May 08, 2010
Got up at 9:30 this morning, had breakfast and headed out to the Pere LaChaise Cemetary. I knew I was curious to see the Oscar Wilde grave, but also Jim Morrison. Luckily the metro line was the number 2 line, which is the one that my hostel is on, making the ride easy. I got to the street and saw a nearby news stand offered maps of the cemetary for 2,50 Euro. It would be an invaluable guide as it had a list of everyone famous who was buried there and where they were located. After reviewing, the list for me to see was Chopin, Morrison, and Wilde.
Went into the graveyard and walked around a bit to get my bearings. I helped two women who were looking for a grave, and then later helped some men who were looking for Morrison's grave. I found my way over to Chopin's grave, but not without getting some pictures of other interesting graves or mausoleums. You can tell who had money when they were buried. I liked the stained glass some of the mausoleums had as well.
While walking towards Jim Morrison's grave, I saw something I didn't expect I'd ever see in the graveyard, there was a man who was carving an inscription in one of the stones. Excellent timing on my part to visit when I did. I found Jim Morrison's grave, which is not easy because it is not right on one of the main paths in that section of the graveyard. Also, the grave itself did not match the picture in my map, but in their defense, people who stop by apparently deface the gravestone all the time so someone probably ran off with part of the stone. I walked around and found the crematorium and columbarium before heading in the direction of Wilde's grave. Of course I was taking pics along the way.
At Wilde's grave there were lots of lipstick prints on the stone (Tradition: Kiss the stone while wearing lipstick). That headstone is so appropriately gay for Wilde. The top of the stone is a man done in the style of Egyptian art, and of course he's naked. On the back of the stone is a description of Wilde's life. I ran into the two young women I helped earlier that morning and one of them was able to take my picture at his grave.
I went around more of Pere LaChaise before leaving, buying a postcard, and hopping on Metro. I decided to go back to Notre Dame to take the tour of the top of the towers since I didn't have time to go up there yesterday.
Got to Notre Dame, avoided the gypsies and almost ignored BC in the process. He was saying hi to me right as one of the gypsies was asking if I spoke English. I looked over a moment later and saw him and said hi. He was out with some friends and they had been out to a concert the night brfore. They had gotten to meet the band and everything; at the time they were out and about with some bikes that were borrowed from the shop.
After about 15 minutes in line I paid my 8 Euro and went up to the top of the towers. Amazing view of the skyline and gargoyles as well. I got both color and black and white photos of everything, and it just left me speechless to see it all. I also climbed up and saw the great bell, which is having some restoration work done on it. I climbed the other set of stairs to the very top and got skyline pictures before coming back down. My calves are soooooo sore from all the stair climbing, but it was worth it.
After coming back down to the ground I walked to the park on the other side of the Hall of Justice and the tribunal, seeing if the small Statue of Liberty was at that park; it wasn't and I don't know where it is for sure. I decided to walk back over to Bertillion for ice cream, even if it was a bit of a chilly day, I'm right there anyway. I walked through the the memorial of the deported, which was dedicated to all French citizens who had been sent to concentration camps by the Nazis.
Before hitting Bertillion I saw there was a nearby pharmacy and got some throat drops because my throat was bothering me. As an aside, while my French sucks, people have been nice to me so far because they can see I'm trying to at least speak French and I am being polite. So have not experienced the infamous French rudeness to the Americans.
The cone I got from Bertillion was very dark chocolate and strawberry, another excellent combo, I'll remember this place for my next trip.
I hopped on metro and went to La Defense. It was okay, but I think it would have been better if I had gotten the chance to go up inside the La Defense Arch. Otherwise, all you see is a big hollow cube. On the other hand, there was a post office nearby so I was able to drop off my post cards.
Hopped back on Metro and went to the hostel to change clothes before heading to the wine tasting. After all the education and tasting 6 different wines, I am so putting this knowledge to use when I get back home. I know some of my friends would be interested in learning what I learned. After the class I metroed over to Cafe du Marche, which is near the Eiffel Tower, per a recommendation from Fat Tire Bike Tours. The food was excellent despite a miscommunication with the server (likely my fault) about what I wanted to order. I thought I had asked for the rigatoni with truffle sauce, but I got the rigatoni with marinara and basil. Their loss though for giving me a cheaper dish. I would have said something but by the time it clicked I had gotten the wrong dish, I had eaten some of it so that would have been a major dick move to send it back as the wrong dish when I had been eating it. I definitely do not want to be a story on Not Always Right. For dessert I had profiteroles which were awesome; I do love a good cream puff.