La Ville De L'amour (Troisième Partie)


A very busy day in the city

Once we had finished at the race, we headed back to the Eiffel Tower for a couple of photos - because, you know, we were in Paris! The race organisers were very efficient and had already got a lot of the equipment packed away. Most of the hawkers had gone too - we like to think they'd got fed up off being told to bugger off, and had given up... Here are a few photos of the tower, and the pair of us looking ridiculous in front of it! (There aren't any of us together as I had my SLR with me and didn't want to hand it to a random person. I don't know the French for "They've nicked my camera! Get the bastards!")




After we'd finished here, we were going to the Arc de Triomphe. We had a look at the map to see which would be quicker - walking or getting the metro. It turned out that walking would be slightly longer, but significantly less hassle and more enjoyable, so that's what we did. The second most famous landmark in the city is only a 30 minute walk away, and you pass by some beautiful buildings along the way, as well as walking through the Jardins du Trocadéro

Eventually you arrive at Place Charles de Gaulle... For those of you not familiar with the name, its the terrifying roundabout in which the Arc de Triomphe sits. It has 9 minor avenues, 1 two-lane (in both directions) avenue and 2 four-lane ( again, in both directions) avenues - Avenue de la Grande-Armée and, probably one of the most famous boulevards in the world, Avenue des Champs-Élysées. There are no road markings or signs on the roundabout at all. The street name signs are absolutely tiny and I doubt if you'd notice them when driving around this area. It really is a driving free-for-all, done as only the French can do. It is sheer chaos, with lots of shouting, swearing, sounding of car horns, and the occasional bump. But strangley, it works! Everyone appears to know where they are going, and nothing really major seems to happen. We stood here for about 5 minutes, watching the chaos and wondering how the hell we were going to get across. Then we noticed that a couple of streets around, there was a hole in the ground, into which people appeared to be going! There are subways which take pedestrians under the roundabout and bring you out by the monument. There are only two though, so you still end up running the gaunlet of "What red light?" traffic to cross the roads to get to them. (There are pedestrian crossings on the avenues, but plenty of drivers ignore them.)




You can go inside, but we were pressed for time so didn't on this occasion. We did stop by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to pay our respects. We both found it quite moving. In part four, we walked along the Champs-Elysées, to go to The Louvre.

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