Friday, 26 August 2011

A ‘breathtaking’ view

For her final day in Paris, Jean-Claude and I took Laura back to Paris. Back to a couple of iconic landmarks and to stroll around parts we hadn’t visited before.

On our earlier visits to Paris it had not been possible to go up the Eiffel Tour because the queues were ridiculously long. It’s best to arrive at 9am. Unfortunately we had to arrive later. Never mind, we snacked between the grand old lady’s legs and let fate take its course. There are always plenty of security personal present here: police and the army.

Laura was absolutely chuffed when two armed soldiers agreed to have their photo taken with her. I explained it was for French-NZ relations – well, a similar line had worked with President Clinton when I met him last year. We still couldn't spare an hour and a half standing in a queue so we abandoned going up the tower and found an alternative instead.

We walked across the bridge to the Palais de Chaillot/Trocadero but it started to pour. We decided to head to the Champs Elysee and the Arc de Triomphe. None of us had been to the top and I was determined that Laura get a view of Paris from on high.

This climb is not for the unfit. It’s up a narrow staircase and it’s wise to let the vigorous youths pass and go on ahead. This gives the lactic acid in your muscles a bit of time to disperse before you have to do it all over again, and again.

That said, the 360 degree view from the top is great, not as high as the Eiffel tower but still lovely to see all the boulevards radiating out from this central point. You need to pay an entrance fee of course but this monument by Napoleon is well restored and worth doing.

The next day I had the sad task of seeing Laura off on the Eurostar, bound for London and then back to New Zealand. I don't know when we will see each other again. Her life is changing rapidly and mine is so completely different to what we shared together last year. My future has still to unfold and reveal any sort of stability. For my daughter and me it's the end of an era but not the end. I sincerely hope she can find a way to visit me again for much longer. I'd like to take her to the South of France. I hope it won't be too many years until we share our time together again.


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