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Published: October 1st 2008
The city of lights really lived up to its name. We only had three days in Paris, but made the most of it.
Alex and I got off the night train at about 7:45am. We couldn't check in to our room, but were allowed to drop our bags and get in on a free breakfast. Alex was super happy about this! We saw an ad for a free walking tour of Paris at our hostel and decided to take it. The tour was not just a four hour tour of Paris, it also educated us as to the history of the Parisien people. As we walked past areas of the city such as the Latin Quarter or the national mint, our guide had a multitude of stories associated with each building or area. There wern't as many scars on the city from WWII as I thought there would be. Apparently, over the years people who occupied Paris fell in love with it as much as anyone.
After our tour Alex and I headed straight for the Arc de Triomphe. We found out during our tour that you have to pay to go under the round-about to get to the
You can see the bullet holes in the side of this police building.
Arc. So we thought about tackling the hectic traffic to get to the center. However, as soon as we saw the merry-go-round of chaos we chickened out.
From the Arc we could see the Eiffel Tower, and I couldn't resist the urge to go towards it any longer. As we were walking to the tower we were stopped by a fellow who had just picked up a gold wedding band and asked if we had dropped it. We said 'No' and tried to continue on our way, but the fellow said he had no use for it and gave it to us. We didn't really know what to do. As we were walking away from the fellow with the heavy band in my hand we were wondering if we should take it to the cops or try to pawn it. But we didn't have much time to think, because the fellow came running back towards us and started to ask us for money. We said we had none and the fellow became quite persistant. He pointed towards Alex's pocket where he had a folded map of the city, thinking it was his wallet. Alex pulled out the map, showed
These box vendors were built after the war to give the vets jobs selling war trinkets. The ownership of these boxes has been passed down to the next generations.
it to him and then I gave him back the ring. One block away we saw three girls pulling the same scam. They tried to get us too, but this time we were savy!
After that we headed up the Eiffel Tower. It was cheaper and faster to walk up to the second level and then to get an elevator from there to the top. 690 stairs doesn't sound like much until you march up them. Legs jellied from the walk we got to the top of Paris. There are no other buildings close to the height of the tower, so you get a truly amazing view.
We ended the day with a walk to the grocery store and sat on the Champ de Mars, drinking wine, eating bagettes and watching the tower light up like a Christmas tree.
The next day we had to move accomadation locations because we couldn't find a place to stay that had three nights in a row open. So we moved our bags to the new hotel and walked around Paris without any plan of what to do. On Friday nights it is free for under 26ers to get into the
Most of the arcetecture is arranged at 90 degree angles.
Louvre. So we headed there and went straight for the Mona Lisa. We had heard that there can be huge line ups to see her, and we didn't want to miss seeing her so we almost ran, trying to beat the crowds. It turns out there wasn't a line at all. So we elbowed our way to the front of the crowed, took a couple snaps, and elbowed our way out. We were glad we didn't have to wait too long to see the Mona Lisa, because we then had lots of time to find other works of art that we were hoping to get to see. The Venus de Milo was very interesting. I didn't know that they didn't know who created her. I think she was Alex's favorite. My favorite thing in the museum wasn't the art at all, but the many art students copying the great statues or paintings into their notepads. It felt very cultural!
After the Louvre we couldn't resist going back to the Champ de Mars with a couple bottles and watching the tower light up again. There were all sorts of students and other young folks there with the same idea. There
The pyramid at the Louvre.
were even french fellows who walked around with bottles of wine and champagne should your personal supply run out.
The next day we didn't exactly get off to a fast start. This may or may not had something to do with the wine from the night before! When we did get up we started our morbidly themed day. First we went to the grave where Jim Morrison, Chopin, and Oscar Wilde were burried. Then we went to l'Ossuaire Municipal. The catacombes deep under the city were originally a stone mine. When churchyard graves started to overflow someone came up with the bright idea to move the old bones to the mine and turn it into a tourist attraction. It is very creepy walking amognst the bones of the dead.
After the catacombes we went to the Cathedral of Notre Dame. We didn't see Quasimodo but we did see the beautiful rose stained glass windows. The largest in the world. We have seen a lot of churches by now, but this one was still impressive. It was free to get in as well, which we thought was strange as the Notre Dame Cathedral in Montreal charges you four dollars
Alex at the Louvre.
to see inside!
We got up early the next day to catch a train to Munich. Poor planning got the best of us this time as the trains were all full to quarter to six. So we bought our late ticket, left our packs, and went to the Luxembourg park and lounged in the sun for the afternoon.
Well that was a long one. Hope I didn't bore you!
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