Sunday, 6 January 2008

Paris: Part 5

On Sunday we woke up with a renewed determination that we would, at last, climb the towers of Notre Dame. We'd been defeated twice before and had planned to get up nice and early and get in queue in time to beat the masses. Of course, having spent the last several days storming through a large portion of Paris, we were completely knackered and didn't actually leave the apartment until well after our planned hour.

By the time we arrived at Notre Dame the queue was huge and moving forward at a snail's pace. We tried to convince ourselves this gave us an excellent opportunity to examine the outside of the cathedral, but really there's only so much of that you can do before boredom sets in. We sustained ourselves with crêpe au beurre et sucre (crepes with butter and sugar) from a nearby shop that was making a killing feeding the frozen tourists stuck in the queue along with us.

Once up the towers, however, the view over Paris was amazing and the gargoyles provided an amusing foreground for the spectacular panorama.

We inched our way around the outside of the towers before heading up the extremely narrow staircase to the very top which had the most amazing view of all. It was a long wait, but definitely worth it.

Once out of the towers again, we stopped to watch some rollerbladers who were doing an impressive job of slaloming between tiny witches-hats they had set up on the bridge near the cathedral. I gave them 80c, which I'm sure they appreciated.

From there we walked (actually half running, not wanting to miss another museum entry) to the Musée Rodin.

The Musée Rodin is actually both the old Hôtel Biron and its surrounding garden, which makes it a very relaxing spot to visit. I've got to say that while The Thinker and couple other of his works were quite impressive I would not rank myself amongst the greatest of Rodin fans, but it was still an interesting place to visit.

A friend from work had recommended we go to Centre Pompidou and have a drink at George's Restaurant on the top floor for the view over Paris. We dutifully visited the building, which was originally built in 1977 and recently renovated, and browsed the books and postcards at the bookshop before navigating our way up to George's. The view was indeed quite spectacular, and we blended into the high-fashion restaurant by whipping our our map and guide-book to plan our next steps while sipping on a glass of wine.

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