So Much to See in the French Capital

Trip Start May 04, 2011
Trip End Feb 20, 2014

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Eiffel Tower, Eiffel Tower, Eiffel Tower

Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Friday, July 20, 2012

Following the frantic nature of our previous day leaving the Normandy coast and getting to Paris, we took the morning relatively easy. We made our way to the highest peak in town which is the home for...wait for it...a cathedral! Who would've thought that a European city would build such a structure on such a place. Montemartre is the area, and Basilica Sacre Coeur is the venue. A relatively recently constructed Basilica for Euro standards and very white on the outside. A landmark that stands out on the Paris horizon. Lots of people and a bit of a queue to get in. No photos allowed inside, but quite attractive and Mum found this the most beautiful interior she had seen and of course nearly cleaned out the gift shop of postcards accordingly.

We then descended the hill and made our way out to the Seine island that is home to Notre Dame Cathedral and the original heart of Paris. I had seen the interior of this Cathedral in 2009 and climbed up the tower to see the bell too. So, I left Mum in the long line to enter the cathedral while I ventured to a nearby cafe for an omelette and beer. Her first experience on her own and all was ok. A few more subway stops later and we took in the sights of the Arc de Triomphe from the bottom and top. The view from the top is really good and I love how the streets all converge at this Arch. Very artistic and ordered. We walked along the Avenue des Champs-Elysees and poked our heads into a couple of the overpriced shops and settled for a bar that suited our mood, dress standard and budget for a couple of drinks, meal and watching the scenery along this famous road. Although our day started late, we still managed to get heaps completed and fit in a few relax moments as well. Best type of travel.

Our 2nd full day in Paris was another packed one. A trip to Eiffel Tower and taking photos from some of the good vantage points. Mum was not keen on going up the tower, which was a relief for me cause the queue was ridiculous. Instead we went over to the Louvre where Mum courageously took on this mammoth museum/gallery by herself. I was not keen on going in after seeing it in 2009 and its sheer size puts me off going in a second time. I like my museums small, with minimal reading and in a 1 lane organised fashion where u don’t have to double-back over your path...the Louvre is none of the above (come to think of it, I’m yet to find a museum that meets all my criteria). But worth it all just to catch a glimpse of Mona Lisa and a few other world-famous works of art. While Mum was in this former palace, I explored down to the Concorde Square where another Egyptian obelisk stands, then the Grand and Petite Palaces, a gold trimmed bridge, and the outside of the President’s Palace. We then filled our afternoon with a cruise along the River Seine taking in more angles of the Eiffel Tower and other Paris sights. A very good tour with live commentary and interesting city facts.

We (I) then got horribly confused and lost trying to find a subway stop that would take us back towards our hotel. So we decided to just get a sandwich and walk our way back. I wanted to see the Statue of Liberty replica that sits on an island in the Seine, so walked to that. What a huge walk!! It was well into nightfall by the time we got back to the hotel, which means it must’ve been about 1030pm. All I wanted to do was crawl into bed, but time to pack our bags in readiness for another early morning flight. This time to Edinburgh, Scotland. A busy couple of days in Paris, but productive and I now think I prefer this city over Rome.

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