Published: December 5th 2011October 3rd 2011
It was like ready set GO in Paris. I arrived early and locked my luggage away in Gare l'Austerlitz and proceeded to get the ticket that I had reserved to Portbou in Spain leaving that evening. I then walked rapidly along the river past the Jardin des Plantes which is the main botanical garden in France and the Notre Dame cathedral on the other side of the river to Place St. Michel where the free walking tour was meeting.
Our tour guide was hilarious - constantly cracking jokes - mainly politically incorrect ones. We started the tour by crossing the Sant-Michel bridge checking out the Notre Dame cathedral to our right the the bullet holes in the wall of one of the law courts in front of us caused I think by WWII. We then went downstairs onto the smelly path besides the river heading towards Pont Neuf which is the oldest bridge in Paris before going back upstairs to take in the Louvre and Pont des Arts with its attached love locks. We stopped for lunch and I had a very french Macdonalds before we carried on to the Tuileries Gardens.
Our tour guide freaked out a little
fitting for fashion week
when she saw a homeless man who had slapped then spat at her a few weeks previous. She also continuously warned us of the dangers of Parisian con artists who have all sorts of scams up their sleeves e.g. the petition scam where a gypsy forcefully approaches you with a clipboard saying so should give money, and there will often be a sign on the back saying 10 euros minimum. Furthermore, when the unwitting tourist has removed their wallet the gypsy will take note of that for when her kids will hug you afterwards as a 'thank you'. Saw loads of these. I say gypsy because although it is not entirely PC, the tour guide had no shame in airing her thoughts on these people warning us not to sleep with a gypsy as we would catch chlamydia. :) The other one she told us about is the ring scam whereby a scammer will 'find' a ring on the ground and try to give it to you. They will then walk away and come back a few minutes later saying they are hungry etc etc blah blah. I personally don't know how some people can be so dumb as to
fall for these scams but that's just me.
At the end of the Tuileries Garden is the obilisk which was a gift from the Egyptions and one of three in the world - the other two being in London and New York. We ended the tour at the incredibly opulent Grand Palais. Me and about 5 other from the tour then strolled across to the Eiffel Tower. We bought some picnic supplies from a nearby supermarket and had a picnic on Champ de Mars. There were so many cliches going on it was unreal! Besides our picnic and bottle of wine, the weather was beautiful, there was a canoodling couple smack bang in the middle of the park with the old-fashioned bikes stood upright beside them on stands, families playing with their dogs and children and business people eating baguettes on their way home. What a perfect end to a day in Paris! But wait - no trip to Paris is complete without a visit to the top of the world's most famous tower.
We decided to walk to the second floor and then got a lift to the top. Given the choice I would have walked the
whole way but ziz is not posseeble. The timing was spot on just like it had been in Berlin in that I got to see the view of the city by daylight, at sunset and by night from the top of the tower. Two ladies actually started crying as the sun was setting and applause broke out. I personally wouldn’t go that far but each to their own!! The tower looks so beautiful at night and it twinkles every hour for 5 minutes.
The rush was on to make my train to Portbou in Spain. It was certainly an action-packed day in Paris. I needed to relax.
There are more photos below