Our Stay in Paris
Paris Travel Blog› entry 9 of 18 › view all entries
Warning: Some of the history lesson below may be boring to some, but this blog serves as a historical document for us. J
Today is Wednesday June 16th and we are on our way to Amsterdam via the “Thalys” high speed train with stops in Brussels, Antwerp, and Rotterdam. We had been in Paris since Saturday afternoon (3 days, 4 nights). We were not able to add any blog entries for a few days due to a questionable internet connection.
International train travel can be an interesting experience, but we have found it is a really easy and convenient way to get from country to country. Traveling from London to Paris was a breeze. Leaving London we were seen off by a marching band inside the terminal and arriving in Paris we were greeted by a large group of Africans beating on drums and blowing whistles. The scene in Paris was so loud you couldn’t hear yourself think, let alone ask for directions. As for the train ride, we were in a 2nd class cabin aboard the “Eurostar”, a high-speed train that connects London to the continent of Europe via the “Chunnel”. 2nd class on this train is very similar to a 1st class seat on any airliner and was very comfortable.
We arrived at the Paris train station at rush hour loaded down with our packs. We had to transfer to a “Metro” (Paris Subway) train that was hot and packed! Sam was able to get a seat, but the rest of us stood slammed in like sardines. Looking back, Sam may have opted for standing as my pack was essentially resting on top of him while he was pinned against the window.
After we arrived at the hotel (5:30 PM) we decided to try and get over to the Eiffel Tower prior to dark. We were a bit late so we decided to try a restaurant that had been recommended by one of our airline attendants from the flight over. It was awesome! All they serve is steak and fries. When you walk in they ask for your drink order and then, “how would you like your steak cooked?” nothing more.
On our first full day in Paris (Sunday) we slept in before grabbing pastries and bread on our way into the heart of Paris. Everyone always seems to be walking the city eating from a French bread baguette as they make their way around. Our first stop of the day was Notre Dame for a few pictures of the cathedral. We then headed to the Musee d’ Orsay for an audio tour of artwork (Impressionist) from the 18th and 19th centuries.
At the Eiffel Tower you have 2 options. One option is to wait in a 2 hour line for an elevator to the top. The second option is to wait in a 10 minute line where you have to walk up a good number of stairs to the second level. From the second level (400 ft) you can take an elevator to the top. We opted for the 10 minute wait. It was good exercise!
Our Eiffel tower escapade ended up being a 4 hour tour while we waited for the sun to go down.
Monday morning (day 2 in Paris) was our first rainy day of the trip and it was a nice change because the day before it had gotten hot and muggy. Our first stop of the day was the Louvre museum (Renaissance Art from 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries).
We spent a couple of hours in the Louvre and I can honestly tell you my attention span for art and art history is about 15 minutes more that Sam’s. Bye the time we had seen Mona Lisa at the top and Venus de Milo at the bottom, we were done.
Exiting the Louvre, we passed through the Place de la Concorde (site where Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were beheaded) and then up the Avenue des Champs Elysees on our way to the Arc de Triomphe (Arc de Triomphe was commissioned by Napoleon to commemorate his victories). Champs-Elysees is a high end fashion avenue of shopping known to be the most expensive strip in Europe.
At this point the traveling and sightseeing had caught up so we headed back early, and did laundry at a Laundromat near the hotel. Sam and I went to bed while Christy and Ali went to get coffee and dessert down the street. They tried a crepe flambé that had chocolate and coconut. Unfortunately, the flambé didn’t burn nearly long enough and it wasn’t quite what they expected. They said it was a good thing they had coffee to wash it down and laughed about it. As it turns out coffee at 11 o’clock was a bad idea, as they came back all wound up and bouncing off the walls.
Day 3 (Tuesday) in Paris we decided to visit Château de Versailles that is located 20 minutes outside of Paris.
It is here that I should mention the Metro (Paris subway). Initially when we first arrived we purchased 3 day passes that were supposed to allow us unlimited use for the three days we were in Paris. Well, our passes lasted about 3 stops and 3 hours. The next morning we exchanged our tickets for new ones that allowed us another 3 hours and 3 stops. At this point we said f#$k it and proceeded to jump the turnstiles for the next 2 days.
The Metro as a means of transportation was very efficient, but it wasn’t the prettiest of places. Many of the stops smelled of urine. I can’t quite figure this out as I only saw one bum, but we did get a reprieve one day when a kind gentleman was nice enough to perfume our Metro car with the heavy scent of BO! Anyway the Metro was not nearly as cleans as the “Underground” in London. Guess that’s why you see kiosks in London selling “Underground” t-shirts, but none in Paris selling “Metro” t-shirts.
After the Rodin (Sculpture) Museum we were off to Napoleon’s Tomb which included a WWI and WWII museum.
At this point we called it a day. We returned to the hotel and while the girls packed Sam and I went in search of dinner. Sam did the shopping and was able to piece together a very good rotisserie chicken, rice, and mixed olive dinner that of course included a baguette of French bread.