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broodings from the burrow

November 10, 2008

paris, day 5
posted by soe 8:48 pm

Just a quick note because it’s 2:30 a.m. and we have to get up early to get out of town. Today we went up to Montmartre to visit Sacre-Couer, a lovely Byzantine-style, startlingly white church perched on the highest point in the city. It’s surrounded by little parks, where you can stop and eat lunch or just soak up the atmosphere. The views were stunning and well worth the trip. (Thanks, Elspeth, for the encouragement!)

After a side trip to a patisserie and a cafe (for tea and toilet), we caught the Metro over to the Place de la Concourse, where we walked along the Champs Elysees, which culminates at l’Arc de Triomphe. As we approached l’Arc, we could hear a band playing. Curious, we joined the crowd at the edge of the street, where we discovered the dress rehearsal for the Armistice Day celebration was going on. Since we wouldn’t be able to attend tomorrow’s real memorial, this was an appreciated coincidence to find our second-best option. Sure we miss the French president, but we got all the pomp (and none of the French speechifying that we were sure to miss the majority of anyway…). After the gendarmes released the crowd, we headed into the tunnel over to the l’Arc. The veterans were all headed home, all decked out in their regimental attire and several carrying standards. As we paused in the tunnel to take a few pictures, one veteran unfurled his flag so we could get a shot of it. Very sweet.

A quick aside: Remember the fallen soldiers tomorrow (11 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month). So many of the most recent dead are now a decade or more younger than we are (and will remain ever so). Heartbreaking…

We opted to forgo both the top of the arch and the bateau mouche ride as today was cold and drizzly with ridiculously fierce winds. I don’t know gale force from any other type, but I do know that periodically it was hard to remain standing in one place and that the wind seemed determined to remove my knit hat from my head. Didn’t seem like a good sort of cruising weather. Maybe Friday if we get back to town early enough — or on the next trip.

Our plans for tomorrow call for us to catch a high-speed train to Aix-en-Provence — either at 9:42 or at 3:30, depending on how together we are in the morning. We’ll stay there for a day or two and then head to Avignon for a few more days, before returning here Friday night. I’m not sure what the Wi-Fi options will be like in France’s smaller cities, so I may not get to post until we’re back in the capital. I promise to take vigorous notes if I have to upload posts until later…

A demain!

Category: travel. There is/are 1 Comment.

Have fun!!!

Comment by Jenn 11.11.08 @ 6:27 am