Sacre Coeur, Arc, Eiffel, Latin Quarters & TUK TUK

Trip Start Jun 01, 2010
Trip End Mar 11, 2011

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Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Thursday, July 29, 2010

Linda was hungry for some Asian food, and to be honest so was I. Across the street from our hotel there is a little Japanese restaurant. There are a lot of Japanese restaurants in Paris, but most of them are actually operated by Chinese people. They server yakitori, sushi and sashimi under one roof and most of them have set menus giving a combination of all. As the restaurants are Chinese operated the portions are usually bigger than a classic Japanese operated restaurant. All of this appealed us, so off we went, across the street, for Japanese in Paris. The place was packed as it was around lunch time, but we got ourselves a table and enjoyed good sashimi, a bowl of miso, and some yakitori skewers. The only thing we did not like on the plate was the one little 'French' influence on it, a yakitori of fried cheese with bacon wrapped around it.

After our yummie brunch we hopped on the bus, off to the Sacre Coeur in the Montmartre district. The bus brought us along some other historic sights like the Moulin Rouge. For narration of the bus tour we were given some head phones. The narrator explains the history and specifics of the sights that we are seeing as we move along. But the bus is slow and has to stop a lot. So if there is nothing to see, they play music, awful music! One particular tune will stick in our heads for ever, the lyrics are simple.... LaLaLa,... LaLaLa..

We reached the majestic Sacre Coeur church and we headed up the stairs. Yes there is an escalator, but to do it right, you walk up. The Sacre Coeur is in my opinion the prettiest building in Paris. The stone is white and crisp, and the location is magnificent, towering over Paris on its private little hill. We toured the church, nothing special inside, just the usual Jesus and Mary statues. But outside we found a man making animals out of fluffy strings. Linda got one to put on her handbag. We call him Monty, and he will follow us along on our travels. From now on you will probably see some photos of him here and there. Together with Monty we sat down on the staircase and admired the view of the city. We saw an African guy doing some amazing tricks with a soccer ball on one of the pillars. We headed downstairs to find the square, but as we reached the bottom of the hill we realized we had to get back up to get there. We both thought, never mind, as it would be crowded with tourists anyway.

Back on the bus we headed out to the Place de la Concorde, the square where the obelisk from Luxor is displayed. I always wonder, why don't they just give it back to Egypt, it clearly does not belong to France. From here we catch our bus to the next landmark, Champs Elysees and Arc de Triomph. We got off the bus somewhere halfway down the boulevard and walked up towards the Arc. On the way we stopped at the cheapest place to have a drink on the Champs Elysees, the Quick (French version of McDonalds). I just refuse to pay 5 Euro or more for a 25cl bottle of water. At the Arc we went up to the square. We found that a ticket to get up was 11 Euro and we had to walk the stairs. As we both figured this was not worth the effort and the money we stayed downstairs. On the square we saw the daily rituals at the grave of the unknown soldier (under the arc).

From the Arc we hop on the bus again to the Eiffel Tower as this is one of the few landmarks on our list that we did not visit. I don't really know why we we visited it, but you can't really visit Paris without going there. But basically, we got off the bus, saw the big piece of metal (that needs a lot of paint), snapped a photo and left. The tower looks a lot better from a distance than up close. We did think about having a dinner up in the restaurant, but the restaurant information booth downstairs can't even make bookings or see if there are tables available upstairs, so we skipped that idea.

As it was getting late our hop on and hop off bus had stopped service already. We had to take a train or subway to get further. We decided to head towards the Latin quarters for dinner so we took a train. Halfway down the route we were told the train did not go any further and we had to resume by bus, so we obeyed the instructions and got on the bus. All this adventure for a 1.60 Euro ticket, so cool. We walked around the Latin quarters for a bit and were drawn to huge greek skewers with seafood and meats. This had to be our dinner for the night. The food was unpretentious, cheap and a bit burnt. The wine was Greek, and we had a lovely time.

After our dinner we strolled a bit along the Seine. This was supposed to be a romantic thing, but honestly avoid doing this. The smell of urine annihilated any romantic ideas that we had, so gasping for air we went up the stairs. We found ourselves at the Louvre, and we were looking for a mode of transportation. Then just as we decided to head towards a subway station to get back to the hotel, a 'Tuk Tuk' stopped before us to drop off some people. I asked the driver how much, he said 10 Euro, and off we went to our Hotel, in a little 'Tuk Tuk' with blue neon lights. Awesome (and romantic)!

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