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The Rock-itt : December 2009
We had arrived in Paris and were staying adjacent to the Eiffel Tower, on the banks of the Seine in the Adagio Eiffel Apartotel. Three of us in a one bedroom apartment, there is a sofa bed in the lounge and it's all good. Same deal will cost you 1,330 euros at the start of May next year. Same deal at the legendary Charles V Hotel will cost you 5,200 euros! Paris is very cool, it always takes a couple of days for my schoolboy French to kick in but then I'm away. I can order beer in 14 different languages! We were last in Paris three years and we've done all the obvious stuff, but you could spend a lifetime in Paris and still find new experiences. This time we took in Versailles which I hadn't been to since I did a gig there in the late 70's with Pink Floyd. We were based near to an RER station; there is more to Paris rail than the Metro. The trip from where we were, near to the Eiffel Tower took about 20 minutes and cost about $10 AUS. Don't rely on ticket machines at the rail stations to take credit cards, have some cash ready. Versailles Gardens, it's massive, don't try walking take the mini road train Versailles was very busy, not just with overseas tourists but plenty of locals as well. Our week in Paris included Bastille Day and I think locals took the week as a holiday. I'm not great withcrowdssoitwasabitofa chore to join the masses and snake our way around the place. What a visit to Versailles does is very clearly demonstrate why the French Revolution happened. The French nobility were living high on the hog off the backs of a struggling poor. The guillotine was the least they deserved! They still make plenty of money from the place, its $32 AUS to get in on weekdays $40 AUS on weekends. Behind the clock, Musee D'Orsay I had a strong desire to see the Musee D'Orsay. We have missed it on previous visits and with my daughter studying Fine Arts, it was essential that we go and see it. It's on the banks of the Seine, opposite the Tuilleries Gardens. The collection is installed in the former Orsay railway station, built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900. The building itself could be seen as the first "work of art" in the Musee D'Orsay, which displays collections of art from the period 1848 to 1914. It's a busy place but railway stations cope well with lots of people and this was one of the most beautiful I have ever been in. To see the collection check out www.musee-orsay.fr/en The Tuesday of our stay in Paris was Bastille Day, needless to say it's a huge day in Paris. Grand military marches,a fly past of 100 aircraft in the morning, stages erected all over the city for bands to play in the evening, and a massive fireworks display centred around the Eiffel Tower. Inside the Musee D'Orsay, nice innit? In the evening we walked a couple of hundred metres from our hotel to get a good view of the Tower and watched the action. Obviously nowhere near as good as the New Years' fireworks on the harbour but they gave it a good go. It's Bastille Day, let's burn down the tower! We had a different kind of experience the day after, my daughter had researched well and we went across Paris to a store called Deyrolle. It's a 170- year old establishment on Rue du Bac, not far from the Musee d'Orsay on the Left Bank. It's where you go if you want to buy a stuffed zebra! Well, a stuffed anything really. I was taken by a