Saturday, May 16, 2009

Pantheonic Paris

Sunday was a rather busy day, with lots of small things rather than a few great acts. First I returned to Notre Dame where the line for the tower was much shorter, and it only took about half an hour to get in to the towers. The first place in teh tower you visit is the gift shop, where I succumbed to temptation and bought a quill with some "Victor Hugo" ink. Then it was up to the actual interesting bits with the grotesques and gargoyles and all that. A nice view of Paris from the top.200904267806.JPG

After descending back to ground level, I went over to the Notre Dame crypt, which is mostly underneath the square in front of the Notre Dame with a small section underneath the church itself. The crypt shows ruins from various periods that have since been built over. The earliest were roman houses and then progressed until the middle ages.

After Notre Dame I headed over to the Grand Rex, where after a quick lunch I joined the line for the Battlestar Galactica screening at about 12:45. This turned out to be a good move as by the time the guests of honour arrived the line stretched far behind me. While I was waiting in the line I was interviewed by some guys for a bonus feature on the French release of the season 4 DVDs. I don't think I was at my most eloquent, and thought up many better things to say afterwards, but alas it was too late. They started letting people in about 15 minutes before it was scheduled to start.

The event began with an introduction of the three actors present, Mary McDonnell, Jamie Bamber and James Callis, and their characters on the show. Then there was a question and answer session. The answers from Mary and James were quite interesting, and presumably some were Jamie Bamber's, but he answered in French so I couldn't tell. After that was the presentation of the awards and finally the screening of the first episode of season four. I was a little disappointed as I had translated "premiere finale season" as the premier of the season finale, whereas it turns out it meant the premiere of the final season. It was still awesome though, and the show looked really good on a big screen.200904267881.JPG

Once all the BSG was all done, I headed over to the Pantheon, which I had assumed was a very old church/temple, as is the case of the Pantheon in Rome. It turns out it is actually a Revolution era building that while originally a church is now used as a burial site for great Frenchmen (and Frenchwomen), such as Pierre and Marie Curie, Victor Hugo, Voltaire, Louise Braille and many more. Also at the Pantheon was the original Focault's Pendulum.

I left the Pantheon at around 6ish. With most things closed I headed to the one thing that was open late, the Arc de Triomphe. This time I went up top, as entry was covered by my museum pass. The view from the top is pretty good. Not as good as the Eiffel tower, but still good. There is also one thing you can see from the top of the Arc de Triomphe you can't see from the Eiffel tower (I'll leave it to more astute readers to work out what this might be). When I arrived at the Arc it was closed as some ceremony involving the eternal flame was in progress, but it ended after 15 minutes and I was free to climb up to the top. On the way down I took the steps of the spiral staircase reasonably quickly, and was a little dizzy when I reached the bottom. Thus ended Sunday.

Monday was my last day in Paris. I started by returning to the Louvre. I took in the Egyptian collections, some other stuff that apparently wasn't too memorable, and some stuff from the Middle East. At this stage I got a bit arted out and decided to grab some lunch and head over to the military museum. Lunch was a ham and cheese sandwich. I started at the military museum by taking in Napoleon's tomb, which was really big and made of stone. Then I took in the arms and armour wing, which covered at least 1000 years of warfare, and then upstairs for the last 200 years of French military history. After this I went back to the hostel to pick up my bags and head to the train station for my train to Barcelona.

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