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Published: November 27th 2008
...look more scafolding!
Monique & Daniel here - writing for the last time about a visit to a different country.
We are now on the Eurostar train heading back to London from Paris. Heading back to our last week of work in England - man, time has flown.
After arriving in Paris we walked the 3km from the train station to the hotel, past about 1,500 sex/XXX/AO shops! Shocking! After we managed to escape the seemingly never-ending shops, we passed Moulin Rouge, and found our hotel, in a nicer area of the town.
We dumped our bags, opened the windows (to get some fresh air other then the smokey smell) and headed into Paris. Paris is full of unfriendly French people, it seems like no-one even attempts to try and speak English, and it appears to have no tourist information booths. I do have to give credit though - when I went into one shop, a friendly French shop-owner gave me an Eiffel Tower key-chain for free! Yah - I managed to find a nice French person! We wandered around the town for a while, and eventually found a place that sold maps of Paris. Armed with this we
headed for the Arc de Triomphe. It looks just like it does in the tourist photos. Nothing much to report - an arch with a flame underneath it marking the unknown soldiers grave. The roundabout surrounding the Arc de Triomphe is a massive mess. As you probably all know, traffic on the roundabout has to give way to traffic coming on. There are tons of lanes, which no-one uses - they just all drive all over the lanes, and there are horns blaring everywhere, cars stopped in the inner lanes trying to get out of the roundabout, traffic not moving because all the other traffic is coming in - it’s just chaos. We have found that the French drive only slightly better than the Italians - there’s always a horn blaring, and they drive fast - but they do, however, stop at roundabouts, unlike the Italians.
After watching the suicidal drivers we headed down to see the most famous landmark - the Eiffel Tower. Our first impressions were - it’s brown?! Those Euro-stars look tacky! It’s quite big!
We joined a queue, and took the cheaper option of walking the stairs up the Eiffel Tower. By this stage it
was about 5pm at night, and the already freezing cold day was getting even colder. Luckily the wait was only about 40 minutes - unlike the waiting times in the summer apparently. By the time we got up the night-sky was up, so we had some fantastic views of the Paris lights (we did actually want to go up at night since we have been up so many other towers during the day that we thought this would be something different). The Eiffel Tower lights up blue at night and it has a ‘light-show’ every hour, on the hour, for 5 mins - we got to see 3 of these - two while on the tower, and one on the ground - yip - we were there for ages! Down on the ground the light-show wasn’t as impressive as I thought it would be - just a whole lot of random flashing lights. I thought it would be more of a sequence of flashing lights.
Anyway, up the tower, on each of the three levels, we went into the inner rooms to warm up again before bracing the chilly night air to see the views. There were restaurants, cafes,
museums, and short films. This is where I learnt that the Eiffel tower has only been painted brown quite recently. When we were heading up to the third level, we hoped on a lift, which fortunately, I heard someone say was heading down, in time to quickly jump out again, unfortunately, Daniel was stuck wedged in the crowd - so I watched him through the glass windows, descending back down to the ground. Luckily he was able to stay in the lift and head back up again - where we managed to find the correct elevator to the top floor. (Daniel would like me to clarify for those of you who don’t know - that we didn’t pike out of walking up the stairs - we walked the two levels and you have to get a lift to the final level).
After getting down we found a nice cosy Thai restaurant, to get the circulation back in our body and melt the icicles, and ending our first day in Paris.
On the second day we took the underground out to the Notre Dame. While taking some photos of the outside of the church it started snowing! So, we weren’t
being softies, complaining about the cold yesterday - it really was freezing! We went into the Notre Dame - and walked around the building. Quite a nice church - the only strange thing was that there was a church service going on! Really bizarre that there are about twice as many tourists wandering about the church as there are congregational members. I’m surprised they let us do that!
After seeing a few of the other big buildings in the area we moved from tourist shop to tourist shop - trying to war m up some. Eventually we decided we’d had enough of the cold - and the rain, so we heading to the Musee du Louvre - the home of the Mona Lisa. Quite interestingly, I just started reading the Da Vinci Code (very exciting so far!!), so going to the Louvre was quite fitting, since that is where the start of the book is set. We did the touristy thing and headed straight for the Mona Lisa. We managed to make our way to the front of the crowd, shot some pictures, and get out of there. We also saw the Venus de Milo statue. We looked at
quite a lot of painting and sculptures - but with over 35,000 works of art in an area over 60,600m2, your feet get sore before you have even looked at half of it. We saw as much art as we possibly could, before we called it a day and headed back to the hotel again.
On our third day we discovered that you could see the top of the Eiffel Tower from our hotel room! And then we left! But, we had the most fun day ever - we went to Disneyland! Now both Daniel and I have been to our childhood dreams - in Legoland and Disneyland (I know last week I said I had fulfilled my childhood dreams going to Les Miserables, but Disneyland was a much bigger dream!). I was like an excited little kid in Disneyland; much like Daniel was in Legoland. It was so cool - everything I ever imagined. And it was good going at this time of year because the park wasn’t full of kids and summer holiday-makers. It was still busy, but you only had to queue for about 10-15mins for most rides - fantastic! I could have gone nuts in
Inside the Notre Dame
...see there's a church service going on while there are heaps of tourists walking around the outside. And they seem to use dry-ice as well - not quite sure why - mysterious? Or to block out the tourists?
their shops - there is just so many cool things (and Rebecca, I looked out for our money boxes, but I couldn’t find any ). Unfortunately everything in their shops was soooo expensive, so I had to limit my spending to just a few souvenirs. We went on lots of the rides - through princess castles, and on little cart rides that followed Disney stories like Snow White and Pinocchio. We went on a ‘Jack Sparrow’ ride; and a Buzz Lightyear ride where you had laser guns that you used to shoot targets around the ride (I’d just like to point out that I beat Daniel at this!). We went on a Star Tour, which was a simulator through some Star Wars scenery. And we went on another Inter-Galactic ride, which I thought was another simulator, instead it was this massively fast roller-coaster that brought you though all these rooms in the pitch black with different light strobes all around and a track thrusting you side-to-side and upside down at an incredible speed. Really scary but fun! Of course, the photographer’s snap-shot of us involved me screaming with my eyes shut and a look of horror on my face,
Some crazy dog lovers
outside the Notre Dame
and Daniel laughing away!
There were a few Disney characters around the park, but I didn’t get any photos, since I would have been the only adult in the line of a queue full of babies - it just didn’t seem right!
Oh yeah, the park was even cooler at this time of the year, not only for the smaller number of people, but also because it’s near Christmas - so Christmas was everywhere - the music, the souvenirs, the Disney characters were dressed in Santa gear, there was a massive Christmas tree and the main street ‘snowed’ every half an hour.
At the end of the day is a big parade with lots of the Disney floats, but we couldn’t stay since we had a train to catch. I’ll just have to dream about that for another day’s adventure.
So now we’ve been to Paris and to Disneyland. And while I loved Disneyland the most, Paris grew on me also!
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