Paris by night Sunday, Dec 9 2012 

Palais Garnier

My last night in Paris and I had thought of getting the metro to eat away from the hotel area, but my searches for somewhere to eat had not been that good this trip, no out and out failures but nothing to shout about either, so I decided to plump for the nearest place to my hotel in Place d’Italie and this was near the metro entrance, well it turned out to be a pleasant surprise the waiter spoke English and showed me the plat du jour of pork on the way to another table, this looked good to me and it was fine, and I would have no problems eating there again considering how close it was to the hotel also. My weary legs had been rested and I had the option of a few trains in the morning I decided to have a wonder around the touris centre so I took the Pink line 7 metro up towards the Pyramides, I decided to get off before the Opera as I had no great wish to see it, getting off the metro I was greeted by a Cornish fellow who I had seen around on my travels and he approached a religious person out of their working gear, I knew this as I had also seen him on my travels. Whilst I got my bearings and the dialogue between the two ended the Cornishman approached me and we talked about Cornwall and where I had visited as a fisherman, when he got to find out I was from Jersey off he went saying I was from a wealthy island and could afford him some money for a drink etc, I got away in a friendly parting but did not want to spend the evening arguing the toss with him again so took a detour and after some walking and losing my bearings I ended up at the Opera the Palais Garnier !  this was a pleaing site lit up and with only a gentle flow of people, I decided to get back on the metro and get back to the Louvre area where I really wanted to be, on arrial  it was very quiet and I had a pleasant time wondering around the square and through the buildings.

Louvre

I then thought about going off to the Eiffel Tower to see the lights but decided a stroll by the Seine was a better option. I walked a short way along the river edge and then went up to the road and headed towards the Gare d’Austerlitz which is currently undergoing some major improvements and I decided to get the metro and off to the hotel.

Seine

In the morning I got up around seven, I could have stayed in Paris for the day and arrived in St Malo late evening but I was not keen on the idea, so opted for a morning train, there was one very early but I strolled along to the station around nine as the metro was not to mad and I squeezed on with my bags with the odd frowns from commuters trying to exit on later stops, there appears to be no sort of protocol at stops people try and get on and off at the same time, one would think a few seconds to allow those to get off the right of way, but no a little melee and side stepping dance ensues. As it happened I got to Mont Parnasse station with a train leaving in a few minutes, as it happened I might have caught it but booked a ticket for the next one in an hour at 10 which went directly with little difference in price, I played around with the machine looking at a possible trip to the Verdun area to look up my Wimbée routes, with Nicolas Wimbée  b ?- died 1813 Jersey, it would appear fleeing the Revolution and arriving in Jersey and starting a family there.

My train trip was an uneventful one with a fair amount of fog and I eventually nodded off only to be awoken by the guard wanting my ticket. I had thought of a night stay in Rennes but as it happened things worked out okay in St Malo.

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Mont Parnasse cemetery Wednesday, Dec 5 2012 

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Having enjoyed my visits to the Granville cemeteries I had decided to continue the theme and visited Mont Parnasse and later on I went to Montmartre and out of the two I certainly found Mont Parnasse the more scenic and to me interesting, although many of the graves meant very little to me so I was pleased to come upon Alexander Alekhine (1892–1946) Russian born world chess champion who died suspiciously in Portugal. The mixture of tradional and artistic graves in an open setting made walking around the well kept paths added to the experience. I look forward to visiting Père Lachaise cemetery on my next Paris visit.

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A striking stone highlighted by the bareness of what I think is Virginia creeper.

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An artists piece left as a shrine.

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This sculpture is the centre piece of the cemetery and is entitled “Genie du Sommeil Eternel” or “Angel of Eternal Sleep”. The 1889 bronze piece is by Horace Daillion (1854-1937). It depicts a male angel with a bouquet of flowers.

Paris Monday, Dec 3 2012 

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This time last year I visited Paris properly for the first time staying 4 nights in two different hotels one some distance from the Defense an Ibis which was fine if a little off the tourist trail but it was not far from where my cousin lives so served its purpose, the other I booked through the tourist office and was not far from the Bastille and was better suited to me needs as it had a decent restaurant nearby. This time I had booked the Ibis at Place d’Italie this I had done whilst in Granville at the Ibis next to the marina with the help of the receptionist who found me the reduced offer of 8o euro per night, to which I added another night on at 130! I had hoped to stay an extra night as I found out the first reasonable timed boat back to Jersey was on the  following Friday, I also had no great wish to swap hotels just for a night. With my schedule being open I was wondering if I was going to extend my stay and thought it best to make sure I had adequated funds in my current account so I decided to look for a possible Barclays, the one in my dated guidebook was no longer there, and I did find one by the Champs-Élysées but this was an investment bank and I was unable to access my account, there are numerous Barclays in Paris I presume they are all for those wanting to put their money into offshore accounts in Jersey! I did try on the phone but the number I was given in Jersey was not the right one and after being passed on, cut off, or given someone with very little understanding of the situation I gave up, and then I discovered I had the right number in my wallet and the issue was solved in 1o minutes, a similar thing happened last year so I will be prepared next time.

The hotel was clean tidy and the staff were friendly and helpful, the first few nights were noisy with weekend idiots going off their heads in the middle of the night and police whistles and horns echoing around, this was a little surprising as my room looked out onto a courtyard that was only semi open on one side to the street. The good thing was I not far from the metro with three lines passing through and only four or so stops from Mont Parnesse station where I had arrived and where I would depart from. I purchased a five day metro pass for 44 euro I think, which also covers you for some of the buses but I did not use one this time. Restarunt wise I chose to eat in an tidy place done out with old wood shelfs and old bits and pieces this was off the main round about, the third noght I got the metro down a few stops towards the river but this although cheaper was not as good a quality, and on the last night I ate at a place across from the metro which I had bypassed the previous nights, this was to turn out to be best place all round with a friendly waiter who spoke good English. On my penultimate day I also discovered the shopping mall across the other side of the road which had just about everything one needed including a supermarket.

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I paid my first visit to Arc de Triomphe which had christmas stalls all along the Champs-Élysées leading up to it after seeing a few I took to the pavement out of the way, it certainly is an impressive area and the arch itself is a wonderful bit of Napolenic extravagence that is to be seen so much over Paris, with rememberance day only a few days past all the war monuments that I was to see on my travels were well decorated with flags and flowers and dedications to all those involved who suffered with their loss of life.  There was also plenty of extravagence on show in the shop windows with many of the major brands showing off their goods. Inside the arch the names who served the Revolution and Empire, those that died are underlined.

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There were a couple of demonstrations on the weekend I was there the first one was against gay couples being allowed to adopt, and this appeared to entail the whole family children included going on a march, I did not see it but saw hundreds of people on the metro or waiting to get on. the Other I was fairly close to and saw all the police getting prepared, this was the Arabs protesting about the conflict in Palestine, this I could hear from Mont Parnesse and it sounded a heated affair I was tempted to go and see, in the end I was pleased I did not, the sirens went on for most of the night so not sue exactly went on, by what is on you tube it looked a tame affair.

An Bollenessor

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