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Bits and bobs about my life in my lovely home, Thatchwick Cottage, Pretoria, South Africa.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thursday, 9 July '09: Don't take the Metro!

"Paris is so confusing", lamented the young American couple, "we have simply no idea of the layout of the city!"

"Ah," I said, with the air of a seasoned traveller, "Don't take the Metro! That's your problem. Just follow the river! And let the Seine show you Paris!"

" Prepare, however, to be distracted time and again." Here, by the sumptuous elegance of the Pont Alexandre III constructed between 1897 and 1900 to symbolise the Franco-Russian friendship instigated by Tzar Alexandre III and President Carnot.

"Linger a while to savour the sunlight on the dome of the Hotel Des Invalides founded by Louis XIV to house his wounded troops."

"Was a hospital ever so glorious as this one?"

"Stand amazed at Pegagus held fast by Fame, all in gilded bronze and mounted on the two pylons at both ends of the bridge."

"Take the steps down to river level so that you don't miss the elegant ladies who smile from the bridge's undercarriage on the passing boats."

"Don't stride to quickly along the riverside. Tarry to admire the engravings and antique books for sale. What does it matter if you don't read French? That battered tome with its yellowed pages will look just great on the desk in your library back home."

" Wherever you tarry for yet another snap, the Eiffel Tower seems to be pop up."

"See those grim towers up ahead. That is La Concierge, the final holding place of Marie Antionette and many other unfortunates before their last journey in the tumbrils to meet Madame Guillotine.""Cross to the Left Bank and wander through the nursery stalls selling spring flowers. I am sure a nice young man will stop garden planning for just a mo' to take your photo like he did mine."

"Wave at the river boats and really consider taking a dinner cruise. It costs a month's groceries but the recollection will never fade. My memory of Richard and I on that cruise in 2002 is precious."

"Let the distant towers of Notre Dame remind you to ignore your aching feet and head in the direction of the gargoyles. But do allow yourself to be sidetracked for lunch served by an enthusiastic waiter over at least two hours. You don't understand the menu? Let the universal language of smiles and nods do the trick as the waiter makes the choice. I guarantee the plat du jour will be delicious."

"Exhausted and you want to go back to the hotel? You simply can't. There is the magnificent Hotel De Ville and just up the road is..."

That showy-inside out museum of modern art, the Pompidou Centre. Like a lady who wants to show off the gaudy glamour of her underwear by wearing it over her day clothes, the air-conditioning ducts and elevators of the Pompidou are on the outside of the building."

" You don't understand the style of the likes of Rothko, Stella, Pollack and others? Why worry? Insight is quite unnecessary - just be seduced by their creativity and stand on your head to do your viewing if that will help."
"The Metro to get back home? Never! How can one stay underground like a Parisian mole in this fine city? Oh, I know there are quaint characters on the subway but walking is far, far better."

"Just let the river be your guide!"

For other wonderful parts of the world, visit My World every Tuesday. I have met some great friends this way.


Sailor Girl said...

A FIVE STAR POST!!!! That's what I normally do in Paris: almost NEVER take the metro and follow the Seine!!!!

Sreddy Yen said...

What an interesting post~! I love all the pictures you took, but I especially like the photo of the lady smiling. I hope to walk along the Seine one day too :O)


nadia said...

This is the best travel post on Paris I've ever come across! I took my time reading and looking at the pictures. And I'll always remember your advice whenever I get the chance to visit Paris: Just follow the river! And let the Seine show you Paris!

Thank you so much for this excellent post :)

Erin said...

what a great post...and when i get to paris i will indeed follow the river. i really don't like metros.
your commentary and photos are fab.

Poetikat said...

Chacun parle de Paris aujourd'hui!

Vive la France!


John W. Daniels, Jr. said...

Hi Eleanor!

My mother-in-law was visting Normandy and there-abouts just a week ago.

Hope all is well.

-Jack Daniels in St. Augustine, Florida (one of Richard's students)

Gaelyn said...

What a wonderful post, my feet are tired, my eyes are full and I want to see more.

Anonymous said...

Lovely lovely post! Thanks for showing us Paris via the Seine!

Makes me long to re-visit...

soulbrush said...

i absolutely adore paris, saw it in 1991, loved it, will go back one day...sigh....

Pam said...

A wonderful post Eleanor! Thank you so much.

Vicki Lane said...

Wonderful tour! Thank you so much, Eleanor! I really want to go to Paris - - it's been far too long.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Oh Eleanor - I wish I could visit Paris! You've made it so irresistible - I'll have to find a portal to planet Earth and look at all these magnificent views!

Mary said...

The tour was wonderful - Paris is such a beautiful city, I never tire of looking and am always waiting to return again.

Hope all is well there dear. I'm off to the West this week, will check in from the road when possible.

Barbara Martin said...

Gorgeous photos that brought memories back from the dozen visits I've made there. Ahhh, I'm thinking it's time to plan another trip. With a guide book, with maps.

jeannette stgermain said...

Just catching up with all the blogs - your pics are great - can tell you had a great time there - you gave a balanced view of Paris:) Hope you also went to the Louvre or Musee de Picasso? Actually, the metro is great when you want to go somewhere fast! (And not so confusing as it is in China LOL).

Greyscale Territory said...

Incredible post! Such a refreshing view of Paris giving us insights into the Paris beyond the travel brochures! Delightful!