Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Au Revior!

Alright one last post as I wait in line to check in at de Gaulle.

I had most of today since my flight's not until 7:45p so I took advantage of it to check out some of the major sites. I really had my heart set on Musée d'Orsay but this how the line looked:

Needless to say I thought I'd hang around with this group rather than wait around...

At the time I didn't know what was up with all the pomp and circumstance so I just kept on biking around. 

This is the famous lock bridge, Pont des Arts - where you and your partner attach a lock and throw away the key. But now the government is trying to end the practice since all the weight is comprising the structure. The policemen closed off access so the workers could start removing the locks. 

Also the Français didn't seem to take too kindly to this ad...

Next I made my way back to the Arc de Triomphe - there is something fascinating about it as such a symbol of the French nation, the highs and lows -- Napoleon built it to commemorate his victories, Nazi's marched underneath it, and Tour de France races around it. Today it looked very different then when I rode by yesterday, the circle surrounding it is usually a mass of 8 lanes or so of traffic but today it was empty and those fancy cavalry riders where just outside of it on the Champs-Élysées.
empty traffic circle surrounding the Arc de Triomphe
Turns out there was a state visit about to begin. After a couple minutes of waiting the French President, Francois Hollande arrived, followed shortly by the Spanish King Felipe IV.

Anyway --- a pretty neat way to end the trip.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Parsian irony

Some more exploring was in the cards yesterday. Just outside the core of Paris is a more modern area of the city called La Defense. Within Paris itself there are no skyscrapers (well there is one) so many are located in this area. Also here is a huge arch that contrasts nicely with the Arc de Triomphe. 
Huge Grande Arche in La Defense

On my way back to the city center I biked through a huge park. At some point I turned a corner and there were numerous ladies of night, all in various stages of undress - even though it was broad daylight at 4p in the afternoon right on the main road through the park. Then about 100 yards away was the most sedate, manicured gardens. In here a policeman blew his whistle at me and furiously told me no bike riding. Of course I thought 'do you have any idea what is going on just around the corner!'
No I didn't take pictures of the other activities in the park!

Gorgeous Parsian architecture pops up in the most unexpected places

Viva la France!

Final dinner with Lonnie and friend Sarah - escargot, roast duck, fois gras, and crime brûlée and a Emile Pernot digestif to end the meal in style.