Paris - Day 1.5 - 2

Montmartre offers beautiful views of the Paris even on a rainy day.

The view of Paris from MontmartreThe view of Paris from Montmartre

There is a funicular train that takes you up the mountain, but we chose a leisurely climb up the stairs. At the foot of the last set of stairs, we came across this rather bizarre tribute to Charles de Gaulle:

A weird tribute to de GaulleA weird tribute to de Gaulle

The stairs ended at the Basilica of Sacré Cœur:

Sacré CœurSacré Cœur

From here we walked to the artist’s district.

Somewhere in MontmartreSomewhere in Montmartre

The atmosphere here was quite festive. A lot of painters were creating and selling their works at a square surrounded by tens of cafés. In this age of digital photography and photoshop, getting your caricature sketched by a real artist is still remarkably popular at Montmartre.

This realistic face of clay built into a wall near the square spooked us for moment:

The spooky clay face at MontmartreThe spooky clay face at Montmartre

We walked back through the lovely cobbled streets in search of the Metro station for a train back to Rue de Rivoli.

The cobbled streets of MontmartreThe cobbled streets of Montmartre

After window-shopping for a few minutes at Rue de Rivoli, we started our walk to the Eiffel Tower.

Window-shopping at Rue de RivoliWindow-shopping at Rue de Rivoli

It seemed closer with every turn we took and every road we crossed, but it took us 90 minutes to get to the tower’s precincts.

I had always imagined Eiffel Tower to be silver in colour. What stood before me was rust-coloured. It was, however, several times grander than what the pictures had led me to believe. Eiffel Tower is an extremely difficult subject to photograph and not because of the size alone. When you are in front of something that is as frequently photographed as the Eiffel Tower, it is hard to take a picture that’ll have anything worthwhile to say. At the same time, it is impossible to be at the Eiffel Tower and not take a photo. Well, here is another picture of Eiffel Tower that you have seen before:

The Eiffel TowerThe Eiffel Tower

We were so tired by now that a pit stop at the hotel seemed prudent. Since the Arc de Triomphe was so close, how could we not chose a route that would involve going past it:

Arc de TriompheArc de Triomphe

The Eiffel Tower at night is a very different place from the Eiffel Tower in the day. The regular” illumination at night is supplemented by a burst of bright glittering lights that flit about the tower like giant fireflies. This burst comes for 5 minutes every hour, on the hour.

We made a mad dash from the nearest Metro station to the tower and reached there just in time for the 10:00 PM sparkle”. Everyone around us broke into a loud cheer the moment the lights came on. We highly recommend lying down in the grass and staring at the Eiffel Tower at night for a few minutes as a way of ending your visit to Paris.

The Eiffel Tower at nightThe Eiffel Tower at night

September 17, 2011