Thursday, July 23, 2009

Paris - Day 3

There are so many things I should be doing right now: organizing materials for next quarter; leaving comments on my graded papers that I have to return next week; cleaning. But I'd much rather finish my recaps while the memory is fresh...

I woke up early again and took advantage by sneaking out to drink coffee and read. I've been reading Nicole Krauss's "A Man Walks into a Room." I stayed reading, sipping my latte, for an hour. I really enjoyed the first half of the book, but it's slowed down, and the plot's taken a turn that holds no interest for me.

We got to Versailles, about a half-hour train ride southwest of Paris, around eleven. By then it was hot, sticky, and full of tourists. But like so many things in and around Paris, the image of the Chateau de Versailles was striking, even behind the sea of cars.
Everything about the Chateau was ostentacious. The gold trim, the paintings, the carpet. It was extremely crowded, but the rooms were very well-organized, with descriptions in French, English, and Italian.

Like I said, Versailles was thorough. But this Chateau is fascinating not just for its showiness. It's the history of it, with Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI. I was partly hoping for a mock guillotine!

Later that night we decided we'd climb the Eiffel Tower. It was only 4.50 euros to walk the stairs, and so we skipped the long line for the elevators and mounted the 700 steps to the second level. Here are some pictures taken along the way and from the second platform (we started after 7pm and were still up there after dark, around 10:30pm):

And one more shot of the Eiffel Tower, from the ground after we'd climbed it:

Later: my adventures trying to fly home and keep my sanity.

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