Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Arc de Triomphe

At Versailles, our bus sat in the hot sun, all closed up, and we discovered that while the bus was rumored to have air-conditioning, well, non, not really. We were headed for the Arc de Triomphe, but with the traffic, most of us chose to get out and walk the rest of the way up the Champs-Elysee. A nice walk. This stretch of Paris is by no means one of inviting fruit stands or sidewalk delis. There are cafes, but everything grander, more expensive. My niece would like the Cartier store there on the Champs-Elysee, its window full of “sparkly rings,” just beside the Qatar Embassy.

We did notice the billboard/kiosk ads for the new movie, Very Bad Trip 2—which is what the French call the sequel to the film, The Hangover. We found out that this title change was needed. Like in Norway, where hangover is expressed as something like, I licked the carpet last night, or as David’s roommate says, his “mouth tastes like a penny,” the French phrase is “mouth full of wood”—which just doesn’t translate the right way. So—Very Bad Trip 2. We will probably need to see that here in France in a few days, when our deprivation of American media reaches a crucial point.

The Arc de Triomphe itself was a bit challenging. The elevator is only available to those who have specific problems with stairs, and there are 284 stairs to the top.  A nice gift shop one big level up (the first couple hundred stairs, where the toilets are also located), and a display of famous arches around the world.  The Gateway Arch was prominently shown.

But the view from the top was worth it.

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