Day 281: Paris, France

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November 3rd 2007
Published: November 8th 2007
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Our one-day-power-visit to Paris began with an extremely early start, (woke up at about 3.30am then two buses to Waterloo station) as our Eurostar train left at 5.24am!

The ride on the Eurostar was fairly uneventful - we were both still 95% asleep and dozed most of the way, but eventually we arrived at Gare de Nord in central Paris - ready to race around the city and see as much as possible! Unfortunately the day was dismal in the morning - freezing cold and raining too. Still, we soon found a bus tour and began to cruise around the city admiring the fantastic sites!

We managed to see the more famous sites quite early - Notre Dame Cathedral, Arc de Triomphe, The Lourve, the Eiffel tower, The Hotel des Invalides, the Avenue des Champs-Elysees and the Place de la Concorde. There is so much to see in central Paris it is staggering - you can very easily end up passing by incredible monuments and architechture - but barely even glancing, as there is something even more impressive across the road! However we managed to have a good look around all of these magnificent sites and were famished when lunch time rolled around!

Our one day deal to Paris included lunch at a French restaurant so we headed back to the Lourve area where our restaurant was - Aungere. We both ordered a two course luch - which was fantastic. As we walked to Notre Dame to catch another bus, I realized I had lost our bus tickets - oh what a dick... Kristi was understandably not impressed! However we headed back to the office and they gave us replacements - phewww - I may not have made it home in one piece otherwise!

We spent the late afternoon exploring another part of the city and soaking up the history and grandeur of the city. Paris has a real ambiance about it, its hard not to fall in love with the relaxed atmosphere and general lack of rushing that you experience in so many other cities. There are thousands of street side cafes and restaurants and people are completely content to soak up hours just watching the world go by eating and drinking wine (and smoking of course - this IS Paris!).

All too quickly it was time to head back to Gare de Nord for our train home, however on the way we made sure we were able to pass through the theatre district - which was a mad-house as soon as it got dark! Theatres, eateries, cinemas and hundreds of sex shops (!) all lit up like christmas trees by hundreds radiant neon coloured signs. We even passed the infamous Moulin Rouge, which was surrounded by thousands of tourists taking pictures of the glowing windmill. We stopped and watched a few street performers on the way back - Kristi was a big fan of the spectacular hip-hop dancers - some of what they do is quite unnatural!! (but VERY impressive!).

Then suddenly we were out of time and arrived at the station with about 6 minutes in which to pass through customs and make our train - which we managed to do... just... even despite Kristi having a run in with a vindictive French customs lady!! I've said it before, but we will just have to come back to Paris again!

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