diamond geezer

 Wednesday, April 27, 2005

April in Paris: et aussi...
Place de l'Alma: Princess Diana met her death in the underpass beneath this very ordinary riverside square. I thought the large 'golden flame' monument at the mouth of the tunnel must be a recent addition paid for by the grieving Parisian masses but no, it turned out to be a tribute to Franco-American relations placed there 10 years earlier. The low concrete wall behind the flame is still covered by pro-Di graffiti, and I bet if I'd turned up after dark I'd have seen a forest of cheap tealights here too.
Champs Elysées: The eastern half of this famous avenue is a tree-lined avenue of great beauty. The western half of this famous avenue is an overcrowded, overrated, overpriced shopping street.
Musée d'Orsay: London may have turned an old power station into an art gallery, but Paris has done the same with a real station and it's just as impressive. Well, it looked good from the outside anyway, but the queue didn't. So much to see, so little time.
Centre Pompidou: No time to look inside the largest collection of modern art in Europe either. But yes, the outside of the building does look as if it ought to be on the inside of the building, and it's all the more remarkable for it.
La Samaritaine: Apparently the view from the 10th floor terrace of this huge department store is the best way to see the very centre of the city. Unfortunately it's only open to customers of the terrace restaurant, so I had to make do with vague glimpses of distant rooftops hidden somewhere behind the maître d'.
Père Lachaise: I really wanted to look round the famous cemetery that provided the final resting place for Oscar Wilde, Édith Piaf, Jim Morrison, Molière, Bizet and Proust (amongst many others). Unfortunately I failed to do my pre-visit research properly and so arrived half an hour after the gates had shut for the evening. But, as I always say, "I am not young enough to know everything" and "punctuality is the thief of time".

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