This was the best place to refresh my memory on the French revolution. As we were sitting there on the wall and looking down on the way to the Cathedral we were trying to picture the groups of starving citizens and soldiers taking the aristocrats' house by force. And I'm sure it was right there and a little further down the river that they did march with their flags.
Most of the things I read later on (after high-school) about the French revolution are from the point of view of Psychiatric practices - I did study Social Anthropology (Michel Foucault)
But the prevailig feeling that day was that we were both still sleepy and tired. Notice 3rd picture, Mate is trying to hide from the paparazzi :D A picture of a tired man in the morning sun in January, it looks so romantic to me.
As days went by and departure time got close, I got really excited. OK, I said I didn't have time to dream of Paris but I sure got excited...
Excited because I was going to travel abroad. For many Malagasy, the only way to travel abroad was the plane. It is an island, remember. Plus, we would have visited neighbouring islands (La Reunion, Maurice, Comores) and would have used boats and ferries.. but that was the time we considered Europe as more important. And for historical reasons, France use to rank high in Malagasy preference. Well, if not preference, one should at least think of the language problem. Madagascar used to be a French colony so, by large, French country, French language & French culture are the first foreign influences Malagasy had been used to.
Excited because I was going to have a huge flight. It was not my first flight, but the first abroad, the first longest. At that time, a Tana-Paris flight lasted 14 hours (stopover included). Now, it is close to 10 hours. For my first flight being to a Malagasy coastal city in 1977 when I was 4 then, I don't have any memory of it. So, this Tana-Paris flight was to be considered as the first. Still have my first passport with me (not of use anymore, of course). It was with a 747 Boeing.
My memory of the flight? I discovered then the big plane, the 747 (since then, Airmad had upgraded to 767). All internal flights were with 737 or Twin-Otter planes or HS (?). Only external ones were with 747. Notice however that to fly to Madagascar, Air Madagascar is "The Natural Choice" ;-)
That was also the first time I went through the "gate", the checking posts. I've seen so many times my parents passing through the gate & the checking points at the Ivato airport... and then, it was my turn. Wow!
Then, I remembered the choice of music stations on board. That may sound silly but I'd like you to remember your first flight... and you'd discover small but meaningful aspects, details. Also, 1984 was a bad year for Madagascar. We just underwent a big economic crisis... People queued up for rice, sugar, soap, oil... Oil was dangerous and not suitable for consumption. Many people died for having cooked with it. Prices of staple food (rice) rocketed so that even middle-class people ate maize corn at noon lunch... uuuh!
Since flights were (are) not cheap at all, I knew I was lucky to have experienced Paris at this young age. With all of that in mind, I was impressed and excited at same time.
Palais de Luxembourg
Marie de Medicis wished to have a palace in Florentine style where she was born. Jean de Brosse in 1615-1627 fulfilled her wish. The large gallery is adorned by Rubens paintings and there are some masterpieces of Eugene Delacroix. After revolution of 1789 the palace turned to the prison. New façade was built in 1835 by de Gisors. Nowadays it's a building of Senate. The station near by is Luxemburg, RER B.
Life's A Beach
For the past few summers, the banks of the Seine in Paris have been transformed into a beach-- Paris Plage. This offers Parisians and tourists a rather surprising plot twist when strolling along the river.
For several weeks, the roads along the Seine are closed, and a "beach" is created. Tons of sand are crated in, potted palm trees are placed, beach chairs and umbrellas are arranged. The typical Paris dress code is reduced substantially.
The plage visits Paris for a month; Paris Plage 2010 will be open daily between July 20th to August 20th, from 8:00 a.m. to midnight. Don't forget your bathing suit!
Our aches and pains
For some reason we experienced our most aches and pains in Paris. I pack an assortment of Motrin, nausea/upset stomach medicine, and bandaids..they all came in handy. In a pinch, I used cold beer bottles from the minibar, placed them on each side of my ankel and wrapped them in place with a pillow case (my homemade ice pack for my ankel).