Tuesday, September 15, 2009
France on $70 a Day - Paris - Day Four and the Gold Ring
Yesterday we took the Batobus, a boat/bus that makes eight stops at various tourist spots around Paris, so we could see the city from the vantage point of the Seine.
Our first stop was the Eiffel Tower, but the lines were hours-long so we decided to enjoy the view from another spot some other time. We headed across the Parc de Champs de-Mars, a three block long swath of green grassy park area, and encountered a man who'd found a gold ring. David saw him bend down to pick it up, and the man showed it to David and asked if it were real gold. Since David is pretty much an expert when it comes to identifying gold and silver, he looked it over, said he wasn't completely certain it was gold (It had the right marks but was very light in weight.) and passed it back to the man. At this point, the guy said it didn't fit him and he thought David should have it for good luck. I joined the conversation, and, imagining how sad someone would be to lose his ring, said we would turn it over to the police. The man looked a bit surprised but went on his way.
As David and I continued walking, we were approached by two tourists who said they'd seen what had happened and wanted us to know the man who'd found the ring was perpetrating a scam. Paris seems to be covered in gold rings. When a tourist is asked to authenticate one and told to keep the ring for good luck, the scam artist then asks for a little compensation. After all, you're getting a ring worth several hundred dollars, so surely that's worth ten euros or so. Unfortunately for the man who tried to scam us, David refused to authenticate an item he wasn't absolutely sure about. The mention of the police probably scared the scammer, too. So, we are left with a fake gold ring to remember the Parc de Champs de-Mars.
We tried to put that experience behind us as we headed to the Musee de l'Armee. This is a huge complex (The French seem to believe everything but apartments should be gigantic.) dedicated to--You guessed it.--everything having to do with war. Obviously this was David's choice, but I didn't mind it too much because there were benches in every room. I sat and David looked. Judging from all the men who were ogling the guns and battle gear and the women who sat with me on the benches whispering, "Je suis tres fatigue," this is a museum that appeals to one gender more than the other. That's okay, though, because I made David go some place with me I was dying to see.
If you were a fan of the television show, Sex and the City, you'll remember the bridge where Big finally tells Carrie she's The One. David and I stood on the Pont des Arts and, after reminding him of my stoicism at the army museum, I made him listen to every moment of that climactic ending to the series. David looked a little bored, but I loved every second we spent on that bridge.
The Batobus provides an interesting perspective from which to see Paris. With a $12 pass, you can get off the boat at any of the eight tourist stops and hop back on whenever you like. Judging from the 524 pictures (I'm exaggerating only slightly.)David took, it's also a photographer's ideal location.