Today walking about we experienced a mist all morning much like walking around the plunging falls at Niagara. This
would be an ideal day to be indoors and visit the Louvre. We took a cab to visit what we hoped to be one of the highlights
of our visit to Paris. When we arrived in the great open square with the pyramid at the navel of the entire complex it was
truly impressive. Even more impressive was the line up. We still felt it was worth lining up. We followed the line to get
in place at the end. It wove it serpentine length around the square out a portal, which we followed. On passing through the
portal we entered another square with another serpentined line up which exited through another portal. In our mind it would
take 5 hours to get in so with heavy heart we left.
our minds we contrasted when we visited Rome recently at Christmas. When we visited St Peters there were no line-ups and we
wandered easily throughout the great church with few people. When I came out I fell to my knees and cried out “a miracle,
a miracle” at the fact there were no line ups like there would be in the summer. How true the line ups would be at the
Louvre and more.
We then choose to visit Sacre Coeur a wedding
cake of a church high on hill of that also gives a great view of the city. I should have thought this one out. Misty, view
no. The Basilica of Sacred Heart, known as the National Vow, sits atop the Butte Montmartre. The National Assembly ordered
its construction in 1871 as part of a new “moral order” following the riotous events of the Paris Commune. This
was a reaction against the Government because of its loss in the Franco-Prussian war of 1871. With over 10 million visitors
a year is the second most visited monument after Notre Dame.
Next we then took a taxi out to the outskirts of Paris and Versailles. When the château was built, Versailles
was a country village; today, however, it is a suburb of Paris, some twenty kilometres southwest of the French capital. The
court of Versailles was the centre of political power in France from 1682, when Louis XIV moved from Paris, until the royal
family was forced to return to the capital in October 1789 after the beginning of the French Revolution. Versailles is famous not only as a building, but as a symbol of the system
of absolute monarchy of the Ancien Regime.
Well you guessed it. The 50 plus buses in the
parking lot should have been a clue that there would be serpentine line-ups. In front of the main building on the cobblestone
square tourist lined up for a view of how the rich lived in the past. We passed. We however did visit the grounds and the
patterned gardens, sculpture, fountains and ponds were fabulous. In fact Versailles was the gold standard that all Royal families
wanted a palace like it.
were then hungry and choose to eat in Versailles and found a restaurant called the La Taverne de Maitre Kanter. From the looks
of it outside and inside we thought it to be Swiss. As it turned out it was a chain that started in Alsace Lorraine and area
that switched back and forth between Germany and France over the year. I choose to have Clams Almond, Dover Sole meunière
and diet Profiteroles. Elizabeth had a unusual meal of duck, wiener, sausage and a slice of large bacon on Sauerkraut followed
by sorbet with small lemon zest and covered with Vodka. It was all-fantastic. One of the best meals so far. We waddled out
and grabbed a cab for the hotel.
On returning to the hotel Elizabeth decided to have a sleep and I choose to investigate how I would get
to the assembly area for the Bastille Day parade the following day. I rented a bike and ended up at the Arc de Tromphe. They
had mounted a giant French flag that filled the central arch. Up and down the Champs Elysees tri coloured banners in red,
white and blue were on every lamppost. I found some ladies that took my picture in exchange for my taking theirs. I then rode
down the route to Place Concorde. The road was marked out with line for the troops to follow the next day.
I added this experience to the fact I have run the Olympic course, spoke at Ephesus, followed the Via
Roma out of Rome and surprisingly skied Mt Etna. All along the route the street had been cleaned towards Place Concorde, bleachers
had been established for VIP’s and the cameras were in position atop cranes for getting the best shots. Where ever I
went in the downtown area young soldiers gathered and wandered about at leisure before marching smartly for the following
checked my bike in and wanted to visit Napoleon’s Tomb. I arrived a half-hour before closing and was not admitted. My
watch had the wrong time so I arrived at the wrong time. I returned to the hotel and woke Elizabeth to go for supper. We walked
four blocks away and were lucky again to find a restaurant with food we like. The times are changing. This time I had Country
Terrain and frog’s legs. Elizabeth had fish soup and green beans. In two words yum yum.
We then returned to the hotel and I to write this blog and sleeping beauty to bed. I have left a wake
up call for 7 a.m. tomorrow since the parade seems to start at 8 a.m. Imagine the Santa Claus parade or any other parade starting
at this hour.