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Tours Tour-2: An Evening in Paris. And More.

 
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2015 11:37 pm    Post subject: Tours Tour-2: An Evening in Paris. And More. Reply with quote

Tours Tour-2: An Evening in Paris. And More.


87.1 Introduction

86. Tours Tour-I: bonjour! No French Leave for France
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic14526.html
87. Tours Tour-2: An Evening in Paris. And More.
88. Tours Tour-3: Low Ire in the Loire Valley
89. Tours Tour-4: One, Tours, Three, Four <i>merci, au revoir</i>

Welcome to the second installment of a trip report featuring my
April 2014 trip to scenic town of Tours, in the Loire valley, France.
The first part was
86. Tours Tour-I: bonjour! No French Leave for France
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic14526.html
This featured my first opportunity to visit France, and starts
off with some tight-budget planning for an official trip,
associated with its own highs and lows, and the visa experience.
It was my first time in the International section of IGIA T3 in
the late morning at DEL, and engaged myself in an extended
spotting session. The flight itself was quite enjoyable, my first
International flight in a Dream)liner. The two meals were a bit
ordinary by Air India's lofty catering standards. I also took
this opportunity to roam around the Dream)liner like never before.

This current part (Part 2) is titled,
87. Tours Tour-2: An Evening in Paris. And More.
and can be found at the URL below:
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic14536.html

The weird title comes from a famous Bollywood song by Mohd Rafi.
I had planned an evening of sightseeing in Paris, but my lack of
sufficient preparation would lead to a lot of confusion, and finally,
I counted myself as being lucky to find my hotel, and lay down to sleep.

Parts 3 and 4 will come in after this one.
88. Tours Tour-3: Low Ire in the Loire Valley
89. Tours Tour-4: One, Tours, Three, Four merci, au revoir

This part starts with Captain Rajesh Bhat executing a silky
smooth landing into the Charles De Gaulle Airport.

87.2 After Landing up at Charles de Gaulle airport

I went through Immigration quickly, and the Customs part also did
not delay me much. The bags took some time to come out, however.
The airport has a bus to the city: I located this, and waited for
the Air France bus, called Les Cars Air France. I would get down
at Gare Montparnasse. The fare was 17 Euros for a one-way trip.
The date was 04 April, 2014.

I compared notes with ace writer Jishnu Basu's memorable trip report:
Voyage scolaire: Paris pour une semaine avec SriLankan!
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic13804.html
and had an email conversation with him. As our Les Cars Air France
bus pulled out of the Roissy parking lot, and went
towards the main road, I spotted a French official A310.
Jishnu had been able to spot both an official A343 as well as an A310.
And what about the Air France Concorde at Roissy?
Jishnu had managed to spot it. I didn't.
The closest I have got to the Concorde was in 1979 at London
Heathrow (LHR), when it was parked at a gate right in front of me.
And was I not excited?

In my first visit to the city of Paris, I was understandably
excited as well. I was also a bit tired, and wondered how I would
cope up with my hectic planned sightseeing. Hectic? Planned?
I had had some ambitious plans to see as much of the city as possible,
in the less than 24 hours I had in Paris,
subject to the hotel check-out time of 12 noon. As mentioned in Part 1
86. Tours Tour-I: bonjour! No French Leave for France
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic14526.html
I had booked a relatively cheap hotel, relatively close (it is all relative)
to the Paris Gare Montparnasse station, from what Expedia told me.
My lack of enough homework meant that it would be miles to go before I slept.
I was quite tired by the time I sat on the Les Cars Air France bus, and
dozed off soon. I had scanned some pictures of my previous trip
from India into CDG, and kept them on my phone's memory for memory's sake.

87.2 Memories of passing through CGD, Mar'05

I have passed through CDG airport twice before.
All that was nine years prior to this trip. I was to be in Maryland in the US
for six months. My tentative itinerary was the following:
30 Mar 2005 (Wed) AI 111
BOM-DEL[03:40am-05:30am] DEL-LHR[06:45am-11:30am] LHR-JFK[01:15 pm-02:40 pm]
29 Sep 2005 (Thu) AI 112 (30 Sep LHR-DEL, 01 Oct BOM)
JFK-LHR[07:10pm-07:55am] LHR-DEL[09:45am-10:35pm] DEL-BOM[11:45pm-01:40am]
Our official travel agent had different ideas however, and
planned out the following for me, which I am thankful for, for it
allowed me a chance to travel on perhaps Air India's only huge
grosser at that time, the `Gujju Express', both ways:
30 Mar 2005 (Wed) AI 191
AMD-BOM[03:10am-04:15am] BOM-CDG[07:20am-01:00pm] CDG-EWR[02:30pm-03:25pm]
29 Sep 2005 (Thu) AI 144 (30 Sep CDG-BOM, 01 Oct AMD)
EWR-CDG[09:05pm-10:00am] CDG-BOM[11:30am-11:30pm] BOM-AMD[01:00am-02:05am]
Of course, I would not be a part of the AMD legs, since I was a
Mumbaikar at that time. One had to actually see the inside of the
aircraft to have an idea of how popular the flight was, and what
a fully-laden B744 could look like, in terms of both passengers and cargo.
I was embarking on a trip to Newark via CDG,
so this was the first time I was getting into CDG from India.
I had scanned in a few of these memorable images and kept them in my phone,
to bring back memories of this trip 9 years back.
Even an early check-in did not get me a window seat, though I was
perhaps lucky to snag an aisle one. Our bird for the trip was
VT-AIC, `Sanchi', a frame leased from Korean Air. I have memories
of nearly four meals on the entire trip. I had never taken food
pictures until around late 2013, hence have lost most recollections of the same.
What I remember however, was that even a `tea' service had two
accompanying sandwiches (one in white bread, another in brown) and a
piece of cake (literally so), accompanying the hot beverage.

We had got delayed in setting out from Mumbai, and got a bit
delayed in Paris as well.
The young couple on the window and middle seats
(I was on the starboard side of the plane) had got down at Paris,
but much to my astonishment, the plane went chock-a-block at
Paris once more, and I remained at the same seat. I was able to
do a bit of photography from the window in the brief period
before the new set of passengers came in. I also decided to walk
around a little bit, and from one of the doors, caught sight of a
beautiful plane beside us, on the port side. It was the first time
I was seeing the Asia's World City livery on the Cathay B744s,
and this beauty was right beside us.

The ATC tower, and a Continental B77E tail is visible, behind the Cathay B744.
I took another picture of the same, this one highlighting its registration.

Ship ahoy! It is B-HOY, a joy to behold.

I saw most types in the Air France fleet, that day.
It was a real pleasure to see an A343 take off, in the distance.


There had been some delay in our setting out from Paris. We
finally landed in Newark airport around 04:25 pm, nearly an hour
behind schedule. As we exited from the plane, with my Minolta
point-and-shoot camera on the blink, I managed to take a picture
of our ride. This was the first `Sanchi', a leased Korean Air bird,
registered VT-AIC.

Air India would later lease another B744 and name it `Sanchi',
VT-AIS, an ex-MH (Malaysian) bird.

87.3 The trouble starts, after getting down

All these memories flooded in front of my eyes, as I sleepily
gazed at the sights on the roads, and the bus sped towards our
destination. Somewhat sleepy and disoriented, I stepped out into the night.
After getting down at Gare Montparnasse station, I found myself
completely lost in the cold and dark environment outside.
I tried to find the closest Metro station to take me to a place
close to the hotel, where I would put up for the night.
This trip had happened in quite a bit of a hurry, and I did not
have enough time to prepare well, for the same. I had wanted to
prepare a cheat sheet of common French expressions, to use in the city.
I had wanted to take details about the public
transportation and maps, along, but that happened only in parts.
I should have taken a Metro from Gare Montparnasse itself.
Instead, I got lost trying to match the Google Maps printout I had,
with what I could see around me. The intricate set of lanes
and by-lanes did not help, and neither did my unfamiliarity with
even some basic French language expressions.

I had set out trying to look for a station called Pasteur, from
where I would take a Metro train towards Mairie d'Issy, get down
at Station Corentin Celton (5 stops). I could see a beautifully
lit Eiffel Tower relatively close-by. I needed to get to the Hotel,
drop my bags in, and go for some evening explorations around the city.
An Evening in Paris.
I spent an hour right there, wandering all around till I sighted
an entrance to Pasteur station, completely by chance.
The entrance was ancient, and the lighting was not exactly one to
uplift a stodgy mood. Jishnu has written about some of these
features of the Paris metro in his trip report.
I got into an ancient train coach, and got down at Corentin Celton.

From there, started another search in the dark, for the hotel.
Street names were not displayed very prominently.
After quite a lot of wandering around, I chanced upon a lighted
sign saying `Hotel', and was rather happy to see Hotel Luxor also
written there, albeit in a much smaller font.
Hotel Luxor, Issy-les-Moulineaux,
24, Rue Ernest Renan, Issy-les-Moulineaux, Hauts-de-Seine, 92130 France
There was one gentleman at the reception.
I wanted to tell him that I had booked the hotel on Expedia, and
searched all around for the booking confirmation.
I did not have it, anywhere.
I powered my laptop up, and showed him a PDF.
This worked, and he was convinced that the booking was paid for.
I was directed to a tiny room on the top floor.
The gentleman spoke some broken English, much to my delight.
Much to my disappointment, he clearly indicated that it would not
be wise on my part to try for a nocturnal visit of sights in the city,
since I would be completely stuck up once the Metro trains
stopped for the night: that would be about an hour from now.
I enquired about the time of the first Metro train into Corentin Celton.
06:00 am, I was told, and I prepared to do some
fact-finding about the city, and its sights.
I had my luggage with me: one bag, and one carry-on.

I took instructions for using the complementary WiFi.
On the other side of the door in the tiny room, the signals were clear.
There was no signal available, and I would not be able to
much fact-finding that night.
I was dog-tired as well.
I rung up The Wife, and told her in brief about the goings-on,
and that I would now crash for the night.

A view from the hotel room:


And another...this was the sign I had seen before, which had
given me some joy, to be able to locate the hotel where I was
supposed to put up for the night.


87.4 Hunger at Night. Input: Flattened Rice. Output: Flatulence?

I was not just tired, I was extremely hungry as well.
I had looked around the ground floor of the small hotel.
There was a breakfast corner, but the breakfast would cost me quite a bit,
and would not be around when I would have to set out
in the morning, to try and lap up as much of the sights around Paris I could.
The only source of hot water was in this breakfast corner.
Hence, there would be no instant cup noodles for me that night.
I had packets of biscuits. The Wife had packed in some flattened rice for me.
Flattened rice is a popular snack in India, either taken as such
with milk or curd, or cooked into a popular Maharashtrian
breakfast snack, pohA. The basic part also goes by various names.
chIDe in the Eastern part of the country, chiDwA to
us Delhi'ites, and some derivatives of the same include
chivdo in the Western part of the country.
Simply having flattened rice with water is not extremely nourishing,
but neither are cup noodles, or biscuits. I was on an
incredibly tight budget, without any daily allowance, and I did
not have the time to go out and seek some (costly) food, either.
Flattened rice taken with water, keeps the belly full for a good while.
For some people, a slight issue with flattened rice is...flatulence.

I apologise for the digression in this section, which may not
find favour with the well-heeled. I request them to skip this
section and go over to the next, Section 87.5.

This part took place in the night of 04 April (Friday), 2014.
I recalled some discussion on the WhatsApp forum, in this context.
The WhatsApp forum discussion took place in September, 2015.
I have changed the names to W, X, Y and Z, but if they happen to
read this (which at least three of the quartet do, and are actually regulars on
this section of the forum), yes...You said it. The credit for the wit is yours.
X had commented, ``All passengers should have mUlI parAnThAs.''
A parAnThA is an Indian girdle-fried flat-bread, typically
with a filling, radish, in this case. This is extremely tasty,
but infamous for the flatulence it produces.
After my usual ramjet (rocket engine) rants, tailwinds conserving fuel,
helping passengers reach their destination quicker,
a marAThI muLa (roughly meaning young Man from Maharashtra)
Y replies, ``short field operation should be possible''
X replies, ``then the pilot will rotate before the plane does''
Z wrote about his boss, and immediate supervisor in an
organisation he used to work for.
His immediate supervisor loved mUlI parAnThAs.
He and his colleagues avoided going to him after lunch.
Z's boss loved chivdo, he said.
And his flatulence went into an overdrive, soon after.
I butted in (pun unintended), adding that one
needed bravado to go to him, after his chivdo.
Incidentally, the company was into energy, and gas exploration.
X: ``why go elsewhere, they could have checked the boss himself. Voila...gas.''
Z posted a picture of him with his boss, laughing.
I pointed out that we knew why he was laughing.
Z said, ``See where he wears his pants.''
His boss used to wear his trousers a bit high.
I quipped, that it led to some `edge-of-the-seat' perturbation and excitement.
Z then posted a picture of him with his boss, where the
boss was lighting a lamp, in a ceremony.
Z: ``thankfully, he did not go flat-out, else there would be fire in the hall''
X: ``Gentlemen, we have just found a solution to the world's energy crisis.''
W: ``The boss should lead from the front, or the back, as in this case.''

I fell flat asleep soon after the flattened rice and water, and some
biscuits thrown in, for good measure.
I woke up with...the alarm, and a start.
I took a bath, checked out, and set out to explore the city.
05 April, 2014 (Sat).

87.5 The Eiffel Tower
From the Corentin Celton station, I changed trains at Pasteur,
and took a connecting train towards Bir Hakeim/Trocadero.
I went to the Trocadero station, since some notes on the place
said that though the Bir Hakeim station was closer to the iconic tower,
the reflecting pool was close to the Trocadero station.
I got out in the darkness, and looked all around.
The Eiffel Tower was a landmark one simply could not miss.
When I came out from the Trocadero station, an impressive
equestrian statue of Marshall Foch stood there.


The illumination was not enough for any serious photography yet,
I took a few snaps. At least, I could now say that I had been there.
It is not that interesting to come to one of the World's top attractions,
but just see it from the outside, and set out, for sheer paucity of time.
By this time, some light had dawned on the place.


And what is on top of this iconic tower?


I found this reflection on the building opposite (a museum, library?)
quite impressive to look at.


Paris was one of the cities Papa had visited in 1968.
An incident that he had recounted was looking for public toilets
close to the Eiffel Tower. He had asked a French policeman close-by.
His reply had stunned him, ``Do it the French way...look!''
and pointed to a person in the bushes close-by.

87.6 The Arc D'Triumph
From Trocadero, I now headed towards the Arc D'Triumph, the
lovely monument which served as the inspiration for the India
Gate in Delhi.


The eternal flame:


I did a quick walk-around of the lovely monument, and decided to
head towards perhaps the main attraction for me in the city,
The Louvre, before it opened. On the way from the Metro station
`Palais-Royal-Musee du Louvre' to the museum itself (a long underground path),
there is a model of the famous museum.

I reached the said place, and found myself to be one of the first
few in the crowd of people which had assembled outside the entrance,
under the inverted pyramid. The Louvre had been a dream destination.
My father has had an opportunity to travel widely in
spite of our rather low middle-class economic status.
I count myself equally lucky on that count. Ever since I have had my
senses around me, I have been awestruck at his photographs,
slides, picture postcards, travel books, volumes of Encyclopaedia
Britannica, and his many stories of his travels, the places, the people,
the sounds, the smells, and everything else.
I have grown up visualising these, and have always wanted to go to places he
has seen, and show him pictures of the same.
I have been interested in painting and the fine arts since an early age as well.
I remember pouring through his collection of pictures of famous
painting, and somehow remembering what painting as displayed where.
I was an excited five year old, again.

87.7 At the Louvre!

I was told to deposit my luggage at the luggage counter.
I slung out a small bag behind me, and went further.
The deluge of people was starting.
I went straight to the ticket machine, used my
credit card to book a ticket, and got a receipt.
I took the receipt and rushed to the gate. I wanted to be one of
the first to view the Mona Lisa before the crowd swelled up any further.
I was stopped there.
What I had in my hand was simply a receipt, it was not the entry ticket.
I had just made myself poorer by 12 Euros.
Worse still, I had taken two tickets for two ladies on my credit card,
and got them to follow the same procedure.
What would I do, and what what about those two ladies, who I could not locate?
In a state of shock, I made my way to the reception.
The helpful gentleman there asked me not to worry.
He would re-print my ticket.
And what about the two ladies?
He took details of my credit card, and offered to be of help in
case the two ladies came back there.
Somewhat relaxed albeit mentally, I rushed up to the main
attraction in the museum. La Gioconda. Mona Lisa.

I was lucky to have been able to capture a view of the famous
painting without any sort of camera light falling on it.
And that too, from relatively up and close!
In what follows, I will try to cover much of not the most famous
exhibits themselves, but other views of this famous museum.
Of course, the raison d'etre of a trip report featuring
the Louvre has to contain images of the important attractions,
but at the same time, there are professional and well-aligned images
of the paintings for instance, on official websites, and the
Internet, in general.
One could spend days on end, at the Louvre. Even the paintings
and designs and arrangements on the ceiling and the walls were
incredibly impressive. Here is the detail of a ceiling from a
room behind the one in which the Mona Lisa is displayed.

All this is on the first floor of the Denon wing, in room 7.
There are three wings: Richlieu, Sully and Denon. The museum is
quite complicated to traverse, since it has numerous levels and
rooms, and pathways between different parts of the museum, which
are confusing for people like me.

Delacroix was one of the most famous artists of the region. In
fact, the house where the great painted lived, is now a Museum,
and a part of the Louvre Museum, located at about a 15-minute
walk from the Louvre palace complex. The Louvre itself abounds
with paintings by the master. Here is one which is not that famous:


One of the most famous portraits of Napoleon Bonaparte is one by
artist Delaroche:


Here are details of the ceiling at another part of the museum.


This long corridor has the Mona Lisa in one of the galleries at
the left, towards the end of the corridor.


The Louvre has transformed from a castle, to a palace, and
finally, to a museum. The outside is as impressive as the inside.


Here are some statues, in some more detail.


The gardens outside have been intricately landscaped.


This is the ceremonial entry gate.


The Louvre has a section on still life, an I simply lost track of
the numerous famous examples on display.


One of the famous creations by Carlo Dolci.


One of the most famous depictions of the first president of the USA,
George Washington.


Here is one of the huge heads of Easter islands.


The ceilings were fascinating!


Through the windows of the Louvre, a lot of outside scenes catch
one's attention. Prominent among them is the pyramid.


There are two names that have stuck in my head ever since I read
about them in our history texts.
Two names associated with deciphering of mysterious ancient scripts.
Jean-Francois Champollion, and Sir Henry Rawlinson.
Champollion for the deciphering of a script in ancient Egypt,
and Rawlinson, for the Cuneiform script of ancient Sumeria.
I seem to remember 1812 and 1798, respectively, though
information on the Internet tells me that I am quite way off.
Champollion had built on the preliminary work of famous physicist Thomas Young
(to whom every student of science credits the Young's modulus,
the wave theory of light, and the double-slit experiment, among
others, and incredibly enough, in addition to knowing many
languages, was also a medical physician, by training.)
Rawlinson's son interestingly, was also a part of the British empire,
and died in Delhi in 1925.

J.-F. Champollion.

Was I not excited? This was a bust of the great man himself, who
is credited with one of the most important discoveries of Egypt,
which has helped us to know about the ancient civilisations in
the great ancient land on the banks of the Nile river.
Our history textbook had a picture of a much older Champollion,
with whose name the Rosetta Stone is associated with.
But wait...isn't the Rosetta Stone in the British Museum, London? It is.
The Rosetta Stone was discovered by Napoleon's troops in 1799,
much around the same time as Sir Henry Rawlinson's decipherment
of the Cuneiform script (as I had thought).
Like most treasures from ancient lands, in the new world order,
most of them passed into the hands of the powerful nations of the
18th Century onwards. In fact, many Egyptian relics can be
admired in the Louvre in Paris, the British Museum in London,
and the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
Perhaps it is just as well, since the level of preservation at
these excellent museums in the Western world perhaps have no
equal even in the present-day status of the nations,
whose treasures we see at these places. Many such artifacts `made their way'
to the museums, often as a result of dubious means. Some came as
a result of the native Governments presenting bits of their
historical treasures as gifts in return for some help.
The Egyptian government has been quite generous over history, I guess.
Champollion was the first curator of the Egyptian section of the Louvre,
and ensured that its collection would house an
unparalleled collection of artifacts, presented in an immaculate manner.

It is ironical that though Sir Henry Rawlinson was British, one
of the most important icons from the Sumerian civilisation is in
the Louvre itself. I was to see this in the Mesopotamian section in the museum.
Let me get back to the discussion on Ancient Egypt, first.

There were two exhibits of the mysterious Egyptian Pharaoh with a long head,
Akhenaton. The (in)famous serial `Ancient Aliens' has among others,
proposed that he may been an alien himself.

The above bust has some over-emphasised features, in the style of the times,
attributed to royalty. There is another
representation of the head of the Pharaoh, which is a bit more realistic.


The Seated Scribe is located in room 22 in the Pharaonic Egypt,
Chronological Circuit section, on the first floor, in the Sully wing.

This is an extremely interesting artifact from Egypt, in painted limestone.

This is `The Great Sphinx', in pink granite.


The medieval castle moat lies here, well-preserved.

This can be seen in the Sully wing, on the lower ground floor.

My camera was running out of its battery now.
The only power port in view was always busy every time I passed by it.
I was hungry as well. I reached the Aegean horses section,
also termed the `Horses of Marly', by G. Costou.

This is located in a large covered area bathed in sunlight,
in the Richelieu wing, on a mezzanine floor next to the lower ground floor.

At a small nook near the Aegean horses, I noticed a small service area,
where much to my delight, there was an unused power port.
I could also consume my packet of biscuits right here,
while the camera battery charged a bit. I had an extra SD card
for more pictures, but I had not anticipated the camera to give
up on me that quickly, though I had actually taxed it quite a lot.
I resolved to buy an extra battery for my camera, as soon as I
got back to India. In the end, I took a few pictures with my cell phone as well.
I was dog-tired by now.

There was no way I was going to even have a rough sampling of all
the treasures of art, on view inside the Louvre.
I decided to trust the nice guide map, and at least have a look
at the main attractions, well within time.

`Saint Mary Magdalene' by G. Erhart is mentioned as one of the
main attractions of the museum, in the brochure.

This is located on the lower ground floor, in the Denon wing, in gallery C.
Legend has it that this was partially inspired by an engraving by Durer.

An interesting time from Roman Egypt, in the Islamic arts section,
is the `Portrait of a Young Woman'.

This is on the lower ground floor in gallery 1, of the Denon wing.

`Psyche and Cupid' by A. Canova,
is a sculpture famous for its astonishing angles.

This is located on the ground floor, in gallery 4 of the Denon wing.

A statue among the 40 commissioned for the tomb of Pope Julius II
is the `The Dying Slave' by Michelangelo, in a partially finished state.

This is located close-by to the earlier exhibit, in the same
gallery 4, on the ground floor of the Denon wing.

The marble statue of Aphrodite, known as `Venus de Milo', is a
prime attraction of the museum.

This is located in room 16 on the ground floor, in the Sully wing.

The section on Mesopotamia was equally exciting, if not more.
There was a section from the walls of a palace:

This section has the famous winged bulls guarding the entrance.
A lot of this section has duplicates of the original structures,
and in many cases, it is quite difficult for laypersons like Yours Truly,
to find the differences, without reading the
descriptions associated with these treasures.

A Lion motif.


The code of Hammurabi is one artifact (in addition to the Mona Lisa),
which makes a visit to the Louvre well worth it.

This is in room 1 om the ground floor, in the Richelieu wing.
This black basalt edit, codifying the laws of the ruler of Babylon,
will possibly ensure Hammurabi's place in history, for posterity.
The famous `an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth' rule is
one of the many, engraved on this piece of stone.

The well-preserved Napoleon III apartments give a glimpse of the
life of the emperor in the normal settings of his era.

This is located in the Richelieu wing, around room 87 on the first floor.

`The Descent from the Cross, Saint Nicodemus, Saint John the
Evangelist, The Synagogue' is one of the attractions mentioned in
the short brochure, of small figures.

This is located on the first floor, in the Richelieu wing.

Durer's self-portrait:

This is in room 8, on the second floor, on the Richelieu wing.

`The Lacemaker', by celebrated Dutch artist J. Vermeer.

This masterpiece is located in room 38, also on the second floor,
of the Richelieu wing.

The Louvre has many paintings by Ingres, who often chose to paint
the same subject in detail in one version, and in a more complete scene,
in another. His `Roger freeing Angelica' is there
close to the Mona Lisa, but a detail of the lady in question is
there in another painting, quite far away from this one.
Another example is the lady in the following painting.
She is painted along with many others (in a pose that differs
only slightly from this one), in the more famous
painting by Ingres, `The Turkish Bath' (room 60, second floor, Sully wing).
This is the not-so-famous one, with the lady in focus, alone.


Delacroix's study of a bearded figure, possibly from the Middle East:


This is a staircase, with its amazing ceiling, and lighting:


There was much more to see, but I had my eyes on my watch as well.
I hurried out of the Louvre.

87.8 Jailbreak...hunting for the Bastille

I wanted to have a look at the Cathedral of Notre Dame, which was
within walking distance of the Louvre, from what I remembered in a map
I had seen. The huge crowd along the streets put paid to my hopes,
as did the hot sun beating on me. I retraced my steps,
with a view to at least trying to locate the Bastille.
I resigned myself with what I remembered of the Cathedral,
from Jishnu's extensive trip report. I was also tiring rapidly.
The Metro station I entered was possibly the Louvre-Rivoli, and went
to seek out the Bastille, or whatever was left of it.

When I got down at the closest station (which had some
information on the Bastille on the walls, which I skimmed through
hurridly, since I did not have much time on my hands), a little walk around
brought sight of a monument in the middle of the road.
Where was the Bastille?
Apparently, I had some idea of the old history,
but not the new, that was history by now.

The Bastille was representative of the French revolution,
where the Bastille was stormed, and the three
prisoners who were inside (convicted of non-political crimes) were freed.
Now, what I did not know was that the remains of the
Bastille prison had been taken apart, brick by brick, and what
had remained in its place, was only this monument in the middle of the road.
I learnt this from a young lady who spoke good English,
and all this was a lucky break, since I had been
directed to various parts of the neighbourhood, possibly because I was
unable to make myself clear as to what I had wanted to see.
That I could not speak a line of French did not help.


Disappointed, but somewhat thankful for this stroke of luck,
where I chanced upon a lady who spoke English well, and who knew
the history of the region well as well, I rushed towards the
Metro station once again, to try and catch a train back to
Gare Montparnasse, from where I was to debut on the TGV.

87.9 To the TGV Station at Gare Montparnasse

This time, I did not make the mistake of hunting around for a different station.
Thanks to some helpful people around,
I located the pathway that took me to the TGV station.
The reader would remember from Part 1, that I had got lost at a
place close to the Gare Montparnasse, from where itself I could
have got a Metro train to Correntin Celton. Instead, I had
hunted around wildly in the dark, for the next station close-by, Pasteur.

I had taken care to book my train ticket rather early, since
the train fares often increase rapidly, close to the intended day
of the journey. I had wanted to book my ticket on
http://www.raileurope.co.in and got a good deal. It just got better,
as I read some blogs on the Internet which pointed to
even better rates being available if one directly booked the
ticket in Euros, on http://voyages.sncf.com/
I was able to book a direct second class ticket from Gare Montparnasse
for 05 April 2014, on the TGV 8333, at an incredible 15 Euros.

The itinerary for this leg of my trip was as follows:

Set out 05 Apr (Sat) for Tours Centre from Paris Montparnasse at 07:16 pm
83333 TGV 2nd class Coach 20, Seat 42 (W) [PNR: QXYDVZ]
to reach Tours Centre 05 Mar (Sat) at 08:29 pm

I had a choice between Tours Centre, and St Pierre des Corps, Tours.
I found out that the former was closer to both my hotel (du Cygne),
and the venue of the conference.

One of my tickets was a e-Ticket. This one.
The other happened to be one which I would have to show the e-Receipt,
and this would be exchanged for a real ticket at any railway station.
I had booked the following ticket for 42.20 Euros:

Set out 11 Apr (Fri) for St Pierre des Corps from Tours Centre at 11:47 am
8264 Shuttle 2nd Class unreserved [PNR: QXBWVI]
to reach St Pierre des Corps 11 Apr (Fri) at 11:52 am

Set out 11 Apr (Fri) for CDG airport from St Pierre des Corps at 12:01 pm
5264 TGV 2nd Class Coach 8, Seat 66 [PNR: QXBWVI]
to reach CDG airport 11 Apr (Fri) at 01:32 pm

This had a tight connection, but right now, that did not worry me that much.
I had reached the TGV station well in time.
I was sweating heavily, and this did not improve when an
automatic machine refused to issue the required tickets.
What would I do? I stood in line, and hoped to get to an agent
who spoke English, so that I could explain my problem.
There were two agents in front of whom there were boards
announcing that they would not mind transacting in English.
I was not able to get to either of them, but I got lucky here,
as the lady at the counter I reached, spoke flawless English.
Soon enough, I had a proper cardboard paper ticket in my hand,
in a proper jacket as well. There was still some more time on my
hands, since the TGV gate did not open until exactly 20 minutes
before the start of the journey.

I was hungry, as well.
I had contemplated feasting on some more biscuits by now, and was wondering
whether I should continue with some reading work, when I noticed
something interesting. There were a few benches around, which had
a cycle chain driving a dynamo, which could charge a mobile
phone, laptop, or...a camera! It was an advertisement for biking.
Although I was dog-tired, I did not mind the extra exercise.
If once cycled beyond a particular speed, the indicator announced
that the connected deice would charge up. I managed to get a bit
of charge onto my camera: I wanted to click pictures of the TGV as well!


87.10 The TGV ride: my first on the French Bullet Train!

The TGV train comes in, and the gates open.


The facing seats with a centre table:


A more symmetrical view:


Here is a view from another angle, showing the luggage space on the top.


Looking towards the sliding doors:


A picture of the washroom:


The WC, with a pedal-operated flush


Prior to this, I had travelled on a much more modern bullet train,
the Korean KTX, where the speed had also found mention on a monitor!
This is described in Parts 2 and 3 of my 2012 visit to the Far East,
South Korea and Japan.
41. F.East'12-1: Inching towards Incheon
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic13067.html
42. F.East'12-2: S(e)oulful Korea-graphy
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic13085.html
43. F.East'12-3: The Morning Calm, The Rising Sun!
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic13108.html
44. F.East'12-4: Arigato, Nippon
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic13135.html
45. F.East'12-5: Sayonara!
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic13204.html

It had got quite dark by now, and though I was not able to see
much outside, I enjoyed the smooth ride on the bullet train.

87.11 Reaching Tours, 05 Apr, 2014 (Sat)

The TGV reached Tours Centre on the dot.
I alighted from the train, and trusted Google Maps completely.
Google Maps was on the spot, again.
Thank God, I was not the one in a spot. Of bother, that is.
I followed the directions to the hilt, and found myself outside
the hotel relatively quickly. My accommodation in Tours from
05 April 2014 to 11 April 2014 was at Hotel du Cygne, 6 rue du
Cygne - 37 000 TOURS, France. I got a small and basic room on the top floor.
The hotel was run by a young couple of Chinese origin,
and the lady spoke passable English. I paid the hotel charges for my stay,
took the pass-code for a post-10pm entry
(they close the main gate at 10pm), and more importantly, I explained that I
had got along with me, cup noodles. Could I get some hot water for that?
Sure, they appreciated this, and understood.
And it was just as well, since that kept me well-fed throughout the Tours trip.
I was allotted a room on the top floor. I will sign off from this
part of my trip description, with a picture of the staircase,
which I took the following morning.


With this, I come to the end of Part 2 of this consolidated
four-part trip report. Part 1 was:
86. Tours Tour-I: bonjour! No French Leave for France
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic14526.html
This is part 2.
87. Tours Tour-2: An Evening in Paris. And More.

Parts 3 and 4 are to come soon.
88. Tours Tour-3: Low Ire in the Loire Valley
89. Tours Tour-4: One, Tours, Three, Four merci, au revoir
Stay tuned!
---
Links to my 87 trip reports:
https://sites.google.com/site/sumantratrip/
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himmat01
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2015 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the posting this guided tour report. Enjoyed going through the report this morning.

Paris has been on my to visit list for the last 20 years but not been able to visit due to a variety of reasons.
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2015 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Himmat Sir, thank you very much for your kind words!
himmat01 wrote:
Paris has been on my to visit list for the last 20 years but not been able to visit due to a variety of reasons.
In my case, there have been many on my list, but my lowly economic status has somewhat been offset by some good luck, and opportunities for official travel (even if it is on a shoestring budget), which makes me always utter a silent prayer of gratefulness to the Almighty the moment I step on a plane. I count myself really lucky to have been able to visit quite a lot of places around the world, and in the country as well.
Cheers, Sumantra.
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ameya
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2015 1:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the TR - sight seeing and a lot more in Paris.

Nice recollection of past trips as well including that picture of A340 take off

Look forward to the next two
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2015 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ameya wrote:
... and a lot more in Paris.
Thank you Sir, but I really wish there was a lot more!
ameya wrote:
Nice recollection of past trips as well including that picture of A340 take off
This time, I had come loaded with not enough preparation, but many, many memories...I just relived those. From a practical point of view, given my long backlog, I guess this may actually be the best way to merge memories, and try to clear it up Smile
Cheers, Sumantra.
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Spiderguy252
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2015 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fantastic TR Sumantra, and excellent to notice that it goes well beyond the flight routine. I'd love to venture out to Europe now, though an opportunity for such is likely a few years away...

Particularly enjoyed the 2005 flashback, and that snap of the Eiffel Tower head on - just brilliant!

Regards,
Varun
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2015 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spiderguy252 wrote:
...excellent to notice that it goes well beyond the flight routine.
Varun, I think you have been very kind! Normally, I try to keep some aviation content in each trip report, or part, thereof, so as to give an overview of the travel itself, as well as have some aviation-linked memories at least, in each article, this being an aviation forum, and the love for aviation has brought us together.
Spiderguy252 wrote:
Particularly enjoyed the 2005 flashback
Thank you: that was a really memorable trip, with many uncertainties ahead of me, and the excitement of taking a popular flight for the first time, coupled with my first sights of Paris, albeit from CDG...I am glad I carried these scans with me on my cell-phone, just to relive those moments. There will be a similar flashback on the way back, when I looked at images which I had taken on the return leg of this popular route, 6 months later. This will come in the next part, itself, with some snaps around CDG and a really memorable snap of the pre-refurbished VT-EVA `Agra'.
Spiderguy252 wrote:
that snap of the Eiffel Tower head on
Varun, do you know what came in my mind at that moment? A Giant who had just woken up from sleep, and stood tall with his mighty legs spread a bit, and hands crossed over his mighty chest, which looked evened out, due to the height. Did you also notice it that way?
Thank you once again,
Sumantra.
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Spiderguy252
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sumantra wrote:
Spiderguy252 wrote:
that snap of the Eiffel Tower head on
Varun, do you know what came in my mind at that moment? A Giant who had just woken up from sleep, and stood tall with his mighty legs spread a bit, and hands crossed over his mighty chest, which looked evened out, due to the height. Did you also notice it that way?


I did, though it was probably because the image suddenly jumped across on me as I was reading and scrolling downwards. You could see it loom ahead in front of you in real life of course.
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spiderguy252 wrote:
I did, though it was probably because the image suddenly jumped across on me as I was reading and scrolling downwards
Varun, that is a beautiful description of what happens when one scrolls a picture with perspective, or a forced perspective. Beautiful description!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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sabya99
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2015 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@ Sumantra, how did you managed to get so many photographs from inside the museums? When I visited Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam in early eighties photography was banned. Perhaps flash lights will damage color of oil painting. But Rembrandt is still in my mind. Thanks for posting.
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2015 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sabya99 wrote:
@ Sumantra, how did you managed to get so many photographs from inside the museums? When I visited Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam in early eighties photography was banned. Perhaps flash lights will damage color of oil painting. But Rembrandt is still in my mind.
Sir, many museums now allow photography even with with amateurs and their cameras. I specifically remember the Louvre (last year) and the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. Some paintings have signs saying `no flash photography'. The lighting around the Mona Lisa is enough for any automatic camera in an auto flash mode not to fire its flash. A distraction was the range finders in some cameras getting their beams on the photograph, but I managed to avoid it in this picture.
Indian Museums? The National Gallery of Modern Art in Delhi, or the Srichitra Gallery in Tiruvananthapuram (which houses many famous Raja Ravi Verma gems) do not allow photography of any kind. Some museums such as one in Kota-Bundi allow phtoography of some rare Rajput-school paintings. Some like the one in Alwar do not.
Cheers, Sumantra.
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jbalonso777
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2015 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sir, what a lovely lovely trip report!

Its really mixed feelings for me - while I relive the joys of my June/July 2014 trip, I'm also reminded of the state Paris is in right now, with the recent attacks in the city. It really makes me sad!

Interesting recount of your trip to the USA, and the stop over at Paris! Nice that you could walk around for a bit!

The getting lost adventures - happened to me too on more than one occasion! Things like that do happen more often than not in Paris, I guess!

Awesome pictures from the Louvre, and a great detailed description with each and every one of them! Sigh, I need to spend more time at the Louvre..at least 3 days I need to set aside, just for the entire Louvre!

The TGV is a sweet looking train! I look forward to the rest!

Regards
Jishnu
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stealthpilot
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2015 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

- CX 744 in their Asia's World City livery wow Cool
- wow talk about minimum rest at the hotel hahahaha impressive. The things we do to explore a new city. You lugged the 20kg bag with you everywhere? Yup the brave things one must do Wink
- amazing pics of Paris, the Louvre inside and out that's all i will say.
- The TGV to Tours cost less then the bus from CDG-City Razz
- The TGV with those lines, etched in my brain since I was a kid. What a beautiful engine.
- I was in Paris for 15 hours a few months ago but didn't have the time to do anything. I didn't mind (at the time) because it was a busy schedule + I was tired but after going thru your TR I wished I had more time. I haven't been to Paris in 10 years, the Paris airshow at Le Bourget in 2005 was my last trip.
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2015 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

stealthpilot wrote:
You lugged the 20kg bag with you everywhere? Yup the brave things one must do
Actually, I have done worse...I have done quite a bit of sightseeing with three bags. It was limited to two this time.
stealthpilot wrote:
The TGV to Tours cost less then the bus from CDG-City Razz
Trust your eagle-eye to notice such oddities!
stealthpilot wrote:
The TGV with those lines, etched in my brain since I was a kid.
Indeed! It was a dream come true. I remember seeing a hand-sketched version in a children's magazine, of bullet trains, and relived my joy in 2012 on seeing a Shinkansen, and in 2014, the TGV!
stealthpilot wrote:
I haven't been to Paris in 10 years, the Paris airshow at Le Bourget in 2005 was my last trip.
It would be really nice if you could pen it down sometime, a lack of pictures will not hurt your cause, if that is why you are not posting it. I will also try to pen down my memories of air travel, as a little kid...let me get over this backlog, first!
Thank you for the detailed read once again, stealthpilot!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2015 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jbalonso777 wrote:
Its really mixed feelings for me - while I relive the joys of my June/July 2014 trip, I'm also reminded of the state Paris is in right now, with the recent attacks in the city. It really makes me sad!
Indeed Sir...I find it ironic that the attacks happened a few days after I posted my experiences in the city of love and lights. I am in the process of penning down Part 3, this will come in soon.
jbalonso777 wrote:
Interesting recount of your trip to the USA, and the stop over at Paris! Nice that you could walk around for a bit!
Sir, that walk around was inside the plane itself, VT-AIC `Sanchi'. Like you, I try to keep some aviation content in every trip report, this being an aviation forum. It went perfectly fine with this part-wise division, since I had the pictures with me on my cell-phone, just to relive those memories. The next part will have memories of passing through CDG on the reverse leg.
jbalonso777 wrote:
The getting lost adventures - happened to me too on more than one occasion! Things like that do happen more often than not in Paris, I guess!
It is quite ironic that I was speaking to a friend today itself, whom I had last met in Jan'14, when he was based in Grenoble, and had paid me a visit in Delhi, and I had told him about the planned Tours trip, less than three months later. He had had a similar incident in Paris, he told me today over lunch, when he had first visited the city, after a 10 hour crash course in the French language. He has lived in France for quite a few years, and had told me similar tales about big cities, directions, and the Paris Metro.
Thanks a lot Sir, I tired to make it as attractive as possible, knowing full well that I would lose out to your lovely trip report, and not just in terms of the timeliness: you are a master story-teller!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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sri_bom
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2015 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the wonderful city tour aptly names “An evening in Paris” Although reading your troubles finding a hotel was more than an evening for you. 

I have never visited Paris before but the hope to make it one day. The photos specially form the artifacts of The Louvre was fantastic and really lucky that you could manage to get a good shot of the elusive Mona Lisa.
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2015 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sri_bom wrote:
Thanks for the wonderful city tour aptly names “An evening in Paris” Although reading your troubles finding a hotel was more than an evening for you. 
Thank you, Srinivas Smile Yes, that day, I really regretted not doing enough homework prior to my trip, owing to lack of time.
sri_bom wrote:
I have never visited Paris before but the hope to make it one day.
And we look forward to your pictures, and your descriptions, in the inimitable way in which only you can manage!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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