The Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, Notre- Dame. All pretty cool. The Arc de Triomphe. Champs-Elysees and the Palace of Versailles. Also, Cool. Montmartre, The Pantheon and Luxembourg Palace. More cool stuff. It seems that Paris has an almost endless list of fascinating things to do. It is a city so rich with history and culture it shouldn’t be a surprise that Paris is packed with places to visit. It is in this city that King Louis XVI was decapitated, where Napoleon was coronated and where the first trans-Atlantic flight landed, amongst countless other historical events.
Yet when I think back, nothing springs to mind about Paris. Me and Georgie spent a long weekend in the city of love checking off the sightseeing list and eating at little cafes, but nothing particularly amazing or outrageous is embedded in my memory. It was just a great time walking around, looking back into the city’s rollercoaster history and gazing upon its famous sites. There was a lot of standing in crowds gazing at buildings and just as much time queuing up to get inside or up them. The Louvre is the biggest art museum in the world and it would take more than a week to see everything in it, so our day inside was a rushed wonder. Queuing up to see the Mona Lisa, or rather, to engage in a maul in front of it, is a waste of time if you are in a rush as you only get a brief, uncomfortable glimpse of the tiny masterpiece. The view from the top of the Eiffel tower was cool, but the line to get up there was ridiculous and when you got up there, you could see all the famous landmarks, other than the tower itself. Looking up from the Champ de Mars gardens to the illuminated tower in the evening, accompanied by a bottle of wine, was a highlight, as was a day trip to the Palace of Versailles which my school history teacher was always talking about.
For all the glamour and elegance, there was an equal amount of dirt and squalor. Some of the shadier arrondissements were the opposite of the gleaming, fashionable areas flanking the filthy Seine. Trying to cross the road sometimes seemed impossible as the crazed Parisian drivers always seemed in a rush, maybe it was to get to the Mona Lisa early. Driving my old van around the Arc de Triomphe would be my idea of hell. But these are just minor complaints. Not enough to put me off, but having seen all that I went to see I am in no rush to return. Paris just seems reliable, to a certain point you know what you are going to get- good food, great sites and blaring horns at every road crossing.
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