What can anyone say but – WONDERFUL. In case no one has said it to you I will – Paris is WONDERFUL.

With departure for sunnier shores imminent, a trip to Paris was imperative. My dear dear friend Matthew joined me and we OD’d on art, big time. Obligatory Louvre visit (I’d like to include diagrams here of why the Mona Lisa experience shows up humans for the idiots they are, but really, diagrams are boring aren’t they? Unless of course they show you how rich you are. That’s if you’re rich of course. Even more boring if they show you how poor you are…) but the BEST was the Musee D’Orsay. Manet, Pissarro, Sisley, Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir, art deco interiors, I could go on and on. You must go visit for yourself.

I took the Eurostar, great way to travel. Scenery not much to look at so it turned into an art project (of course).

I decided to walk from the Gare Du Nord to our hotel in the Latin Quarter, got off to a flying start in the sore feet department. Dare I say it, the men in Paris are very forward. I was followed by TWO within 10 minutes of arriving at the station, one persisted and even tapped me on the arm despite my best ignoring skills. So put on my best librarian face and he vamoosed sharpish! I knew that face would come in handy one day. 20 minutes later another ‘gentleman’ took up conversation (without even having seen my face first…) and was harder to get rid of, but nice enough. I think I managed to get across I was meeting a friend, anyway he seemed to get the hint!

Finally I made it to the Seine, and that view you always see in the movies.

We saw about a quarter of the Louvre… along with hoards of other people.

Popped by Notre Dame, whose massive queue was the fastest moving in history. Unfortunately the queue to climb up was not so accommodating and our stomachs won the day.

The devotional candles were impossible to pass by without a pic or two.

Near our hotel is a street with at least 6 comic/manga stores. One had a Tin Tin display in the window – pretty cool.

We dined at Restaurant Chartier, recommended by Joel as a quintessentially French experience, which it was. Straightforward fare but very very good. Lots of mirrors, ornate flourishes and old school waiters. Afterwards we stopped in at a restaurant designed like an old fashioned train carriage. Red velvet lined booths, lots of brass. Kitch but oh so fun!

The balcony at Musée D’Orsay is perfect for Paris skyline photos. Impossible not to indulge like all the other tourists. I must say, a somewhat disturbing trend has developed, observed in both the galleries we visited. They allow photography of the artworks and people take happy snaps of their favourites, but not only that, pose with or without their loved ones next to the famous pieces as you might outdoors next to a monument. Generally they barely even seem to look at the art and just get in the way of everyone. I found it annoying, weird, sad and ultimately pointless.

Meandering up towards the station I happened on Cleopatra’s Needle and the Opera, and various other Parissienne sights. Got in the way of everyone whilst taking photos of them… 😉

Then back to the train based art project and homeward bound…

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