THE GLOBAL VILLAGE
I visited Paris in 1990, as
part of the school French Exchange. This
involved British pupils spending 2 weeks in France, staying with families and
French pupils doing the same in the UK. Having caught the 7am train from Le Touquet Paris Plage,
where most of us were staying, we arrived at La Gard du Nord (North
Station) in Paris at 9am.
The first place we visited
was Montmatre. We saw La
Place de Tetre (Artist’s Square), and spent about an hour there.
Someone offered to draw my portrait, but as it was 100 francs (£10)
minimum, and I was on limited funds, I declined.
After that, we went to La Basilique du Sacre-Cœur, and were
allowed inside for a mere 5 minutes. It
is a beautiful building, both inside and outside.
Next, we went to Le
Centre National d’Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou.
That’s the building with the escalators on the outside, in tubes.
It’s a huge building, and it contains libraries, exhibition halls,
theatres and cinemas. It struck me
as somewhat ugly, unfortunately.
After that, we visited Notre-Dame.
It was a very long walk. On
the way, we passed l’Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall), which had a Tricolore
(French flag) flying. We were
allowed inside Notre-Dame for 20 minutes.
We were going to go up the tower. As
we couldn’t all find our way up, this wasn’t possible.
There would probably have been a spiral staircase, though, and I’m not
very good with them.
Next, we were going to go
to La Tour Eiffel (the Eiffel Tower).
Unfortunately, it was too far to walk and get back in time to catch the
train, so this was not possible. However,
we did see it, even if it was from a distance.
So we went to La Place
de la Concorde. This was where
the Guillotine was situated during the Revolution.
We saw a monument which resembled Cleopatra’s Needle in London.
It was covered in hieroglyphics, and I assume it was put there to
celebrate some agreement between France and Egypt.
To cut down some journey
times, we took the Métro, the Paris underground train system.
Just like the Tube in London, it was very cramped.
Most times, it was the shortest way to get where you wanted to go.
We caught it to get to Les Halles, a shopping centre near the
Artist’s Square. The clothes and
other items looked very expensive. We
also took the Métro to get back to La Gard du Nord, from La
Place de la Concorde.
The train back to Le
Touquet left at 5.04pm, and the journey back was slightly better than the
one into Paris. Some of us (not
me!) were being rather noisy, so our teacher was a bit disappointed in us.
I really enjoyed my visit to Paris. Now, I can say I’ve been there. But, boy did my feet ache after all that walking!