Paris Honeymoon Diary: Day 6

Posted: 24th June 2008 by Luc "Sandman" G. in Life

For the first time since we arrived in Paris, the sun was out, the sky was blue and it was warm. For our previous 5 days, it was always very cloudy, grey and cool, which is perfect when you’re doing a lot of walking around. The weather was perfect as we were going to be spending the majority of the day outside. We arrived early at our first destination, the Pantheon, only to find a sign stating the building would not open for another 30 minutes due to a staff meeting. So we sat in front of the Pantheon and enjoyed the sunshine, all while doing some people watching. Right on the dot, the doors to the Pantheon were opened and we made our way in.

The Pantheon itself was built as a church in the 1700s, and is now a mausoleum for the interment of famous Frenchmen. Inside the Pantheon also exists a scientific experiment devised in the 1800s that demonstrates the rotation of the earth. From the top of the dome, a swinging pendant hangs over a 360 degree circle marked by hours and minutes. The pendulum continuously swings, showing the proper time as the earth rotates.

We took part of a tour that took us all around the building, including up to second floor, then up again to the dome and outside on the roof. These are usually closed to visitors unless you take part in the tour. As with everywhere else in Paris, there were spiral staircases to climb to get to the various areas. The view from the roof gave us another spectacular view of Paris.

The guided tour over, Erin and I then made our way to the basement where the mausoleum is found. There we saw the tombs of Voltaire, Pierre & Marie Curie, Louis Braille along with many military leaders and even some royalty from other countries. After visiting the mausoleum we grabbed a bite to eat and grabbed some tshirts from a generic Paris souvenir shop. We also took half an hour and hit a nearby cybercafe to send some emails home and catch up on Canadian news.  We then hit the metro for our next destination.

Our next stop was the Arc de Triomphe. As soon as we climbed the stairs from the metro to the street level, we were accosted by gypsies pulling some tricks to try and pickpocket our goods (I’ll post a blog article on that very subject once the diary is completed). Thankfully I was aware of their tricks and just ignored them. We walked up to the Arc, snapped some pictures, then made our way yet another long spiral staircase to the roof. I swear if I never see another spiral staircase in my lifetime it won’t be soon enough! The climb was worth it though, as we were able to see yet another breathtaking view of the city. After making our way back down, we admired the arc some more and paid our respects to the tomb of the unknown soldier that lies at the foot of the building.

Crossing the street to our next destination, we were again accosted by the same gypsies. They are very persistent! Erin was now in heaven, as we were at the famed Champs Elysees, the most prestigious avenue in Paris and the 2nd most expensive strip of real estate in the world (next to New York’s 5th Avenue). We were surrounded by cafes, luxury specialty shops, cinemas and expensive restaurants. We spent the afternoon shopping. Erin picked up a couple of tops and a purse as the straps on the one she had broke. I had a blast visiting the Virgin Megastore, perusing their music section and huge manga selection. I came out of that store with 2 CDs that you’d never find in North America . A CD by a talented French singer named Louisy Joseph, and a CD of Metallica songs turned into lullabies.

After an afternoon and early evening of shopping, we had supper on the Champs d’Elysee at a fast food place that’s only found in France and Belgium (as far as I’m aware) called Quick. As far as fast food goes, this was one of the better burgers I’ve had. Erin had always raved about going to Quick on her last trip so I was glad that I could finally see what all the fuss was about.

Exhausted from all the climbing and walking, we staggered our way back to the hotel after picking up some fruit for the next day’s breakfast. With the long day behind us, it didn’t take long for us to hit the bed. Turning on the TV, we heard mention of a mini-strike that would affect the metro system. We could only hope that it wouldn’t affect our last two days in Paris much. With heavy eyelids, we watched the news until we both fell asleep.

> Photo Gallery Link: Pantheon

> Photo Gallery Link: Arc de Triomphe

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