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Published: December 2nd 2009
Napoleon Looking Across
The Invalides Complex (My fave photo!)
It was great being back in Paris after having a wonderful stay in July. This time, I spent three nights in a wonderful hotel, Hotel De L'Europe
. I got a good deal for a single room, ensuite, with breakfast included via Hostelworld
. For Paris standards, it was good value for money and it was near Gard du Nord where I can take to metro to the main sights and attractions.
In my current university studies, I recently studied about the French Revolution and currently studying about Napoleon so I was particularly looking forward to appreciating the city's history even more.
Reliving the 'Revolution' Conciergerie
I visited the Conciergerie, part of the Palais de la Cite complex, on the Ile de la Cite. The Conciergerie became a prison from the 14th Century and famed for housing prisoners during the French Revolution's Year of The Terror and the Thernidor's reign. It was noted that around 2,780 prisoners were sentenced to death in Paris, including Marie-Antoinette and Robespierre, during the Revolution. I saw Marie-Antoinette's prison; looking at the prison, it seems she had more privleges compared to the average prisoner!!! It was nice wandering through the Conciergerie's kitchen halls with its gothic ceilings.
Robespierre Versailles Walking Tour
Who reigned with the Jacobins during the French Revolution and was imprisoned at the Conciergerie.
After visiting the Conciergerie, I joined a walking tour around the grounds of Versailles and accompanying me was Angie (New Zealand), Kacey and Nicole (USA), Tidie (Australia), Gabriella (Argentina) and guiding us, Alex (New Zealand). We took a 40 minute RER train journey to Versailles.
I thoroughly enjoyed touring the grounds and gardens. Alex gave us a great lively history lesson starting from King Louis XIV's extravagances and self indulgences (why Versailles!) to King Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, whose ignorance contributed towards the start of the Revolution. Visiting at this time of the year, a lot of the statues were covered and it was cold and windy. At least the sun was shining! So we were well wrapped up although I wished I had brought my hat and scarf! However, it was worthwhile making this trip anyway just to wander in the grounds. Despite the cold weather and not seeing the grounds in full bloom and the fountains not running, there were still loads of tourists exploring inside the Palace. I decided not to tour inside the Palace and would leave this for another trip. I felt the time that I had remaining for
At the Palace & Grounds
this opportunity would have not done it justice along with the cost factor. Walking Tour of Paris
On another afternoon, I joined a free walking tour of Paris. Along with visiting the usual hot spots, I learnt more about the French Revolution from visiting the Tuileries gardens and Place de La Concorde where a lot of history took place. The Place de La Concorde was a focal point for the Revolution and we stood in the very spot where Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette got executed by the guillotine.
It was great appreciating the history that shaped France and, to an extent, many other countries!
Finding Napoleon Arc de Triomphe
The monument was an idea commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 and was completed in 1836. Napoleon had an obsession with the Greek and Roman Empires and sought inspiration from the rulers including Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar. This probably explains why the monument has a lot of imperial influences. The monument also commemorates Napoleon's victories by its engravings. The Arc de Triomphe is also known for the Tombeau du Soldat inconnu
(the unknown soldier) symblolising those who died during World War I. I climbed
The kitchen halls
up to the platform to see the Paris skyline. As I went up later on in the day, I got great views of Paris by night including the Champs-Elysees and the Eiffel Tower. I was happy that my photos turned out better than the norm (I still got to work on my night shots) because, usually, my night photos have always been under par. I guess it is a breakthrough for my photography. I wish I have more time to experiment with my camera but this is not the case at the moment. The Invalides and Eglise du Dome
My highlight of the trip was visiting Napoleon tomb in the Eglise du Dome. Napoleon's body was returned to France from St Helena by the request of King Louis-Phillippe in 1840. I also had a look around the Invalides complex including the Musee de L'Armee where I had a quick browse in The World Wars Departments
. What I saw was interesting but I feel I need to give more time to explore to give it justice. The Modern Department, from Louis XIV to Napoleon III
was en traveux
so I have a good reason to revisit the museum next
Winter is setting in!
Trees stripped bare for the winter, Versailles
time. I love the Invalides building and adored the photo I took of Napoleon looking across the courtyard (from behind). I eventually got to Napoleon's tomb in the Dome where I marvelled at the interior decor of the dome. I saw other tombs including his brothers. A big highlight for me and highly recommended. Prices
I must say that Paris is very expensive, more so than London and many other places I visited! It is more so thanks to the weak GBP! Food, drinks and attractions are expensive and very soon they added up! However, public transportation was reasonably priced. I got a 3 Day Paris Visite pass for 20 Euros and you can receive discounts in a number of attractions. As for eating out during my stay, I dined out at Japanese and Thai restaurants. The prices there are on par for what I would pay for meals back home so it was not a bad thing. However, despite the costs, I felt my trip was worth every penny!
I am looking forward to returning to Paris in the Spring!
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