Our Sunday was entirely dictated by what would be open – nothing! We had bought tickets for the cruise on the Canal Saint Martin, and what better day than the one when everything else is closed. We walked to the Place de La Bastille, just a little over a km from home.
The Bastille is one of the most famous icons of France, but there’s nothing left of the former prison. The only monument is the colonne de Julliet.
The other sight that made Souvik bemoan missed opportunities was that of people running – not just this race, but all over, Sunday runners.
The only place we were running to was the port at Bastille, the starting point of our cruise. We got there just in time,and were off almost immediately. The canal cruise has no major monuments to view, but its the crossing of the locks that is the point of interest. There is a height difference of 24m from one end of the canal to the other, which is crossed by passing through 8 locks, each one raising the boat by 3m. And a very interesting operation is that. Adding to that, there are a couple of ‘turning bridges’ and one bridge that gets raised to let the boats pass. And the section of the canal is ‘underground’, just for a little more spice to the trip. Wow!
I must mention that Souvik’s favourite sight was of one of the bridges on which a French movie, Amelie, was shot. I guess we’ll be watching that one once we get back home.
The cruise boat dropped us off at Parc de la Villette, and we needed the walk back, having had very little physical activity since the morning. Catching interesting sights along the way was a bonus.
And taking a detour into the Marche des Enfants Rouges for a falafel sandwich was totally worth it. We have to go back there to eat; it’s just 300m from home!
For the first time on this holiday, we were home in the afternoon, and I was able to have that beloved siesta. Souvik went out to run in the evening, and came home drenched. We decided to brave all odds to go up the Tour (tower) Montparnasse for the panoramique night views.
The Montparnasse tower is the ugliest building in the city of Paris, responsible for the ruling that no building higher than 7 floors will be allowed in the city. It has the best view because that’s the only place from where you can’t see the tower! And there we were at 10pm, still in daylight, howling winds and freezing cold.
The sparkling lights on the tower were so pretty that we waited for darkness to watch them again at 11pm. And tried to catch some other prominent structures, all lit up too.
We walked back home in an attempt to thaw, and were treated to a third sparkle at midnight, crossing the Seine. Souvik insists, this trip will be memorable, not so much for the view, as for the bone-chilling experience!