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Published: November 14th 2009
Street view from our hotel entrance
The streets are very safe to walk at night
Again we got up bright and early as we have a lot to do today. We buy tickets for the hop-on hop-of bus to explore Paris some more. Unfortunately we can’t go into all the places we would like to see, there is just too much to do and to little time. The streets are filled with coffee shops and small cafes, all the outside tables face the street and in Paris it seems the main past time is people watching. The vibe in Paris is amazing and we feel energetic and actually kind of jubilant.
One of the best things we did today has to be the Catacombs. We went down what seems like hundreds of stairs and end up in a tunnel with a low roof and dainty lights. As we walked down the narrow dark and quite walkways we feel like we’re walking back in time. The history behind the French catacombs is very interesting.
Most of Paris's larger churches once had their own cemeteries, but city growth and generations of dead began to overwhelm them. From the late seventeenth century, Paris' largest Les Innocents cemetery was saturated to
That's us on the bus
Hop-on hop-off bus works very well
a point where its neighbors were suffering from disease, due to contamination caused by improper burials, open mass graves, and earth charged with decomposing organic matter.
After almost a century of ineffective decrees condemning the cemetery, it was finally decided to create three new large-scale suburban cemeteries and to condemn all existing within the city limits; the remains of all condemned cemeteries would be moved discreetly to a renovated section of Paris's abandoned quarries. The way that the catacombs are build is amazing and the amount of bones can only be guessed at. There is a strange humor with in the eeriness of the quarries, as the bone “walls” were decorated by sculls in patters such as crosses and hearts. We walked far away from the group and felt like we were alone in the dark with the old bones from centuries ago. No one is allowed to take photos using a flash, but there are faint lights where we could take a picture or two. The catacomb is well worth a visit. When we finally reached the light again, we had no idea where we were. We decided to have a real French
picnic in a park, with juice,
wine, cheese, fruits and bread. After the relaxing lunch, we were back to sight seeing! We hopped back onto the buss and our next stop was the famous Arc de Triomphe.
The arch was commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 to commemorate his victories, but he was ousted before the arch was completed. In fact, it wasn't completed until 1836 during the reign of Louis-Philippe. The Arc de Triomphe is engraved with names of generals who commanded French troops during Napoleon's regime. The top of the arch features a viewing platform from where you have great views of La Defense, the Champs-Elysées and the Sacré-Coeur. Make sure you take one of the underpasses to the arch, it is too dangerous to try and cross the street. There is no elevator in the arch, so be prepared to walk up 234 steps.
The view from the top is magnificent! It looks like all the streets lead to the Arc. This in our opinion may even be a better view than from the Eiffel Tower, as you clearly see the tower from here. On the 2nd level you have a small camera that shown how it looks directly under the arch
of the tower while you are in it. The fast walk down the long spiral stairs made us dizzy, lots of fun!
From there it was time for shopping in Market street. We wish we could buy all the things we saw. There is something for everyone and shopping in Paris is wonderful! We expected it to be expensive, but Melinda bought a nice skull shirt with choker and chain for 10 Euros!
It was time to go home as Melinda’s feet were killing her! She walked with her hiking boots again, but will not tomorrow! We had some take-aways from a shop where we could not understand the language, but the menu had good pictures and we easily explained what we wanted. The portions are huge and we could have shared and both be stuffed, food is cheap as long as you don’t buy from the touristy areas.
Paris truly is the city of love. We guess it’s something in the air. We feel so close and connected. We realize how lucky we are to have each other and fall in love all over again.
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