We have now had 2 full days in Paris and the Nurofen tablets have had a hammering. That's what happens when you are not used to walking 4 - 5 klm's a day on hard pavements.
On day 1 we went to the Marche des Enfants Rouge which is a food market that has been running continuously since 1615. In English this is translated as market of the red children ... So named because the site (prior to 1615) was an orphanage and the children were dressed in red to identify their status. We didn't go there to stock up on fruit and veg...but we had been told they serve good street food We chose Morrocan which was great.
From there we wandered passed Moulin Rouge fighting our way past the other tourists just to get a photo of what I must say is a very unimpressive building. We ended the day at a cemetery (for those who don't know Jane loves looking at old dead things.... that's why she hangs around with me). We met a young Italian lady equally interested in the dead remains of famous people. She fortunately had an iPhone app (which caught my interest as this was an app I had obviously neglected to download prior to leaving Oz). She was able to assist in the location of some of these famous dead people.
Although up at 6am on day 2, we didn't get started until 11am.... well after all we are on holidays. We thought we would go to Notre Dame as we didn't visit the Cathedral last time we were there. Armed with all my ipad apps including maps and the metro route planner we ended up at a Metro station called Notre Dame de Lorrette. Now any reasonable person would have assumed that this would get you to within 10 metres of this famous Cathedral.... But in fact it was at least 3 - 4 klm's away. The other disappointing thing was that another of my ipad apps said there wasn't even anything of any interest in the vicinity and that our best option was to get out of there ASAP. Not wanting to walk the 3- 4 klm's to Notre dame we hopped back on the Metro. The ipad metro calculator app gave me 2 choices.... either a longer journey of 30 mins with only one change.... Or only 18 min journey with 3 changes. Well you guessed it, I settled for the shorter time but with more hopping on and off with train changes. The first lesson from this is don't always choose what appears to be the quickest way. After a couple of metro changes we discovered the line that would get us within 100 metres of Notre Dame was closed for maintenance. The second lesson is an ipad app will not tell you whether a particular metro line is closed for maintenance. So we ended up walking the remainder of the way which did make me feel a little less guilty later on when I tucked into a pastry.
The Cathedral was very impressive ... But being a Sunday was infested with tourists... Didn't anyone know that Bruce and Jane were in town? The line for the free tour inside was at least 400 metres long. Now not a patient man I was content with a wander around the outside. Interestingly, around at a side entrance there was a shorter line to gain entry for those who had pre-planned and purchased (for a reasonable sum of money) the Paris Pass which boasts of the fact that you "bypass the queues" if you are willing to fork out the euro. Well this line while shorter than the "free" entry, still looked like over a 150 metres long.... And as they only let a certain number of people into the cathedral at a time, the line was not moving or getting shorter. I thought what "suckers" or in French "ventouses". Lesson number 3 on day 2 was never believe everything you are offered when a tourist.
Our next stop was the Concierge. This was once a palace but very early on was given over to a government administrative centre. During the revolution this was the place where monarchists and people suspected of being anti revolutionary were held and went before the tribunal. The building still had the original cells including the one that held Marie Antoinette.
Being a Sunday and a lovely sunny 20 degrees, every Parisian was out sitting in any public area possible with a chair and a picnic. It didn't even matter if it was gravel (all grassy areas were roped off and you weren't allowed to sit there). The prime locations, or so it seemed was the small concrete fountain/ponds (with or without a fountains). People pulled chairs up to these ponds and had their picnics, talked and read (see photo attached). While strange, it did strike us that most people in the main parts of Paris live in apartments with no back yards and so public space is the only way you can really sit outside. Not sure what the attraction is sitting up close to a man made concrete pond!
Our last stop was Place de la Concorde. This was previously named Place de la Louis XV. Following the revolution it was renamed Place de la Revolution and was where the guillotine was erected and used extensively including over 1300 executions in 1 month. Some years after the area was renamed again to Place de la Concorde.
Following some nurofen and a cup of tea, we ended up in bed at around 8.30am. End day 2 in Paris.