Gay Paris

Posted on Jun 29, 2010 in category

We said goodbye to 'Lizzi' at Avignon but I think she didn't want us to leave her because the GPS was sending us in the wrong direction for our tightly-timed drop off. After a very quick U turn in busy Avignon traffic (well done 'What a wife, Wendy!), we waved farewell to Lizzie and the reliable C5, loaded the luggage into another car with Canadians and sped off to catch the TGV for Paris.

Time on the TGV trip to Paris flew as fast as the train because I was able to catch up on a blog entry. "What a wife, Wendy!!' slept all the way to Gare Lyon.

Lugging suitcases around the rabbit warren of the Metro of Paris on a humid day was no fun but when we entered the sunlight of the Trocadero to see the Eiffel Tower we brightened up too.

World Cup football fever was dominating the Trocadero viewing platform

The Eiffel Tower was built for the World Fair in 1889 but only as a temporary symbolic construction. However, it proved so popular with Parisians that it survived and of course it continues to be Paris' signature symbol. Tonight we caught up with family in Paris for a home-cooked meal in Passy. 'Magnifique!' On the walk back to our apartment we passed a huge crowd gathered at the Trocadero celebrating a Spanish victory against Portugal in the World Cup. A South American Indian band was performing and the Eiffel Tower was going off with its sparkles. A great atmosphere!

The sparkles show was meant to be temporary too to see in the Year 2000 but it was also popular

Music and Paris are inseparable - even on the Metro buskers entertain tired travellers

The next morning we prepared our own breaky of strawberries, apricots in season, yoghurt, French honey ('superbe') and a cuppa. Our destination was St Germaine-en-Laye outside of Paris and France's National History Museum.

St Germaine-en-Laye chateau houses France's pick-of-the-crop exhibits secured over the decades from the country's many archaeological excavations. Napoleon III came to the archaeological party as their patron by placing this chateau at their disposal back in the 1870's.

Exiting the RER train- this is what you see, voilà!

The museum has an extensive exhibition on prehistoric history which was well researched and displayed in French. Unlike many smaller museums in France, this museum has only French information for visitors. No audio guides are available which is surprising for a national museum.

The horse was revered well before Epona, the Celtic goddess of horses

This gold torc is pre-Celtic made in the Bronze Age; few cultural developments are in historical isolation!! It was found in north-west France at Balinghem-Guines. What surprised me about these Bronze Age exhibits was the high standard of decorative craftsmanship that I thought came later with the Celts.

Bronze Age gold goblets found at Villeneuve-Saint-Vestre, Marne

Now for some Celtic artifacts starting with Hallstatt items-9th-6th centuries BC

These necklaces were found in a tomb at Loir-et-Cher in 1866

6th century BC bracelets from Sainte-Colombe-sur-Seine (Burgundy)

Unfortunately, the museum's Celtic exhibition is closed and is in the process of a major reconstruction. However, there were a few 'gems' that were most probably dated late La Tène period.

Bouray-sur-Juine divinity

Euffigneix divinity of heroic figure 1st century BC (note the Celtic torc)

The Gallo-Roman artifacts are plentiful. Again, the quantity and sophistication of objects are evident to justify the concept of a 'consumer revolution' at all levels of society in Gaul. Check out these consumer items:

Poitiers goblet

Poitiers glassware goblets

A large, silver-plated bronze oil lamp

There were many statues and figurines of gods and goddesses including Roman, Gallo-Roman 'syncretized' deities, foreign and even some unknown ones.

Sucellus - a Celtic god

Mercury was one of the most popular gods - this one is also in honour of Augustus (Lezoux)

There were numerous examples of Epona (Celtic goddess) on display from many regions of France that indicated that her popularity continued into Gallo-Roman times.

We returned to Paris pretty exhausted by the heat and humidity, rested up in the late afternoon doing various travel jobs like washing clothes and later that evening we walked along the Seine River to the fountain at Place Saint-Michel near the Boulevard Saint Germain.

Another popular meeting place for Parisians

The restaurants around the Latin Quarter were doing a roaring business with menu prices averaging 15 Euros for a three course meal. Just for a change, we opted for Japanese food tonight! Even at 10.00 pm there were people beginning their meals as the sun was finally setting over the pont near Notre Dame. A metro home and 'finissons'.

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