Occasionally, and particularly around the Louvre, I spotted fully armed soldiers strolling through the crowds with their automatic weapons, not a sight you are likely to see in Invercargill even on a bad day! The terrorism threats are very real here. Scary stuff…!
Our days started with a taxi ride up to Sacre Coeur, a church in the Montmartre district. After, we strolled round through the artists’ market (where a nice gent reckoned I looked like one of the three musketeers and wanted to paint my portrait - for around 70 Euros!) and then sat for a coffee (or coca cola on my part in a quiet square. We caught the Metro (French version of the Underground) to near the Notre Dame cathedral, and went in there to look around.
This place absolutely blew me away, with it’s massive ceilings, stained glass windows, and the most amazing sense of peace and tranquillity, despite the throngs looking through the cathedral at the time. Like the Louvre yesterday, I was surprised at the amount of flash photography that was happening in these monuments (particularly the Louvre with the paintings) but no-one seemed to be too worried. It was a pain at the Mona Lisa as everyone tried to get their partners / friends to photograph them standing in front of the painting! The queues became a little clogged when this happened!)
We lunched at a lovely little slightly off the main street café (with a delightful waitress who was very patient with my inability to read a French menu!) and then we strolled back to the hotel. In the evening, we found a small café for a sandwich.
It has been funny seeing the reaction of the French when David explains I am from New Zealand... (actually, I think he was doing it deliberately after a bit). They would pause and say, "New Zealand? Ah, rugby! The All Blacks!!" heheh
Back to London tomorrow where I can offload the Paris photos, and start the process of tracking the citation for the medal!
I’m into my last week here now :o( I leave this coming Sunday, but have a stopover in Dubai before I arrive back in NZ late next week (bearing in mind that I lose the day moving through the dateline… confused? You won’t be after the next episode of ‘Soap!‘)
Back again tomorrow night! Hopefully with some encouraging news on the medal…