Sunday, October 10, 2010

Paris..the beginning of our week long adventure!

PARIS...Arriving in Paris
One of the things that l noticed coming into Gare du Nord Train station, was the large amount of graffiti in and around the station. Far more than l remember from the last times l was here in Paris.
In the Metro, it seemed to be over-run with Romanian men and boys trying to get passengers to buy a cheap Metro ticket from them. When you put your ticket into the machine at the gates, it gives it you back, even if it is no longer valid. So you see tickets on the ground all around but you can't tell if it has been used or not! They were very demanding and quite threatening. At one point, the police appeared at the top of the stairs and within seconds the Romanian's had ALL disappeared...amazing vanashing trick but within seconds of the Police moving off...they were back!
Within minutes of waiting for a train, it became very obvious that Paris is still has a very diverse population.
This is our hotel room..newly refurbished and very modern. The only draw back was although the windows were double-glazed and we were 9 floors up, we could still hear all the VERY loud traffic and some night it was still busy at 4am!!! Eventually we discovered the curtains needed to be drawn a certain way and then it was a bit quiter!! Having said that, it was still a great place to be based to see Paris. The hotel was called The Mercure Mont Martre.

The next two images are of some of the views of Paris from our hotel room. I could have just stood there for ages most days and every evening, just looking at the views. I saw something different every time l looked out of the double windows..

I am not a smoker and was so glad when smoking was banned in most places in London. Most of Paris still seems smoke and l mean EVERY where. One thing that we noticed was because everyone smokes the place is littered with disguarded cigarette ends and packets. Even though they have, unlike London, rubbish bins every where, it seems to make no difference to amount of rubbish all around in the gutters. It made us realise how clean London is these days.
As this image shows...cigarettes are everywhere!!
Hungry? Fancy a quick snack? Well there are many "on the street" sweetcorn, sausages or chestnuts sellers all around. They have a small burner on a tray, balancing on a supermarket trolley. Love this city!
After settling in at our hotel, we went out to start seeing the "City".  Although l have been here many times, there is always more to see. The first place Tony took me to was a graveyard!!! Well those of you who know me...know l love looking round all the grave stones...fasinating! Our first port of call was Cimiterie Mont Martre. So many famous people buried here and such amazing and strange looking monuments to dead people!

Some of these tombs are occupied, some are reserved for later use..and others seem to be empty and in need of repair!

On some of the tomb doors flowers have be attached, the image below of white roses, bought a lump to my throat. It looked ghostly against the dark wooden door , also the tomb was in a dark area of the grave yard, which added to the effect!
These faded pink "stone" roses, were on top of a grave marker and made me think of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. The cobwebs also added a dramartic touch l thought1
This next image just confused us but did make us laugh!  There was no explanation about why a cactuss should be someone's gravestone. A comedian perhaps or a husband's joke on a nagging, prickly dead wife? What do you think? Not often one gets to really laugh in a graveyard.

 I tell you, this cemetary  has some weird gravestones  but l suppose it keeps the stone masons busy. I though this one was a little over the top. I did't recognise the name but l suppose he could have been a singer or fim star judging by the film strip. Did you notice that in the first image he is smoking?

One of the things we were lucky enough to witness was a pair of stone masons/sculptures at work on a new tomb. I was fasinated to see how they worked and the way a stone head was emerging slowly from a lump of stone.To see them working on site, so to speak, is unusual in this day and age. I felt very privilaged to be able to watch and that they were very happy to let me take images of them at work.

There is far more for you to see but l expect by now you will need a break, so until tomorrow........


Preppy Pink Crocodile said...

Stunning views! My favorite is the first one from your hotel room. And I love really old cemetaries too. I love reading the stones and guessing what the family must have been like.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Lynda -- I hoped you'd post about Paris; sounds like a wonderful trip. That cobwebby rose in the cemetery was just wonderful; I loved all the pictures.

Dayna Collins said...

Ohhh, what a wonderful photographer you are. Thank you for allowing me to see Paris through your eyes.