Monday, January 09, 2006

Paris Day2

Day 2 began with a visit to the Basilique du Sacre Coeur the Sacred Heart Basilica. It was conceived as a symbol of thanksgiving at the end of the Franco-Prussian War. The basilica is at the top of Montmartre. You can either take the cable car to reach the top or climb the steps as we decided. Inside the basilica photography is not allowed so I cant get you any images from there but on the roof is a huge painting which depicts Jesus.. couldnt catch the context of the painting and there was no one around whom I could ask....some very beautiful stained glass work.. and very peaceful... since it was early morning not many people were there.

On our way out we met a group of Indians (yes Indians are everywhere in Paris) whom we met last day at the Chateau. Turns out they are guys from my company who are working in a project in London. During our entire stay in Paris we bumped into each other many times. Beware of the people at the foot of the basilica who will approach you and ask for money. Best thing is to ignore them and they dont pester you for long. In the neighborhood is Place du Tertre where you will find many caricature artists. From the top of the basilica the whole city looks very beautiful and the view is wonderful.
Next Stop Eiffel Tower. We got down at Trocadero station and approached the Eiffel from the Palais de Chaillot side. This way you get to see the Eiffel from a distance and the palace as well.(If u get down at the Passy station u surface right at the foot of Eiffel). The vast green expanse beneath the tower is the Parc du Champs-de-Mars which contain the Trocadéro fountains. Luckily they were running when we were there. Seeing Eiffel had a spellbinding effect on me and I remember not moving for a minute...
Gustave Alexandre Eiffel built it for the 1889 Universal Exhibition. It wasn't meant to be permanent but then they placed the Radio transmission, and later TV transmission, on it and hence it survived. What a shame it would have been had they demolished the structure. Anyways we got the tickets (Euro 10.70) n started the ascent on Eiffel. We went straight to the top taking the lifts and decided to take the steps on our way down. That way it is less tiring. The view from the top is a sight to behold. On a clear day you can see upto 60 kms, but the day we visited it was slightly clouded so my guess is we were seeing upto 30 kms or something.
The tower has 3 platforms at 57.63 mtrs, 115.73 mtrs and 276.13 mtrs. First level has a restaurant, souvenir shops and an ice skating rink> The second level again has a restaurant. The top level has some scenes captured in statues like Eifel meeting Edison. On all the levels there are telescopes which need 2 Euros to operate. Do see the city through these. We walked down from level 2 to level 1 and all the way there are placards pasted which mention some facts realted with Eiffel e.g. Mata Hari was caught in 1914 coz the Eiffel intercepted her transmissions.

"You shall go home beneath triumphal arches" Napolean promised his army after the battle of Austerlitz in 1805. Another of Paris's symbol - Arc de Triomph. Much like our very own, and my beloved, India Gate. So many evenings spent in the sprawling India Gate lawns, all came back rushing in one go. It is surrounded by 12 great avenues converging in a star shape - Etiole. There are subways to reach the Arc and for GOD sake people dont try to run through the traffic. Its way too dangerous. The Arc is gray in color but miraculously changes color at night when it looks the best. Anyways it has the "tomb of the unknown soldier" much like our desi Amar Jawan Jyoti. Beautiful statues mark all the pillars of the arc. I guess it is the highest arc in the world.
The Arc is at one end of Champs Elysées (Elysian fields) and the other end is Musée du Louvre (Louvre Museum).

So from Arc de Triomph we start walking down Champs Elysées. Les Invalides, Petit Palais, Pont Alexander III, Jardines des Tuileries fountain, Place de la Concorde, Ferris Wheel and many such more enchanting sights greet you on the Champs Elysées. The best brands set up their shop here. Mercedes, Toyota, Peugot, Louis Vitton, Christian Dior, Chanel and many such more names which I dont have the power to recall. Shopper's Paradise.

Finally we headed back to the Eiffel in the evening for the Siene boat ride and to catch the the lady at night.
Need I say more.

(BTW in case u r interested in catching all the rest of the pics from Paris I will post the link in my next post. Stay tuned!!)


....R.A.J.A.... said...

Your blog is among my favorites. I liked the pics in this posts in particular. Nice sepia tone to the Eiffel Tower pic. Overall, wonderful post.
How long will you be there in Denmark? Is there anything worth seeing in Denmark? I have some frequentFlyer miles with which I can manage an Europe tour.

Voice said...

Again nics pics... esp of Eiffel Tower.

Someone had a awesome christmas :)

Siege Perilous said...

class pics !!
Lallu miyaan is having all d fun !! :)
Towers pics are just tooooo gooood....
Grrr..yahan bhi image verification x-(

Rohit Talwar said...

awesome! loved reading..

and...the eiffel tower pics r soooo amazing!

the link you r talking about is the webshots one?

Megha said...

amazing yar
wht lovely pic.
tumhe toh bada maja aaya hoga