Monday, 9 May 2016

We Were Out Just Before 08.30,

we had a busy day planned,

 it was Saturday morning,

and the strange thing was that the streets were deserted,

bearing in mind that we were in the heart of the tourist area it was good news for us,

we decided to walk to the Eiffel Tower, all we had to do was find Avenue Pasteur and we were nearly there,

and here it was,

all we had to do now was find the Eiffel Tower and we knew this was not it,

we both have never been to Paris before,

but this was what we imagined,
wide open streets,

and small balcony's from many buildings,

as we were walking to the to the Eiffel Tower,

when we came a cross this local market,

with all manner of goods,

both old and new, it was a good thing from our point of view,

we had a 3 pin UK plug on all of our battery chargers and needed a converter for them fit for the 2 pinned French system, and this gentleman had one, so congratulations all round,

this was his stall with household items on it,

plenty of fresh fruit,

and items for a salad in the market,

but the amazing thing was,

the amount of fresh shellfish,

and fish that was on offer,

the selection was huge from just this one stall,

there were also a number of stalls selling cooked foods,

I am not sure what this building is, but if you look closely you will see someone riding a horse beyond the main gate,

another 20 or so minuets,

and we were there, the Effie Tower,

looking towards the first floor or landing,

there appears to be a glazed in section above the observation deck,

we made our way underneath the structure, but the queues for the lifts seemed endless,

no worries we made our way to the embankment, past the small roundabout,

to some of the ferries there,

we decided to take a cruise along the River Seine,

so all aboard for the Skylark,

this was it,

and here was our Captain,

it was spacious inside,

bur we were on the top deck, looking at some of the house boats,

moored along the embankment,

we had a riverside view,

we were soon approaching the first bridge,

when a fellow traveler from the UK offered to take our picture,

we passed the Eiffel Tower,

but this time from the river,

we also passed,

a few more house boats,

other cruise boats,
and boats sailing upstream,

we approached another bridge,

which had another cruise boat moored next to it,

this was the second of 16 bridges we would be going under,

this is a life size replica of the flame that is on top of the Statue of Liberty, it has a significance meaning for many Parisians, below this is the tunnel that Princess Diana died in,

it is still early in the season, so many cruise vessels are still tied up,

no chances of forgetting which vessel you are on with this figure on the front of it!

we were approaching the Pont Alexandre III bridge

named after the Tsar of Russia and was built during the Belle Époque,

and connects the Invalids to the Grand and Petit Palais, 

we were told that when gilded with gold it took 40 kilos of the precious element,

we next passed the Paris Eye, 

and another house boat, with car on the rear of it,

it was of course a Amphicar, happy both on the roads and in the water,

on the right a art gallery featuring the works of sculptures and artists,

we were now approaching,

so many bridges it was almost impossible to count them,

we then approached the Louvre, we already had a schedule worked out for this trip, we promised to visit it the next time we were in Paris,

we continued our journey,

on the right hand side there were a large number,

of these green boxes,

they all belonged to booksellers, called Bouquinistes, a trade that goes back to the Middle-Ages and is unique to Paris, the story has it that a boat transporting loads of books sunk near Notre-Dame Cathedral, the sailors swam ashore taking with them as many books as they could and sold them to the passersby to make up for the wages they had lost, their pitches are still there to this day,

we were now approaching Notre Dame,

partially hidden from us by the embankment and trees,

we sailed through 180 degrees to go to the other side of the island the cathedral stands on to start our voyage back to our starting point,

passing under more than a few bridges again on the way,

looking back towards Notre Dame,

we then went past the Hôtel-Dieu deParis, which is regarded as the oldest hospital in the city of Paris, although the facility had been ravaged by disastrous fires on several occasions (the current architecture dates back to 1877), the two buildings of the facility were originally built in the 7th and 17th centuries,

Pont au Change, the first version of the bridge dated to the 9th Century. It was rebuilt several times since and the current bridge dates from 1860. It bears the initials of Emperor Napoleon III,

we continued our journey,

past the Court of Cassation, it is one of France's courts of last resort having jurisdiction over all matters triable in the judicial stream within it's scope of certifying questions of law and review in determining miscarriages of justice,an important building indeed,

next a famous if frivolous bridge indeed, the Pont-Neuf (literally New Bridge) is actually the oldest of all the bridges of Paris. Designed in 1607, it crosses the west tip of the Île de la Cité,it was considered new because for the first time it did not have houses upon it, a 'new idea', indeed, 

some of the 381,

mascarons, that are on the bridge,

which have a story,

all of their own,

our next bridge, Pont des Arts, the 'padlock bridge' a footbridge that offers one of the most romantic views of Paris,

we passed more river cruise unused vessels moored up,

Diana strikes the pose as another vessel passes,

I  noticed this slightly different bridge, it linked the lower and upper embankments, you could cross on the lower embankment on the bridge and arrive on the other side on the upper embankment where both upper and lower spans meet in the middle, neat,

I am not sure what it is called, but this vessel seems to have a large rudder mounted on the side of it,

the tower in the distance,

we were soon near to the Pont Alexandre III bridge,

with it's gilded statues,

nearby some other horsemen were depicted,

we were nearing the end of our journey,

as this sailing ship,

and this figure came into view, more of him in a moment,

almost there,

turn the boat through 180 degrees,

and we are there,

we passed this evening cruise boat that looked nice, it was too good to miss, so on the spur of the moment we booked a table for a romantic evening for two cruising the River Seine, the company was Bateaux Parisiens, we then decided to take a walk to the Pont Alexandre III bridge,

we were then by the Pont de L'Alma,

passing the stature of  Zouave, he is a measure of how bad the flooding is in the area, the river embankments are usually is closed when the Seine's level reaches the feet of the Zouave, when the water hits his thighs, the river is unnavigable, during the great flood of the Seine in 1910, the level reached his shoulders,

we continued walking,

as Skegway riders drove in the opposite direction,

we were walking towards the Grand Palace,

but by now we were getting a little thirsty and hungry,

and just below us,

this restaurant looked so tempting,

so a quick pose,

and down we went,

this was the view from our table,

menus delivered,

roll out the barrel,

and in a change for myself a glass of white wine,

we were having a late breakfast/early lunch at the Favst,

where the waiter kindly took a couple of pictures of us,

our food arrived, a huge Ceasar salad for Diana,

a steak and button garlic potatoes for myself,

and a couple of coffees to round off the meal,

we then made a move,

to cross the bridge,

thinking we were going to the tomb of Napoleon and the museum of the Army of France,

we looked back,

and then crossed the bridge,

all of the time not realizing we were going in the wrong direction, 

never underestimate the power of a map,

but still the lack of knowledge,

meant we could take a few pictures on our way,

as we crossed the bridge,

and took a few more pictures,

of statures,

and here we were, not

these buildings,

are not the tomb of Napoleon,

they are the Museum of Art, 

and ballet, we crossed back to the other side,

crossing the bridge again, we noticed that Paris really is the city for lovers,

as we all looked on,

we made our way back,

towards where we had eaten,

this was where we were going,

as another team of Skegway drivers came towards us,

the tomb of Napoleon,

not too far now,

as a Ferrari went the other way,
and here we nearly were,

and that is where we had walked from,

zooming in the bridge in the distance,
a quick pose,

and we were on our way in, 

along the cobbles,

but before we entered,

a couple of pictures,

of the immaculate garden outside,

then into the courtyard we went,

lined by cannon,

note to self,

back in the time,

do not get on the wrong end of these!

we entered the military museum,

the show of amour on display,

was truly impressive,

the faces of some frightening even in peace time,

the scope was huge,

from men to boys,

along the walls huge paintings of the past,

and examples of various guns,

were on display,

armor from other areas of the world were on display, from China,

and Japan amongst others,

we passed the last display of armor,

and entered a gallery of cannons,

big cannons!

Diana's feet were a little sore, so she took a break,

I went to the tomb of the famous warrior,

it was a walk from the courtyard,

past some more immaculate gardens,

and in to the front of the mausoleum,

the inside was stunning,

a huge room,

with an incredible dome,

I took a couple of panoramas,

this one showing the tomb on the floor below,

the altar,

and the tomb itself,

a detail from the ceiling,

and the tomb itself,

a detail from the altar,

I went downstairs,

to the lower level,

looking up to where I had just been,

a panorama of the downstairs chamber,

I made my way around the circumference, taking pictures as I went,

another view of the magnificent ceiling and glass windows,

and of one of the fleur de lurs in one of them,

love and marriage in this romantic city again,

I crept up on Diana as she was playing candy crush,


we made our way past the gardens,

as a Ducati roared past us,

our walk back to the hotel,

took us up a few different streets,

well we were sort of lost,

but the roads,

were deserted,

we then recognized this avenue of trees,

and realized we had gone in a bit of a circle,

the tomb of Napoleon in the distance,

Diana had bought a pair of flip-flops, as she had a blister on one of her toes,

another nice motorbike, a Triumph Bonneville,

we passed more deserted squares, 

and streets,

and then came across this beauty, a MV Agusta 800, I am not sure what this model is, so you will have to look at the link to make your mind up over which one it is,

along the street another Triumph,

we now knew that we were near the hotel,

so we stopped at a nearby bar as we were both thirsty, a refreshing coke for Diana a beer for myself,

the roundabout at the top of the street our hotel was in, totally deserted, uncanny,

and here was our hotel,

nearly opposite the Pullman Hotel which is a great landmark if you are lost as it so tall,

a shower, shave and change of clothes,

and we were back at the Eiffel Tower riverside, where we checked in,

for our romantic meal for two,

all aboard,

inside the dinner,

we had reserved a window table,

which gave us a lovely view of the river and bank,

one of the waiters kindly took our picture

and we were under way,

included  in the price was free flow wine, plenty to chose from,

the entertainment was a couple of singers who were just so fine, not too loud and in tune with gentle songs,

a boat passed us,

 a paddle boat, but it was propeller driven,

but first a glass of bubbly,

'Cheers!', served with a cheese amuse bouche,

on to the white wine,

and our starters, for Diana chilled crab served with avocado seasoned with Espelette pepper, green apples and celery,

for myself a half-smoked salmon steak with fennel and peppered artichoke salad,

we watched the riverside sail by,

as the sun set,

on to our main courses, sauteed beef filet served with truffle mashed potato, stuffed onion and aubergine caviar,

for myself veal rump roast with mixed vegetables and chanterelle mushrooms,

and for myself a change of wine to red,

another of the restaurant boats getting ready to make way,

candles lit,

we now made the turn in the river,

past some of the larger buildings,

as a cheese dish was served,

we were lucky to have master cheeses maker Ferme d'Alexandre give us a taste of his creation,

which was so nice,

the bank side slipped past us, this an art collage,

we then saw hundreds of people on the bank,

every so often when the embankment was wide enough, there were dance classes or demonstrations going on, what a great way to spend a Saturday night by the river,

the cathedral was illuminated,

as was Napoleon's tomb,

for desserts, no prizes for guessing what Diana went for, 

chocolate concerto with vanilla cream,

for myself apricots and peaches with pistachio creme Chiboust,

it was all so romantic,

the Eiffel Tower was soon with us,

as was a smaller Statue of Liberty than the one in New York,

and if you waited you could picture then both in the same shot,

a very happy Diana as we left the boat,

we made our way from the boat,

to the tower taxi rank,

then home,

shoes off,

a walk along the corridor and we were off to bed.

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