Sunday, October 30, 2011

France - Paris and the Rugby World Cup Final

We got up early this morning - I had to see the whole of Paris in a day!!!  Well half a day really, as 2 hours of it was to be dedicated to a pub and watching the final of the Rugby World Cup.  The first thing we did was get the black eyeliner out and put black NZ on each others cheeks.  We wanted people to know we were supporting our boys in black!  We also dressed from head to toe in black!  Our first stop of the day was the Gare du Nord, the international train station, where we stored our luggage for the day.  That meant we were free to just metro to the station to catch our train to Amsterdam at 6pm.  Once the luggage was stored, it was off to Notre Dame which opened at 8am.  I wanted to see Notre Dame having studied it at school a few years ago!!  We arrived just as the sun was rising.  A pretty scene of the Seine!

As we left the Notre Dame we got some good natured ribbing from the ushers there.  I asked Sandrine to tell them in French that I had put in a prayer for the All Blacks.  They replied that the French Captain had tried that last time and it had failed!!

 Back of the Notre Dame...

 On the bridge near the Notre Dame tourists are leaving their padlocks on the bridge with their names on.  It's quite a sight!

 We went over to the St Michel area where we were last night and found a pub with a good sized TV.  Here are all the French singing their anthem enthusiastically and patriotically....  We made sure we sang our anthem as well :)
 Into the game a Ohhhhhhhhhhhh moment!
 Sandrine and Benedict and partner outside the pub afterwards.  We didn't whoop it up too loudly when we won as it wasn't a 'good win', AND it was only by one point.  Actually it was embarrassing!  However the pub was absolutely silent when France lost.  Je suis desolee pour France.
 It was now midday, and I still had a lot of sightseeing to do, so we excused ourselves from lunch and said goodbye to Sandrine and Benedicte.  I felt sad to leave them as they are so much fun to be with.

Anne and I made our way to the Louvre...  I had one hour to see the lot!!!
 An impossible feat with my slow sore foot and queues.  So Anne and I bypassed the queues and organised a wheelchair.  This got us free access, and avoided the crowds...
 This meant I got to go in front of the crowds viewing the Mona Lisa to get unhindered viewing - and a photograph!!
 Anne pushed me at 100kmh through the rest of the Louvre - I didn't realise just how big it was, and I have to admit, I was more interested in the building itself which was wonderful, than some of the art there!
 The spiral staircase....

 I actually hadn't realised how big the Louvre was - I thought it would be Auckland Museum size - how wrong I was!!
 At 1.30pm, we met up with Jeffrey and Liang again.  They were over from Morocco for a week for Jeffrey's 50 year medical checkup.  Does this mean the next one will be at 100years?
 We then decided to enjoy the afternoon together and just walk.  Jeffrey and Liang was able to tell us what everything was as Jeffrey had lived in Paris for a year when he was very young!!    Here's my first view of the Eiffel Tower...
 The Exhibition hall...

As we walked a lot of people came up and congratulated us, talked about the game, asked us for the score, teased us that we only won by one point etc...  Having the NZ on our cheeks certainly made Paris interact with us, and made it a fun day!
 We found a Maori exhibition at the museum.  By here my foot was killing me so we found a cafe to stop, take a drink and have a bit of a rest..  Liang took this photo for us.
 The Eiffel Tower...

We ended up at the Pompidou Building.  Note the lovely weather Paris gave us - blue skies and sun!!!  A beautiful city, easy to get around on both metro and bus and on foot.  Once again we had to say goodbye to Jeffrey and Liang - it was great seeing them twice, in two countries.  I miss them already - Jeffrey makes a wonderful porter.  I have to carry my own bag again!!!  Liang is fantastic at finding great spots to take photographs.  He took this shot - I was simply too short to take it over the crowds!!!  Being tall is definitely beneficial!!
We then headed to the station and caught our train to Amsterdam.  Another early start tomorrow!

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