Friday, August 28, 2015


We stayed in the Champagne area an extra night so we could go to Paris for the day by train rather than drive in. It was only an hour or so on the train and we arrived at Paris Est railway station before 8.00 a.m.

Then we walked down towards the Seine through a rather seedy and rundown area, past people asleep on the footpath. Not a very impressive introduction to Paris. But then we sidetracked a block or so to find the Pompidou Centre which houses the library and a huge collection of modern art. It was still early  so it wasn't open but we could see the famous 'inside out' architecture of the building and we also saw the Stravinsky Fountain that features sculptures by de Sainte-Phalle and Tinguely (whose work we first saw in Basel five years ago).

Pompidou Centre
Stravinsky Fountain
Then we did a lot more walking, across the island that houses the Notre-Dame Cathedral and then along the left bank of the Seine River to the Musee d'Orsay. We didn't have time to visit all the museums and art galleries so we chose to go to just one. Our aim was to get to the museum at opening time so we could avoid the queues, and we were successful. It houses French Impressionist art so, after going through strict security, we saw lots of works by Van Gogh, Manet, Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, Gaugin et al. The building itself is impressive with three floors of displays of paintings, sculpture, furniture and art deco.

Our first glimpse of the tower.
The Seine River and the Louvre on the other bank. It is an amazingly long building!
Musee d'Orsay. It amazed me that we were allowed to take our cameras in.
The huge glass clock at Musee d'Orsay

Then we went to find the Eiffel Tower. By this time is was very hot and there were hoards of people. The queues to go up the tower were very, very long and we wondered how long people were willing to stand and wait. We just enjoyed seeing the structure from below and from a distance.

Gemma walked up to the Arc de Triomph and down Champs Elysees. I chose to walk back along the other side of the Siene to our appointed meeting spot, 'Cleopatra's Needle', the obelisk shipped from Luxor in Egypt.

Luxor obelisk
The queue waiting to fill their bottles at a water fountain. I joined them.
People-watching is so much fun.
The view up the extremely busy Champs Elysees from the obelisk. Cars and people everywhere.
Entrance to the Louvre
By then we were ready to go home. We found an underground train that took us back to Paris Est and then had a very comfortable trip back to the quieter vineyards of Epernay. I'm glad I've seen Paris but the only thing that would draw me back would be the art museums. And I wouldn't go in August!

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