Sensory Overload in Paris
Trip Start Aug 04, 2009
13Trip End Aug 17, 2009
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It was a good day to spend most of the morning in the car, because it was quite a drizzly day. The first stop while heading south to Paris was the monument historique Chateau de Pierrefonds, in the village of the same name. This very picturesque Chateau had laid in ruins for hundreds of years, until a restoration began in the Victorian age, and I felt the inside of the Chateau reflected that. We enjoyed the tour, mostly the exterior; the interior not so impressive
After the Chateau, the next place of interest was the clearing in the Compiegne Forest, where the Armistice of 1918 took place. After parking, there is a short hike through the woods to get there, and in the clearing are a number of statues & memorials, including a small museum, which we didn’t go into, and WWI era tank. The rail lines that once held the train car in which the signing of the Armistice took place are still there, but the original is long gone. The place was surprisingly busy for a Thursday morning, with a few larger groups coming through. Nice to see this place is not forgotten.
After Compiegne, we got onto the A1 to head straight to CDG, about an hour drive. We had to get our ‘timbit’ back to the rental agency by about 1pm; we would miss her, and for the rest of the trip we would be using public transportation or legs! After a quick lunch at the airport, we took the RER to Gare Du Nord. Our hotel, Hotel France Albion, was in the 9th arrondisement on Rue de Notre Dame du Lorette, about a 2k walk
After some relaxation, the plan for the late afternoon and evening was to walk around a bit, get a nice meal, and see what happens! The late afternoon and early evening was still overcast and very humid, but enough of a breeze to make it bearable. Wow - we were in Paris! The crowds of people, overhearing Russian, Italian, Australian accents - since many Parisians take their vacations in August, the city was most definately overrun with tourists, like us! We saw quite a bit that first night, heading towards Haussmann, where we walked past the La Fayette Gallery, then on towards the Opera Garnier, Place Vendome, the Place de la Concorde, which we loved, walked the length of the Champs Elysees, ending at the Arc de Triomphe, where we crossed over through the underground passage
We headed back down the Champs Elysees, and I was interesting to see so many familiar store names, like Louis Vuitton (of course), along side Gap stores and McDonalds! We decied to stop at a restaurant called Chez Clement, because they had covered outdoor seating with a view of the Arc de Triomphe. Both of us really enjoyed the food and atmosphere, I had eggs & mayo, a provencal tart (what I would consider a roasted vegtable pizza), followed by an espresso. John had a green bean salad and stuffed baked tomatos and said it was very good. Afterwards, we had a very leisurely walk back to the hotel, and got back to the room in time to see the lights on the Eiffel Tower twinkle from our room!