Sunday, 19 June 2016

Up Early For Our Trip,

to the Avenue des Champs-Elysées,



and the monument itself, the Arche de Triomphe, so goodbye to the hotel,

and hello to the metro,

it is similar to the London Underground, each route is color coded,

except that rubber tires are used as well as steel wheels and a extra tire is mounted at 90 degrees to the drive wheels, I guess as an aid to going round corners,

our train arrives,

and this is where we are going, the Arche de Triomphe,

and a short while later here we were,

it looks a lot bigger in real life than the pictures would have you believe,

a detail from one of the columns,

the road around the monument is 10 lanes wide, not  good idea to cross, so under we went,

to view the grave of the unknown warrior and the eternal flame,

looking up at the ceiling there is a camera looking down at you,more of that latter,

one of the freezes,

and a detail from it,

and another,

this statue, grieving for fallen comrades, 

a quick pose outside,

and a look at the eternal flame,

and it was inside we went,

I have to admit if I had known there were 284 steps to the top I may not have bought the ticket, but I did so up we went,

a plan of the stairs, they seemed and were never ending,

at the top Diana took a rest,

the building was deceptively large inside,

I earlier mentioned a camera in the ceiling, this is what it was watching, you below at the grave,

we continued our look around,

this was another monument to fallen soldiers,

but I could not fond out about it,

perhaps this was a project for the tomb?

a scale model of the Arche de Triomphe,


we walked across the span,

and on to the roof,

for a spectacular view of the city,

the Avenue des Champs-Elysées,

leading to the Paris Eye,

 the Avenue des Champs-Elysées, with the streets either side of it,


then a small amount of drama on the street below, a cavalcade of vehicles with police escorts roared past beneath us,
a quick pose from Diana,


the Eiffel Tower in the distance,

and here is, we are using it as a landmark as we make our way to the Montparnasse Tower which has a viewing platform on floor at the top of the tower, the lift stop at the 56th floor so a couple more on foot and there you are,

back to where we were, below a minor gridlock,

we took a few more pictures,

this I guess the financial district,

then made our way back to the stairs, passing a guess a front piece of one of the freezes outside that was not used in the completed building,

we stopped on the way down,

to look at a display,

of French military uniforms,

this one I guess we will all know, the French Foreign Legion,

back to the stairs, I know I said there were 284 steps going up, well there are 283 going down, near the last couple of floors I stumbled and missed a step so for me on the way down just 283!

down at last,

and this is here we were,

a last but one picture of Diana,

a jump for joy,

one of me,

and we were on our way,

we found another water fountain,

that dot the streets of Paris,

we also spotted this beauty, a Triumph Bonneville,

here is a neat solution to a problem, you need to get heavy equipment upstairs where there is no lift,

the answer, use a portable lift outside, neat,

I told our diver not to leave the car here, (I wish!),

we continued walking towards our destination,

it was slightly damp,

but nothing to worry about,

along the way,

we passed a church, but I am not sure of the domination,

a few more blocks to go,

and there it was in the distance,

across the embankment,

and time to stop,

for a couple of pictures,

and a look at how swollen the river was,

after the floods of a few days ago,

one of the river cruise ships tied up,

a couple of poses from Diana,

at last the sun came out,

as a river cruise sailed past,

now this is what I call a green building,

the front,

except the windows,

covered in moisture loving plants, looking at Diana in the picture,

you can see the building is huge, now here is the thing, we did not see any name on the outside, so we have no idea if it s a office or apartments, who knows?

then real bad news for our group, well all tourists, the Eiffel Tower was closed, such sad news as we were only here for one day, luckily we visited it the last time we were here on the 10th of May, it was a shame for everyone, still the strikers know best,

everywhere empty,

not the usual crowds of happy tourists,

but there was another diversion,

it appears a soccer match is being played in the city, and look we might be on television in the pre match warm up!

we continued our walk,

it seemed and was miles,

spotting this cafe we decided on a break,

it was that time of day,

'Cheers!', 

spaghetti bolognese for Diana,

smoked salmon for myself,

and a crème brûlée to round the meal off,


we passed,

the space agency,

we will soon be there,

as we passed building after building,

we hope!

but this was good news,

we recognized the railway bridge and this green space,

over a couple of roads, 

up a street,


over a crossing,

and we knew,

exactly where we were,

we had eaten here on our last visit,

and here was the tower,

inside to the lifts,

well not the ones to the lower floors,

we wanted this one, from the 43rd to the 56th,

in no time at all,

we were there,

looking down over the city,

we took a walk inside,

past the souvenir stall,

then out,

where it got scary,

we both are still uncomfortable with heights,

but we put our bravest faces on it,

well the view was great,

Diana taking a few pictures on her telephone,

looking down to,

Notre-Dame Cathedral,


with its flying buttresses,

and 10 meter across stained glass window, we are meeting here in the square in the front of it to then go out with our evening meal in a couple of hours time,

another look across the city, 

to the now closed Eiffel Tower,


I am not sure how many days or weeks the strike will last, so look at the news to see if the civil unrest is happening when you want to visit,

back to the roof top,

it could not be better,

we made our way downstairs,

to the foyer,

and cafe,

for a glass of wine,

and to enjoy the view,

below a procession was taking place,

zooming in,

I could not see any banners,

but there was lots of smoke,

in different colors,

I guess these were the strikers,

the police formed a barrier,

to stop the marchers,

which seemed to hold,

and all was well,

we took a selfie with the help of a mirror,

and looked down,

at the countless graves,

and watch tower,

a news helicopter circled a couple of times,

as flares,

fell from the sky,

then down we went,

as quick as a flash we were back at ground level,

all set and off we went to walk to the Notre-Dame Cathedral,


but our way was barred by the French police, when asked if we could walk to the cathedral the reply was 'Non, fighting!', we then asked a nearby concierge at a hotel and was told no way to dangerous, go by metro which we did,

well we tried to, the strikers had closed down the metro network,

the streets were now deserted and no taxis to be seen,

bu w were lucky after walked a few blocks we came across this tuk-tuk who agreed to take us to the cathedral,

we settled down, then it happen we were showered with an assortment of objects, plastic bottles and who knows what else,

well we do this plastic cone for one missed Diana and myself by a fraction of an inch as it passed between us from behind and wedged itself in the seat in front of us, what a way to treat tourists! in all truthfulness we were so alarmed that the rioters had no control over their actions and no police to police them, very scary indeed, if you are thinking of coming to Paris anytime soon have serious thoughts about your safety, no one was looking out after ours,

we manage to avoid further mob violence,

and arrived safely at the Cathedral, the driver was so apologetic about the incident and we were so lucky neither of us was hurt by the strikers,

as we walk the last few yards,

we noticed this chap,

demonstrating his skills,

as he roller bladed along these cones,

this is where we are going to meet,

at the statue of Charlemagne,

as we had some time to kill,

I decided to take some pictures,

of the gargoyles,

that adorn the building, what nightmares their creators must have had to imagine them!

a quick pose in front of the cathedral,

then we decided on a coffee at a cafe,

and watched some of the locals,

go past,

as well as a number of ambulances,

and police,

rode past,

we made our way from the cafe,

and had look at the still swollen river,

as a fire truck raced past,

we all meet up in the square,

and made our way towards the restaurant,

having a last look at some of the figures atop the cathedral,

a passing a few shops selling some interesting early editions,

others with foodstuffs,

and general products,

and then here we were, L'Escarmouche,

the dinning area was below street level,

we were greeted by two musicians,

as we made our way to our table past a deep well,

to one of the seating areas,

free flow wine always has my vote,

then the entertainment,

began,

Diana was the guitarists favorite,

a quick group picture,

and it was eyes down and tuck in,

frogs legs for Diana,

salmon for myself,

and another serenade for Diana,

the main course for Diana was a salmon fillet, 

prawns for myself,

Gustavo our groups leader called over to make sure all was well,

and it was,

even more so when these two desserts,

arrived, what a fabulous meal,

next outside for the group photo,

as we made our way to the metro, it looked like some one had a good street party!

a slight shower on the way,

but all was well,

after a long walk,

we neared the metro station,

our train arrived, thankfully now up and running again after the afternoons takeover,

Gustavo gave us a run down on what was happening next,

what he did not mention was the stairs,

the walk underground,

the stairs,

and more stairs,

then up again,

we arrived in the red light district with large theaters,

and small shops,

the most famous of the theaters The Moulin Rouge,

a pose with Gustavo,

and this is where we were going, Eve,

a cabaret show,

we could take pictures of the foyer,

and the stage, but once the show started we could not, it was a great show, the acts mesmerizing, at 70 euros each we thought it a tad expensive, but having now seen the show it was worth every euro, we made our way outside to the taxis outside the Moulin Rouge, then disaster struck again, this time from football hooligans! thee or so taxis in front of us were being mobbed by drunk fans, beer was poured over the cabs and the cans were used to hit the taxis, whilst other soccer supporters rocked the taxi from side to side, two taxis later and it was our turn, the driver was furious but also like us scared, thank fully the mob move to the taxi behind us that received the same treatment, another frighting experience and like the first not a policemen insight, moving on we are on the move everyday and posting the blog a little difficult, so we will try to post when we can, but it will be a long time before we are up to date, but please bare with us, we will catch up when we are back in Thailand, and with that we are off to bed.


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