Saturday, April 12, 2014


Are we really here?
Oh, I am going to spell everything wrong, but what does it matter, today. We took a fast bus ride right to the Trocadero to talk down the steps to the Eiffel Tower. When Rebecca says whoops, right bus but wrong direction, we know a new adventure has begun.

The bus driver told her that her French seemed good enough that she would understand where to go next. She replied to him that her French is good enough but she is "off" directionally. It took another bus, a tram ride and a metro ride to get us to the right spot. Oh yes, and an unintended our spent on the public transport.

Our tram tickets wouldn't work in the Metro and while Rebecca went to the information centre to check that out, I watched how people get through the gates of the metro without paying. 

Some boys just go right up against the back of a person who is paying and slip though with them. I watched two boys try to do that. Only the first got through. The second had to choose another paying patron, while a third boy just jumped the iron gate. I wondered what is the ratio of paying customers to riding customers but we didn't stay long enough for me to take a survey.

Eiffel Tower
Bonnie used her French, trying to buy one banana. She ended up with one bunch, which is close to one. Afterwards she remarked that the bananas cost less than the bottle of water she purchased later.

What is there to say about walking down the Trocadero steps that can be captured in words. Bonnie was thrilled. Her first time back in 30 years and a new approach to the Eiffel Tower -- walking down the hill and getting the full length view rather than only the view from under the tower.

Rebecca ordered a crepe -- just sugar on it. Not because she needed it, but because it was her way to celebrate her return to that spot. There was a protest going on. Drumming. Marching in a circle around and around. Algerians drawing attention to their illegal status and their fear of reprisals. Buskers were warming up on one of the plateaus on the way down. She wanted to watch them, but you know how busking goes. First there is the warm-up, gathering the crowd, getting them to buy in to the idea that they will be paying after the performance.

Fabulous hair in a fabulous city on a fabulous woman.
Of the three of us, Rebecca is the one that other tourist's target when they want someone to take a picture of them.

I suspect that the psychedelic colours that her hair dresser gave her before she left Victoria make her accessible to them.

She obliges every request after asking them if they want a long shot or a close up or shoulder shots.

She even went over to a family of 11 members to help them out, but they dispersed before they saw she was going to help them.

The three of us walked on down the steps and across the Seine to the tower.

The tourists were shoulder to shoulder. Line-up were long and three or four deep.

We shared past stories of visiting this spot. Arta with the Jarvis children. Rebecca with her boys. Bonnie with Rebecca and a host of pigeons 30 years before.

You really walked up the stairs last time you were here?
The cost of key chains that have the Eiffel Tower on them ranges from 4 for a Euro to 10 for a Euro.

About every two minutes someone comes by to ask if we want to buy some.

Brightly coloured scarves emblazoned the the tower and the word PARIS are also on their arms. The price is 4 for 10 Euros.

I wonder if I want one of every colour and then I remember how scratchy they are -- good for wrapping on the handle of a purse, but not good for keep the wind off of my neck.

Rebecca had in mind for us to walk down the Champs Elysee.

We left the tourist hustle and bustle an walked through avenues that were filled with embassies until through the trees she saw L'Arc de Triomphe.

Protestations - government austerity measures do not work.
We hadn't found the way to get around the traffic circle and into the arch before we saw part of today's citizen protests -- the part done by motorcyclists who had gather at the circle and stopped traffic there.

They motorcycles seemed to have gathered within the space of a minute. 

Maybe hundreds of them.

 One of the cyclist rode all the way around the circle, a red torch in ihs hand, white smoke billowing into the air.

 I could smell the fumes and wondered how Bonnie was going to do with that.

Almost lost Flat David in a windy moment at the Arc de Triomph.
We heard the sound of sirens, saw the regular traffic there come to a stand still, and asked the man selling ice cream from his moveable wagon to explain to us what the protest was about. Rebecca translated -- "Manifestastions. A protest about austerity." In the late evening we went out to the Paris news to read more.

I loved the walk today down the Champs Elysee. I can't really make sense of that since in the past four days I have seen museums that hold world treasures. Every five minutes or so something comes before my eyes that is so astonishing, so amazing.  Something I have read about and never dreamed I would see. And now, out of the blue, I am completely unprepared for it.

 There are so many moments in time where I think … well, the day can't get any better than this. And then the day does get better. That part of my holiday has been exhausting. So much to see. So much to hold in my mind. So many questions to be answered when I get home. So many connections from the past being made.
Place Concoria

That is why the walk today was so restful. None of that greatness. Just ordinary lives being lived along the sidewalks of Paris. Seeing little families walking along the avenue pushing babies in high seated baby buggies, toddlers riding motor scooters alongside their parents, tourists with brand name shopping bags in their arms, cafes full of people resting with a glass of wine or a demitasse of strong coffee. I laughed at the clever buskers at the Place de Concorde -- golden statues that children went to investigate and when they did, the busker would offer to shake the hand of the child, then bringing that little thing in close so that the parents would have to take a picture and then pay.

All three of us marvelled at the cars for rent at the Place de Concordia. Proches. For 89 Euros you can rent that car for 10 minutes and drive it around the circle. Bright red and canary yellow. Bonnie was hoping that none of the renters got caught in the protests as they drove those rental cars, for it they did, their bill would have been pretty high by time the traffic moved and they got back to the rental office -- which was just a man standing by the curb waiting for his next customer.
Near the Louve, in Tullier's Garden.

The Palais Royale has an exhibition about August Ceasar, celebrating 2000 years since his death. There is a false facade on the building that was so interesting I pulled myself over to look at it. Then Rebecca saw an exhibition of Robert Mayerthrope going on in the same building. The price to get in was 13 euros. I could feel that magnetic draw toward using the last hour of the evening to see the exhibit, knowing full well that it would be a complete waste of money for by 8 pm I am pretty well too tired to take in anything of substance.

The Endive salad with oranges,  or the one with corn and olives?
So we came home, stopping at the Monoprix again to buy just enough for supper. Go out? Or pick up a few things an eat at home?

 Rebecca was promising to make an endive salad filled with tomatoes, olives, corn and walnuts. It was a slam dunk as to which choice to make.

The dinner was delicious at home. And now both Bonnie and Rebecca are too tired to stay up and have gone to bed. We have all had our days when collapse has been imminent. Bonnie was totally exhausted two days ago. White as a sheet. Last night i came home and went right to bed -- I didn't care about food or drink or company.

Another day in Paris, coming to a close.
Rebecca finally caved tonight, but not until 11:30 pm and after showing us the most beautiful Paris sunset that she photographed while Bonnie and I were in the Monoprix picking out a sharp cheese to use on the salad. 

Too bad, Rebecca said about her picture. Tonight's sunset looks better than the one I photographed last night, which in my mind is still superior, though it doesn't have the same colours. Yes that view from the Dorsey looking toward the Eiffel tower and seeing the rim of Paris against the horizon is pretty amazing.

I sure wish Rebecca would have had the energy to blog the pictures for me. But I can't wish too hard. She has been doing the hard work of planning excursions, finding bus routes, looking for museum prices, figuring out what buildings are open, doing the menu planning and getting some amazing photography moments.


1 comment:

  1. How many days do you have left in Paris? Or maybe the three of you are already home. Sigh.