Flamsteed Astronomy Society

Paris & the Paris Observatory

September 2-4, 2005

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Around 20 intrepid explorers from the Society made the trip to Paris (France, not New South Wales) on September 2nd.   The Friends office had done us a deal with Eurostar and the Libertel, La Villette (half a star) for a jaw-dropping price, never to be repeated.  We gathered at Waterloo International, except for Jane and Martin who’ve done it before and got on at Ashford.  Eurostar and security staff all behaved themselves.

The weather in Paris was a scorching 30+ degrees with sopping humidity.  We variously walked or cabbed from the Gare du Nord up to the Libertel (Metro Juarés 50 meters) and got shoe-horned into a motley selection of rooms, with and without windows and fans.  Certainly no air-conditioning…  well, it is Paris after all, and whadda ya expect for tuppence.

On Friday evening there was a general move toward Montmartre.  After climbing the million or so steps, a very cold beer was the order of the day.  Amazing what you can get now in Paris for just £8!   Dinner followed in various establishments around the Sacre Coeur.   Tres agreeable.  Now we remembered why we’d come to Paris.


Saturday morning was spent in several small parties of exploration ranging from the Parc of Buttes-Chaumont not far from the hotel, across the shops and cafes of the Marais and St Michel, to the Catacombs.

We were under strict instructions to meet outside the Paris Observatory at 13:45 hrs local (Paris time — Greenwich advanced by 8.5 minutes or some such, not allowing for the new-fangled international time zones) — avenue de l’Observatoire, nearest station Port Royal, RER.   Everyone was pretty much on time (even the Catacomb party) and we lurked in the shade waiting for our guide Madam Suzanne Débarbat, to arrive at 14:00 hrs.



13:45 Saturday — The party gathers outside the Paris Observatory.   Temperature 6,000 degrees in the shade (or is that sunspots?)

Paris Observatory southern aspect

Members with our guide, Madam Suzanne Débarbat who showed extraordinary stamina!

Pictures by Mike Dryland (except where stated)

Photo Pat Wainwright