Saturday 20 December 2014

Métro Magnifique

Plans Proceed : Research Required
La tour Eiffel a été construite par Gustave Eiffel à l’occasion de l’Exposition Universelle de 1889 qui célébrait le premier centenaire de la Révolution française. Sa construction en 2 ans, 2 mois et 5 jours, fût une véritable performance technique et architecturale. « Utopie réalisée », prouesse technologique, elle fut à la fin du 19ème siècle la démonstration du génie français incarné par Gustave Eiffel, un point d’orgue de l’ère industrielle. Elle connut immédiatement un immense succès.

But there is more to Paris than a huge metal tower. There is the famous métro ...
... 14 "main" lines and two shuttles (3bis and 7bis). The mini-map was produced, by the way, by fbb showing (white squares) major métro interchanges and (red squares) the six SNCF terminus stations.

There is the RER, five lines fulflling a similar function to the UK's one Crossrail.
Some routes even have double-deck trains.
There are 8 tram routes mainly serving the inner suburbs ...
... of which lines 3a and 4b form a substantial part of an outer circle at the city boundary.
Then there are outer suburban trains, marketed as "Transilien" ...

Transilien comprend une partie des cinq lignes A, B, C, D et E, qui constituent le réseau express régional d'Île-de-France (RER) et traversent de part en part le sous-sol parisien (« traversée » escomptée seulement en 2020 pour ce qui est de la ligne E), ainsi que huit autres lignes « Transilien » non-RER (lignes H, J, K, L, N, P, R et U).

... although, operated by SNCF (French National Railways), the "brand" sort-of includes some of the RER routes.

Then there is OrlyVal, a fully automaic train service linking RER station "Antony" with Orly airport.
And we mustn't forget the buses. There are about 50 city big-bus routes plus a substantial number of suburban services.
And a final oddity is the little funicular which takes visitors up he hill to the Basilique du Sacré Coeur.
Transport that is short and sweet.
And, talking of short and sweet, there are midi bus routes like the electric Montmatrobus, also tootling up and down the hill on which stands the basilica. 
In fact, there is so much to see public transport-wise that fbb does not expect to have any energy left to enjoy the more traditional pursuits of Paris - thankfully!
But as the advertisements move on from the post festive sales (if there's anything left after black Friday!) ...
... and then on further to tempting offers for Summer Holidays, fbb will be continuing to plan for his trip in May 2015. Indeed the hotel is booked plus Eurostar travel.

Of which more tomorrow.
   a psalm   

May the Lord answer you when you are in trouble!
May the God of Jacob protect you!
May he send you help from his Temple
and give you aid from Mount Zion.
May he accept all your offerings
and be pleased with all your sacrifices.
May he give you what you desire
and make all your plans succeed.
Then we will shout for joy over your victory
and celebrate your triumph by praising our God.
May the Lord answer all your requests.

"Give you what you desire," and "make all your plans succeed"; sounds far too good to be true. And it doesn't happen, does it? The common complaint about God is that he "allows bad things to happen" and "why doesn't God do something about all the evil in the world?"

Is that really what we want? Do we really, really want God to bump off a person every time he or she tells a "white" lie, nicks something that doesn't belong to them or utters a blasphemy? Oh my God, we wouldn't want that, would we?
It is hard to accept that God knows best eternally even if we can't understand "why" in this short life. It is hard to accept that a believing loved one, whose life has ended perhaps prematurely, will be far better off in heaven than here on earth.
maybe if we met a host of angels,
we would struggle to describe the experience!!

But Psalm 20 (written down over two and a half thousand years ago) pre-echoes the message of the Angels. "Success" in God's economy begins with our offering of ourselves to him, with a life in which, sacrificially if needs be, we put God first in everything.

Now that ain't easy either! But, fortunately God sent a guide, an example and one who would bear the consequences of our failures for us. The words are worth repeating:-

Suddenly a great army of heaven's angels appeared with the angel, singing praises to God: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom he is pleased!"

The baby of Christmas grew up, and the adult Jesus offers to change us utterly and for the better.
 Next bus blog : Sunday 21st December 

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