Paris was great fun, I got to go to the AiGameDev conference where I helped out by operating the camera, recording every talk, and took my own notes too – good event, well worth going over just for that.
After the conference was over though, I had a day and a half extra (rather stupidly I booked my return trip on the Eurostar on Saturday not Sunday, but well, I did run out of things I really wanted to see anyway!). On the Thursday evening, when most people were going back from the conference anyway, I took a walk around Notre Dame and the Ile de la Cité. Interesting architecture, although sadly the Sainte-Chappelle church which is meant to have amazing stained glass was closed by then.
The Friday was dedicated to me getting up not as early as I had planned, failing to get a bike (since it didn’t give me a receipt and of course, I can’t ring the help number up) so ending up taking the metro to the Eiffel Tower. Was great getting up the steps (which didn’t take long to queue for, considering the line for the one functional lift to the middle was huge), and I did decide to go up all the way after slowly going around the first two floors – took ages – only 2 lifts even went to the top from the middle, but got up in the end. The delays and closures appear to all be just from the painting work, and I didn’t even realise it was “bronze” (or more accurately “brown”) they painted it, since from far away it looks pretty generic black/dark.
After that, I took a walk, long walk, longer then I had planned anyway, up and around other parts near the Eiffel Tower, failing to see any interesting museums I wanted to go in. Since I hadn’t had internet since getting to Paris, and not wanting to do one of the art museums, it made me wish I had planned it a bit more but still got to see some brilliant areas. I went to McDonalds to get their free wifi, to plan what else to do.
So, on Friday evening I decided to do something a bit different – I went to see Rigoletto, an Italian Opera by Verdi, performed outside at Le Jardin Du Sénat, located here. Very nice to see outdoors, despite some sound issues (on the speakers it seems), and the fact an italian play, with a French programme, and subtitles of course in French at the sides of the stage meant I didn’t get the most out of it. Reading the wikipedia synopsis makes it also make a bit more sense, although I could tell most of what was going on. Well worth seeing the odd opera I think – this famous one had a few highly recognisable parts too (this being the most famous), and I mainly enjoyed the music rather then the story. I did see if there was any orchestras playing, but according to the web there wasn’t apart from this.
Finally, I visited the Catacombs on Saturday, kind of rushing them (since I had a train to catch and got up half an hour later then I intended). Luckily the line wasn’t too slow, and it was facinating – not just that there are catacombes and the bones themselves, but that it has been open to tourists for hundreds of years, so has some really, really old tourist boards set into the walls I’d highly recommend going to it, and on a hot day it’s very refreshingly cool, and only really creepy if there are no other people around, which won’t really happen.