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Paris Travel Blog

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As an avid traveler there are tons of places that I want to visit.  The list of the countries I'd like to visit is limited only by the number of countries that exist on the earth.  As you can imagine, with such a massive "to-do" list I have to make the most of each opportunity to see new places.  My interest for traveling was first sparked while I was in the military.   During the course of my time in the army I was able to see a wide variety of places and cultures, but it was always on the army's rigid and inflexible time constraints.  Sure, military travel has delays and layovers; this is the norm rather than the exception.   Unfortunately, the military does not allow soldiers to just take off and run around town whenever there is a delay enroute to a deployment.

This picture helps show how massive the structure really is.
 

Now that I am out from under the US Army's thumb, I have learned to relax more while I travel.  I took a civilian job, and I typically use Charles de Gaulle airport as a hub.  One chilly May morning I flew into the airport and hunkered down for a lengthy layover.  As I stared out the windows I began to wonder what the city was like and to think how great a cup of coffee at a local cafe would be.  I realized that this was the perfect opportunity to see some of the sights in Paris.  I have always wanted to see the Eiffel Tower and hang out on Champs-Elysees contemplating the grandeur and magnificence of the Arc de Triomphe.  Paris is known for being a haven for romantics and lovers.

On the bus leaving the airport
  At that moment, I did not happen to fall into either category so spending anymore than a day in Paris was pretty low on my list.

I checked my carry on bag in with baggage storage right outside the luggage pick up area.  I've heard the rumor that Parisians really don't care for Americans.  I cant say for sure if that was true or not, but I did notice at certain times throughout the day that my Texas twang did an excellent job of painting scowls on people's faces.  (I later learned to throw out "Bon jours" instead of "Hellos" and the people started warming to me a bit.)  The baggage storage gentleman was the first person to make the "unfriendly" list for the day.  I'm not the kind of guy to let such an unimportant character on the life's stage get me down so I undauntedly continued on my whirlwind Paris tour.

No caption needed
  I bought myself a round trip bus ticket from a friendly woman at the bus ticket counter and boarded a bus heading to the city.  I am supposedly an "expert" in navigation according to the Army, so I somehow managed to find my way to the city center.  I have to admit though that I was doing constant map checks and praying that I was on the right bus line.  There were several buses that left the airport and my French is nonexistant so I had my doubts about arriving to my intended destination despite my "expert" status.

I got off the bus near the Arc and was pretty impressed.  After taking it in for a couple of minutes, I realized that the excitement of seeing Napoleon's monument to his own ego was dampened a little by the fact that I was exhausted after an all night flight over from Houston, Texas.

Central Ecole Militaire building
  I don't sleep well on airplanes and I was starting to feel the effects of this.  So ultimately I ended up storming down Champs-Elysees looking for a coffee shop to conquer.  Later after being fortified with a delightful French breakfast and several cups of coffee I set off for the other must see places in Paris.  Since I had to return to the Arc to catch a bus back to the airport I knew I could tour it later.  If you are going to tell anyone that you went to Paris, you absolutely have to have a picture in front of the Eiffel Tower to show off.  If you don't get a cool Eiffel Tower picture what is the point in going to Paris?

I realize at this point that if you are a true Paris lover and reading this you are probably very disappointed and not impressed at all so I am not going to mention any of the other places that I went.

On the train going somewhere
  With such a limited amount of time, I wasn't able to see but a fraction of the places that I would have like to have seen, nor was I able pay any of these places the proper respect or consideration that a discerning and enlightened traveler should.  Basically, if you take anything from this journal entry it won't be cultural.  The only thing I have to offer is that the bus and the subway were excellent ways to travel the city.  Even if you don't speak French, as long as you can recognize letters, walk, and not get hit by traffic you will be able to get around the city and see all of the monuments and museums in the city.

If you read the summary to this blog you'll realize that the point of this rapid assault on Paris was basically to take some key photos that I could show off back home and sort of "check the box" on visiting Paris.

Arc de Triomphe
  A layover presents the perfect opportunity to get out and to get a feel for a city.  It's a great tool for assessing a location to see if you want to come back and where you'd like to spend your time if you do.  So let's get out there folks and take some great layover pictures!  Hold your head up high and say "Yes!  I went to Paris and it was lovely."  No one says you have to mention that you were only there for a couple of hours.

emmllerg says:
Enjoy your next vacation to Paris
Posted on: Jun 02, 2013
almond72 says:
You forgot to buy a " I was in Paris T shirt" to complete the trip. :D
Posted on: Sep 02, 2009
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This picture helps show how massiv…
This picture helps show how massi…
On the bus leaving the airport
On the bus leaving the airport
No caption needed
No caption needed
Central Ecole Militaire building
Central Ecole Militaire building
On the train going somewhere
On the train going somewhere
Arc de Triomphe
Arc de Triomphe
Still early enough in the day that…
Still early enough in the day tha…
Ecole Militaire building
Ecole Militaire building
Large crowd at the Eiffel Tower
Large crowd at the Eiffel Tower
Ghetto soccer field in the middle …
Ghetto soccer field in the middle…
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photo by: Sweetski