of the bright beginning was fulfilled and a warm and sunny day followed. We followed the orange route with the tour bus which dropped us at its stop near Notre Dame. Here we found an Indian restaurant called Aarapana where we had a cheap if mediocre lunch.

We then took the blue route which finally brought us back to the same point. From then on we wandered on foot.

Notre Dame
Notre Dame

I was content to photograph Notre Dame from outside but Tigger wanted to go inside and take photos of the stained glass windows. The place was crowded as you might expect. There were notices advising that priests were available in the side chapels but the majority of people were tourists and sight-seers doing a circuit of the church and taking photos.

River view near Notre Dame
River view near Notre Dame

The one point in favour of Notre Dame, compared with, say, Westminster Abbey or St Paul’s Cathedral in London is the entry is free. You have to pay to go to the upper parts but not to go into the main part. Personally I regard it as immoral that the Church of England, which is suported by taxes and tax breaks, in addition charges citizens a fee to enter buildings that they and their ancestors have already paid for.

The Georges Pompidou Centre
The Georges Pompidou Centre

We also visited the Pompidou Centre. We had been here before but had not gone in. We had a brief look inside and it seems quite impressive despite the ugly exterior.

As we are somewhat over-budget, we bought bread, cheese and tomatoes at Monoprix for supper and ate these in a pleasant little park called Square Émile Chautemps.

Sparrows nesting at the Pompidou Centre
Sparrows nesting at the Pompidou Centre

We now undertook the walk home, following the dirctions of Tigger’s inner pigeon, plus a little help from the map. Back at the hotel, Tigger watched one of her DVDs on Paris while I wrote this account.

Yesterday I said I would not mention my ear trouble again unless there was some hange worth noting. There has been such a change.

Lion fountain
Lion fountain

At midnight, I had taken a painkiller in order to be able to sleep. I was expecting to have to take more pills during the day but I haven’t needed to do so. Apart from the odd twinge, I have been pain-free all day. I also noticed that my hearing has improved slightly in that ear.

Off the beaten track
Off the beaten track

We discussed the differences between France and Britain. It is easy to exagerate these and my impression is that the two countries are today much more similar today than they way even a couple of decades ago.

Hôtel de Ville de Paris
Hôtel de Ville de Paris

Are the differences between England and France greater (apart from language, obviously) than the differences between, say, England and Scotland? In some was, perhaps. but in other ways there are great similarities.

I find Paris a beautiful and enjoyable city. The impressions I gained on my first visit have been confirmed and I think I could live here quite happily.

After all, I would not even be deprived of Indian food!

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About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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