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Published: August 26th 2014
This wasn't your typical visit to Paris. We have done all the monuments, museums, and landmarks several times. So, this time we decided to see some less visited sights. Using the "Paris Walks" cards (thanks, Cindy) we explored some interesting sites in little neighborhood walks. These walks took us to Ile de la Cite, Ile St. Louis, Pere Lachaise Cemetery, and Opera Square.
The island walk on Ile de la Cite started in little quaint back streets and led us past Notre Dame with its, oh so long, line of tourists waiting to enter. We enjoyed it from outside before moving on to Sainte Chapelle with its much shorter line. The restoration of the stain glass panels is still underway. About 2/3's is completed and it is stunning. The sunlight streaming through the panels seemed electric. The Conciergerie (aka prison) was part of the admission ticket to Sainte Chapelle. Marie-Antoinette was imprisoned here before her execution. This walk ended with a visit to the small park at the end of the island.
From there we continued on to Ile St. Louis. This was a lovely quiet walk away from the August travelers. The narrow streets were lined with charming
cafés, shops, and ice cream stores. Many of the buildings on this island date back to the 17th century.
The walk to and through Le Pere Lachaise Cemetery took several hours. The Cemetery is the largest and one of the oldest in Paris. There are many famous people buried here (Charlie Chaplin, Oscar Wilde, Sarah Bernhardt, Balzac, Bizet, Jim Morrison, and more). Finding most of these tombs was a real scavenger hunt. However, Jim Morrison's grave was a bit easier to find. It was where all the people were.
After spending our morning with dead people, we headed to where the thriving crowds were: the Arc De Triomphe, the Champs Elysees, and the Eiffel Tower. The Parsians may leave Paris in August, but travelers from numerous countries were there to take their place. There were long lines at all the major sites.
Our last day was spent walking through the major shopping areas around Opera Square. The department stores of Galleries Lafayette and Printemps were crowded and amazing. The stores are lovely and the merchandise is beautiful. While these were fun to stroll through our next stop at the Museum of Perfume Fragonard was a sensuous treat.
Entrance to the Palais of Justice
Location of Sainte Chapelle and the Conciergerie
The history of perfume making was explained, ancient perfume bottles were displayed, and there was an antique "perfume organ". This was especially interesting to me, after reading about one, in a book read by my book club. Did some serious shopping here! (Thank you for the recommendation, Lynne.)
Then, to top all this off, we did a tour through the Palais Garnier - the Paris Opera House. It was INCREDIBLE !!! For an opera lover, this was a real treat. The building is beautiful and my photos don't do it justice.
Cities can be exhausting, and after 3 days of walking, navigating subways and people, we were feeling depleted and my pedometer even crashed. But there was no rest for these determined travelers - Lisbon was next.
Ramblin' Ron and Pam
I've fallen in love with the panorama feature on my phone. There are 3 good panoramas and 1 mistake that I can't seem to delete. Don't wait for the last one!
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