28 June 2009

Paris: a surprise that shouldn't have been

I have heard so much about Paris over the years that it had built up for me - really built up. But that was a few years back.... Over the years those expectations mellowed a bit and I started thinking, "how beautiful could Paris really be?"

France (and Paris) had the added charm for me, because I've supported French football for many years.. Platini, Tigana, Fernandez, Amoros, Giresse, Papin, Cantona, ZIDANE, Deschamps, Blanc, Thuram, Petit, Djorkaeff... The list is endless... I always wanted to go back to the Stade De France in Paris.. The scene of the famous 1998 world cup win!

I spent 3 days in Paris and it blew me away - there - I've said it!

I really packed in a lot into the 3 days... The usual stuff - Eiffel Tower, Arc De Triomphe, Place de la Concorde, the Louvre, Montmahtre and Sacre Couer, Notre Dame, Trocadero and something really special - The Stade De France!

I'm almost embarrassed about how much I enjoyed the Louvre... I went for an hour and ended up spending close to 5 hours. It was truly breathtaking. My favourties were the Venus De Milo, Psyche and Cupid, Gladiator, The winged victory, The dying slave - all amazing sculptures. I spent several minutes with each one and really appreciated the art.

The paintings were great too.. The Mona Lisa of course and others like the wedding feast, the raft of the medusa, the man with the glove, the coronation of Napolean and so many others.

I enjoyed walking and sitting around so much at Notre Dame and St Michel and at the Champs Elysees. It did help much that there was gloirous sunshine 2 of the 3 days and I made the most of it. A real tourist for a weekend.

Sat by the Seine river eating a sandwich and watching the boats go by. Met a couple of local parisien students. What a way to relax and see the city go by..

The highlight of the Paris weekend - the visit to the Stade de France. I had been looking forward to that for years. Visiting the place where France won the world in 1998. Zidane's 2 headed goals in the final is one of my best football memories ever! I did the stadium tour and went on to the pitch and took in the atmosphere. Imagined the feel of the stadium when the 2 goals would have gone in... Stood at the spot where Michel Platini handed over the trophy to Didier Deschamps and he lifted it high for the first time for France. Relived a moment I would never forget.

I left Paris for Nice and Cannes to 'serve time' on the Cannes Lions Jury, but that's for another blog entry..

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