After uneventful Metro and bus travel to the Tower, by mid morning we were standing under it. To be honest, I was flabbergasted. Until now, I was more full of cynicism at Gustave Eiffel's drive to complete the tower, known in Paris now as "the old lady" but standing so close and feeling the immense size, the engineering of it took over. Made basically of triangles - a very stable staple of engineering - Eiffel has managed to use steel and rivets to create beautiful curves, the most dramatic of which are the hyperbolic curves which race to the heavens. I've delved into the history before so will leave that for your own internet searching but it is an awesome building. It is said, that of the 27 million visitors who come to Paris every year, 27 million of them come to the base of the Eiffel Tower.
|I couldn't get a closer shot because|
I was afraid they might
Beggars and gypsies were thick on the ground, despite the police quickly moving them on. The gypsy children were at the clipboard scan and whilst Sue fetched morning tea, I watched dozens of people hand over money in support of the deaf/mute orphanage. Between us, Sue and I were approached seven times in two hours and each time, they scan you up and down, looking for signs of money, rings and any valuable a future shake down might reward them with.
We walked down the Champs de Mars, with gardens on either side and snapped the obligatory tourist shot of each of us standing with our new best friend. Single shots had to do, as all of the others there looked too fast for me to catch should they scamper off with my camera.
A combination of bus and shank's pony got us to Musee Rodin and we started with lunch. I know I keep mentioning it but we have found the food in France is so cheap!
|Musee Rodin gardens|
The gardens are superb and dotted among them are large bronze statues, each with its own narrative. Off to one side is the massive "Gates of Hell", a piece Rodin worked on for 37 years but never finished. His two most famous pieces were designed for this structure but only one remained. "Le Penseur (The Thinker)" sits at the top of the gates, designed to represent Dante himself, pondering his poem "The Inferno", which the overall work was based on.
The Thinker, of course, took on its own life and has been recreated across the world, but the life sized study Rodin made to model what would later go on the gates, stands in bronze on a large cement plinth across the garden.
|This small plaster cast of The Kiss|
was all I was allowed to photograph
I cried for second consecutive day in the company of such generosity by the artist.
As an aside, it wasn't a work Rodin particularly liked!
|The clipboard scam|