Although I’ve been to Paris on multiple occasions, this is the first photo shoot of Moose in the French capital. A city famous for fashion and other cultural activities, like haute cuisine, classical music and great cinema. All of these were featured in our trip, but probably not quite like the French had foreseen it. Unless you count the Adidas-shop as a boutique, a Pizza Bruno at Pizza Pino as an exquisite meal, Rammstein as a class act and Zombieland as a great movie. Which I do!
But Paris didn’t help much either. Each time we tried to do something really ‘cultural’, we were conned. For instance, when we went to Montparnasse to get a nice panoramic view of the beautiful city of Paris, all we got to see was the inside of a cloud. Although the morning sun was beginning to get covered by some clouds, we could still see the top of the building from street level, so we thought we’d be just in time to enjoy the sights. But as soon as the elevator reached the top (in 38 seconds), we knew we were in trouble. Only if you looked straight down you could see something. We ordered some jus d’orange and apple pie and waited for the fog to blow over, but after an hour it seemed unlikely this would ever happen (at least not that day). In the mean time we participated in the treasure hunt by taking quizzes at different computer boots, only to discover that the final one was out of order.
The ten euros we lost by going up the tower, we made up at the Louvre, which turned out to be free. Nobody seemed to know why. We explored one of the wings, including the Egyptian section (as if I hadn’t seen enough hieroglyphs for one year) and the paintings of Dutch masters. After a quick glimpse at some of the belongings of Napoleon we decided to cross the central hall over to the section were the famous Mona Lisa is displayed. This turned out to be a costly mistake, because suddenly the admission to the museum wasn’t free anymore and we couldn’t get back in, without standing in line for very long and paying. Dutch as we are, we opted to go do something else.
When our feet were starting to get tired from shopping, mostly at Fnacs and the ‘absolutely gigantic’ Virgin Megastore, we wanted to go see a movie to get some rest. We’d seen a poster advertising Zombieland, which seemed to be a good choice. However, we couldn’t quite remember where we had seen it. We traced back our steps to the Place de la Bastille, where we had dinner at Chez Paul the night before and the Place de la République, where the metro didn’t want to go any further so we took a short walk around, but where unable to find the movie theatre (there were others, but they only showed art house movies or French dubbed versions). After consulting our guide book of Paris, we went to the big cinema at the Champs Elysées. It turned out to be so big, that it had four different entrances and we had to be at the last one, near the Arc de Triomphe.
Zombieland was worth it however. A typical zombie movie, but very funny. It’s actually a sweet teenage love story, but set in a gruesome world, where zombies have taken over just about anything and only a few people manage to survive, sometimes in pretty ingenious ways. The main character, a geeky boy, has made a list of useful tips, like Beware of Toilets and always Double Tap (in other words make sure the zombie is really exterminated). But of course the story is of minor importance to the bloody and violent, but witty ways the zombies get slaughtered.
The movie was a nice warm-up for the main event, the reason why we went to Paris in the first place: Rammstein. This German metal band, renowned for the use of pyrotechnics to accompany the loud music, played in Paris-Bercy (a venue I’d always wanted to go to ever since seeing Formula 1 and other race car drivers battling there on go-karts in the nineties). It’s a nice venue. The exterior has the shape of a pyramid, with the top cut off, and the walls are partly covered with astroturf. Inside it’s big and wide, but not as depressing as most stadiums (like the Amsterdam Arena or Gelredome). The sound quality is alright as well. The only thing Bercy lacks, is a cloakroom. It gets a bit warm, wearing a jacket, while struggling to stay afoot amongst dozens of pogo’ing fans, while big flames are being thrust into the hall.
The show was as spectacular as you can expect from Rammstein. Lots of explosions, firework and other extravagancies and over-acting by mainly the singer and the keyboard player. The latter also took a tour through the audience on a rubber boat and walked on a treadmill for over half of the show. Meanwhile the band played solidly through their set that consisted of a lot of songs from their new album Liebe Ist Für Alle Da and ‘classics’ like Du Hasst, Sonne, Ich Will and Benzin. For the final song of the night, Engel, the singer wore an impressive contraption, huge angel wings that could open up and that had flame-throwers on the extremities.
Shattered but satisfied we returned to our hotel. The next morning we enjoyed our last croissant breakfast and after some final shopping we returned to Gare du Nord to take the Thalys back home.