Just Above Sunset
December 18, 2005 - Cold Wheels

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Our Man in Paris is Ric Erickson, editor of MetropoleParis. The heart of Paris probably is the Place de la Concorde and the Champs Elysées.

Cold Wheels


PARIS: Saturday, November 17 - Today the temperature dumped to a high of 4 or 5 degrees so I planned my outing carefully, leaving Montparnasse late in the afternoon, in time to catch the sun going down and the lights coming on. But at the Métro stop for the Grand Palais it was evident that most of Paris had beaten me to the punch. There were about 500 people standing in line waiting to get in. I can't say I blame them - it's not every day a place has two Ferris wheels inside it, plus a bunch of other rides.


Across the street there was a steady line of folks climbing the stairs to get into the recently reopened Petit Palais. What with the other two art exhibitions, the area has become the place to be in Paris this season if you've finished your shopping. Now I know why they start so early.


As they say, one down and two to go. No point in hanging around and getting pneumonia so I went down the Champs-Elysées to Concorde to look at Paris' third Ferris wheel. I think all the people that had ridden the other two came with me - in fact, everybody in Paris who has their shopping wrapped up seemed to be under way.


There's nothing special about the Ferris wheel in the Place de la Concorde, unless you consider the place itself to be special, which it is. Other cities have major show-off places, usually full of pigeons, or water, or both like Venice, but Paris' has one full of cars. A couple hundred of them drive into it, around it and out of it and then another couple of hundred do the same thing. For variety pedestrians get across it by gathering in big numbers until they can't stand it and then they burst from the safety islands. Random cars and scooters try to pick them off.


All these people. Where are they coming from and where are they going? It's a big, open space, between a long walk whichever way you come and go. There's something about the town that forces folks out on to the pavements, to walk considerable distances, even when it's cold. But the real heroes are the ones sitting on those Ferris wheel seats, up high, in the wind - and the Place de la Concorde is one without a single café. Nearest, I guess, is Maxim's in the Rue Royal.  Or under the arcades on Rivoli.

The newly installed Ferris wheel in the Place de la Concorde –

Ferris wheel, Place de la Concorde, December 2005

Ferris wheel, Place de la Concorde, December 2005

Looking up the Champs Elysées from the Place de la Concorde at twilight in December -

Champs Elysées at twilight, December 2005

The Crillon on the Place de la Concorde at Christmas –

Crillon, Place de la Concorde, December 2005 -

Text and Photos, Copyright © 2005 - Ric Erickson, MetropoleParis


Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
The inclusion of any text from others is quotation
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