Last week my mum came to visit us in Palaiseau. She stayed for a week and we walked so much, she joked about requesting a wheelchair for the airport.
I’ve been to the cathedral of Notre Dame several times, but I never actually went inside. This time there was no queue at all, so we had a look. Mum brought her SLR and it’s okay to take photos, as long as you don’t use a flash. I just took a single blurry photo of the candles, because I was surprised that they let you light a real candle with real fire in the old cathedral.
It started to rain, so we wandered in the direction of Les Halles, to catch a train home. Les Halles is a big train and metro station and underground shopping mall. The ground floor has been a building site for years. Now the giant yellow canopy roof is finally finished and was officially opened.
As we took the escalator down, I could see regular wet spots where the brand new roof is leaking. At one end a rain pipe funnels the water onto the stairs. There are guard rails surrounding the spot where the water comes down, so I think it was on purpose. The waterfall splashed beyond the rails though. I am not the only one who noticed the leaking.
Les Halles is used by a lot of people. You have to go through the underground mall to get to the train and metro station. Yet some stairs were closed off. I suspect it has to do with the fact that there’s a security guard at every entrance that waves a metal detector at passerbys and asks to look into bags. The whole redesign was planned long before the Charlie hebdo shootings and the November 13 attacks.
The day after our walk through the city we walked along the Seine. At pont neuf we rather spontaneously decided to get on a boat for an hour long tour.
It was lovely and sunny which then changed to a drizzle while we were walking to the Musée d’Orsay and then to horizontal rain while we were trying to find the entrance. The business savy vendors out front sold umbrellas, which were of no use in the wind.
The museum is in a former train station. I read about that fact and didn’t much think about it, until I went inside. The train station was built for the world fair in 1900. Apart from the beautiful beaux-arts architecture (yeah, I looked it up) it also has a huge collection of impressionist paintings. Also, there’s a small replica of the statue of liberty.
After the museum visit the weather had cleared up and the vendors had returned to selling water bottles. We walked to Jardin Luxembourg, just across the Seine and headed for the obelisk. The guide on the boat had said that Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI were beheaded on the Place de la Concorde and we wanted to see the plaque for ourselves.
At this point I’d like to point out that we are still on day 2 of sightseeing.
And because the Arc de Triomphe was already in sight and it was still nice, we decided, what the hell. We reached the Arc while a ceremony was winding down. Lots of people in uniform and at least one marching band were leaving the place when we arrived. Under the Arc is an eternal flame and a memorial for the unknown soldier which I assume was the reason for the event.
Day three was spent in Palaiseau, where we took a walk along the Yvette and finally had dinner in the restaurant that has the best tripadvisor rating of Palaiseau. It serves specialities of the mountains and is decorated in that fashion. We had giant portions of potatoes with smelly cheese with beer brewed with water from Mont Blanc. It was delicious, of course.
I think that’s enough for today. I still have some stuff to do before our next guests arrive tomorrow :-)