Category Archives: France

The Dakar Rally: “A challenge for those who go. A dream for those who stay behind.”

In 20012 and 2013, the new Dakar rally was  routed through this Peruvian desert near Ica.

In 2012 and 2013, the new Dakar rally was routed through this Peruvian desert near Ica.

Adventure Lawyer’s cocktail party factoid of the day:

The Paris-Dakar Rally hasn’t originated in Paris since 2001 (and even before then the route often avoided France entirely) and hasn’t ended in the Senegalese capital since 2007 (at which point it originated in Lisbon). Political instability in Mauritania caused the 2008 rally to be canceled, and ever since, this amateur-everyman adventure connecting old Europe to colonial Africa has bypassed both continents altogether.

Beginning in 2009, the renamed Dakar Rally (which, in a celebration of irony, is also technically not a “rally” race) takes place exclusively in South America.

Nevertheless, I still want to try it out.

The geography may have changed, but the spirit of Thierry Sabine, who founded the Rally after getting lost in the Libyan desert in 1977, lives on: “A challenge for those who go. A dream for those who stay behind.”

Who wants to live this dream with me?

You can visit the official Dakar Rally website here.

Guy de Maupassant ate lunch at the Eiffel Tower because “It’s the only place where I don’t have to see it!”

View from the top of the  Eiffel tower

View from the top of the Eiffel tower

Adventure Lawyer’s cocktail party factoid of the day:

When the Eiffel Tower was originally proposed, the design was almost universally panned.

Alexandre Dumas raged “The Eiffel Tower is without doubt the dishonour of Paris. Everyone feels it, everyone says it, everyone is profoundly saddened by it.”

According to Roland Barthes’ essay “The Eiffel Tower,” French author Guy de Maupassant used to frequently eat lunch at the Eiffel Tower because “It’s the only place where I don’t have to see it!”

Obviously history decided otherwise, and the tower, which was originally intended to be a temporary display in celebration of the centennial of the French Revolution, continues to lure the imaginations of tourists today.

The Musee d’Orsay, the Palace of Versailles, the Eiffel Tower, the Arc De Triomphe, and the Champs Elysee, in one dizzying day.

The Eiffel Tower's hours of operation  are 9:30 to 23:00 daily and are extended to 9:00 to 00:00 in summer.  You can walk to the second floor for 5 Euros or ride the elevator for 9 Euros. The Lift to the top is 15 Euros.  I am cheap so every time I have went I have used the stairs, but any sane person should take the elevator.

The Eiffel Tower’s hours of operation are 9:30 to 23:00 daily and are extended to 9:00 to 00:00 in summer. You can walk to the second floor for 5 Euros or ride the elevator for 9 Euros. The Lift to the top is 15 Euros. I am cheap so every time I have went I have used the stairs, but any sane person should take the elevator.

Not that I advise it, but here is how you can fit the Musee d’Orsay, the Palace of Versailles, the Eiffel Tower, the Arc De Triomphe, and the Champs Elysee, into one dizzying day.

Begin your morning at the impressionist paradise Musee d’Orsay (almost everyone says it’s their favorite Parisian museum). After about 2 hours of enjoying masterworks by Frédéric Bazille and Emile Bernard in the grandly re-purposed railway stationproceed to the d’Orsay Metro Station and take RER C-line to Versailles (about 40 minutes). Walk to the Palace of Versailles and spend the afternoon and evening marveling at one of the great architectural and botanic treasures on the planet and understanding why the proletariat revolted against King Louis XVI. The château, which houses the epoch-of-decadence Hall of Mirrors, the King’s Grand Apartments, and the Museum of the History of France, is open until 6:30 PM and the expansive verdant gardens and parks are open until 8:30 PM.

The Palace at Versailles. Buy the "passport" which will get you full access to all the Palace tours, grounds, Trianon palaces, and the proletariat maddening Marie-Antoinette's Estate. From April to October, the "passport" also  includes the Musical Fountain and Musical Gardens shows. All other exhibitions are also included. It'll be one of the most rewarding 18 Euros ever spent.

When visiting the Palace at Versailles, consider buying the “passport” which will get you full access to all the Palace tours, grounds, Trianon palaces, and the proletariat maddening Marie-Antoinette’s Estate. From April to October, the “passport” also includes the Musical Fountain and Musical Gardens shows. All other exhibitions are also included. It’ll be one of the most rewarding 18 Euros ever spent.

If you time it right, during your return to Paris, you can jump off at the Eiffel Tower station, pay 15 Euros for the ride to the top of Paris (actually, because it adorns a huge hill the Sacre Coeur is higher) and catch a memorable sunset over the cityscape. Continue to the world’s grandest shopping and dinning boulevard, the Champs Elysee, for a late dinner, and if you missed it, continue west on the Champs Elysee to the the Arc De Triomphe.

Louis Vuitton on the champs elysees

Louis Vuitton on the champs elysees

If the mood strikes you pop into one of the many Parisian bakeries for a quick desert or catch a flick with the French, who watch movies at a higher intensity than anyone else.

Blurry Sacre Coeur

Blurry Sacre Coeur