Saturday, August 29, 2015

Paris Greeter Walk - The Islands

The meeting place was  Pont Marie Metro Station, Alain was waiting and after Alain explained where we were going and some of the history we headed off.

We were going to explore Ile Saint-Louis one of the most expensive areas to live in Paris. 
Strolling through we passed many heritage plaques and  grand doorways that hid courtyards. We also came across the Bakery school and the story of Heloise and Abelard - the french Romeo and Juliette as Alain explained it to me.
Turning a corner there right on the sidewalk a petrol pump? It was explained that because of the crowded conditions they don't have petrol stations like ours and it was out front of a garage - mechanic's store. 
We wandered through narrow cobbled streets and past small shops and cafe's. This is the smaller of the islands and one resident has never left in over 30+ years as everything needed is right here.

Dolphin Down pipe

Grand Doorway and Dolphin Down pipe

Now that's a mixing bowl

Artwork at The Bakery School

Old Map

A Petrol Bowser 

Looking towards Notre Dame

Heloise and Abelard

The Lovers Gates

Down narrow streets

The flood level in 1910

Wine Bar steeped in History

Heaps of history here

On the Rue De Colombe is steeped in history the above photo shows both a Dove which is another love story and the faded street sign to the left of the lamp is an old Roman street sign - preserved.

We moved on to the oldest flower market in Paris and also to Notre Dame, Alain and I had coffee at the obligatory sidewalk cafe and the waiter kindly took our photo. We walked past the Palace of Justice and The Conciergerie - The First Prison.
A very informative and fun few hours with a greeter who's love for their city shone through.

If you'd like to know more about the area's I visited in Paris, this link is for you.

With My Paris Greeter Alain

First 'Public' clock in Paris at the Palace of Justice

Notre Dame

Original Roman Cobbles and Tile for St Catherine

The queue is for the Tower 

Tile for St Nicholas - Father Christmas
  That evening I went on a 2 hour cruise down the River Seine and made a new friend, Mariana, who hails from Brazil. She thought I was very brave to be travelling alone and couldn't wait to tell her Mum in hope of encouraging her to do likewise. Please note Mariana was travelling alone also, we chatted about our travels and we parted at The Eiffel Tower as Mariana was going to climb it.
I told her to keep an eye out for that elusive 'Semolina Pilchard'.
An ideal life

See those spiky things don't work

The other Statue of Liberty

Crowds at the Louvre even after it's closed for the day

Feeling much safer - Armed Soldiers
Police on Roller Blades

As we know Paris has had some troubles recently and I felt much safer after seeing Armed Soldiers and Police on Roller Blades patrolling the street, especially around the tourist centres.

My Paris sojourn was over and also this Trip of a Lifetime, I had a fab time and one day, if I win Lotto, I'd love to return and revisit some places.
 I've learnt alot and made many friends along the way.

I must say Thank You to a few people, especially my Travel Agent Miles at Travel Associates East Gosford, he took my brief - I just want to see Beatle related sites in the UK - spend a couple of days in Ireland and a week in London - and ran with that.
What a great job, so Thanks Miles I owe you a beer or three!

To all who have followed my journey both here and on Facebook, 
and to those 'real life' people whom I met and supped with Thanks for being a part of the journey and also for pointing out places I may have overlooked.
You know who you are!

 Next stop was Perth WA for a catch up with and 'old' friend. I say 'old' as I did meet him when I started school in 1955!
I had a great 3 day R&R with Bryan and Noeline, caught up on places I known back in 1970-something when I lived in Perth for a short while.
The city sure has grown since then, even Kings Park and it's view but that's progress for you

Semolina Pilchard climbing up the Eiffel Tower

I couldn't spot one but that dosen't mean that it wasn't there, and I didn't see a walrus nor an eggman either.
Here are the photo's I took from various angles, maybe you can spot one?

As I had become used to crowds of people everywhere I went, what got me in Paris was the number of hawkers everywhere and also beggars.

Found this in Paris 
Even the Eiffel Tower is 'Walking on Cherry Shoes'

Bon jour! Parlez-vous anglais?

 Heaven help me, I'm going to Paris and I don't speak French nor understand it!

Leaving from St Pancras Station, you carry your own luggage on board.
They do have luggage slots at the front and back of each coach, but I'd been hoping to check mine as I had wanted to check out Platform 9 and 3/4 before I headed off. It wasn't meant to be.
The Eurostar - the train to Paris, was quite crowded and I was lucky to have a seat to myself. You do get a fairly decent view of the countryside as you are leaving London and also on coming into Paris.
Arriving in Paris  it hits you how every other country you've been in looks after us 'foreginers' with dual language signage. Not here, everything is in French, and asking for assistance as politely as possible, only leads to shoulder shrugs, and finger pointing - by way of directions.

How I got to my hotel was a miracle in itself.
Once there a different 'French' came out.
I was looked after as if I was Royalty. My bags brought up to my room, anything I wanted was no trouble, I just wanted a cuppa!

I was here and my only Bucket List item in Paris was to look for a "Semolina Pilchard climbing up the Eiffel Tower".

I walked out into a hot summers afternoon, about 26 degrees, and decided to discover Paris for myself.
I needed refreshment and went looking for something to eat along the way.
My hotel was just round the corner from the Louvre and not far from a statue of Joan Of Arc. Very central.

The Louvre
Not a big as the London Eye

One of the many statues around the gardens

Sitting in the sun
Baguette and a beer

Both these waiters want to visit Australia

I feasted on a baguette and a local French beer 1664, it's a wheat beer looks cloudy but the taste hit the spot. The waiters were quite chatty, one asked me if I met a big shark? I worked out he meant a Great White and I told him I'd never met one in person. That waiter wants to visit the Northern Territory and see a crocodile farm and perhaps work on one.

Buy a Love Lock 

These are now illegal
Although, as you can see,  you are still able to buy a Love Lock but they are being outlawed as they are starting to break the bridges that they have been attached to.
Since June this year workers have been removing entire panels of the bridges with the locks attached. 45 tonnes of locks have been removed from one bridge alone. The weight is causing structural damage to these bridges that are as old as Paris itself.
Assemblee Nationale

Boules by the River Seine

A Map of the World

Looking down the river

Overcrowded river cruise

Finally in the distance I spy the Eiffel Tower!
Look to the right of the crane

So my investigations begin!