I love Paris up the Octave...

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April 21st 2017
Published: April 22nd 2017
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So here we are in Gay Paris, half way into our week long sojourn in the city of love, without our romantic other halves, but with each other which makes the experience a different but seriously cultural experience. We arrived on Tuesday 18th, but honestly the least said about that day the better. We arrived at Dublin airport to be greeted by HUGE queues to check in, so long that we almost missed the check in deadline despite having arrived at the airport over an hour before the cut off time. This led to a mad dash through the airport, security, scanning of passports in order to get to our boarding gate. We were treated to a high quality muffin and hot chocolate on the flight though. We arrived in Paris, and bought tickets to the Roissy Bus which takes passengers from Charles De Gaulle Airpot to the city every 15 minutes, sounds good...but sadly its just a concertina bus with no space whatsoever for luggage so there are scores of international passengers with giant suitcases trying to drag them through a bus and find seats around everyone elses giant suitcases without falling over. We also were given a sad reminder of the current world with a tent city on the outskirts of the Peripherique and Syrian refugees hoping for shelter. Dropped unceremoniously at Paris opera, I needed an ATM to get a cab, or be faced with a 10 minute walk that i wasnt clear on, with suitcases...lets just say this wasnt our finest hour- but eventually we got money, got a cab, found our flat and were met by an older french woman who showed us in, and welcomed us, We are staying on Rue Moliere, in the 1st Arrondisement, very close to the Louvre and as it turns out in the centre of the Korean and Japanese hub of Paris. So if you want a bubble tea, this is the place to be. I left Evie to settle in and went out for supplies, quickly found my feet in the city, Reminding myself how much I love this place. We were so stressed and exhausted by the day that we got Italian takeaway from a restaurant across the street, I bought a lottle of very decent wine from the Supermarket for the princely sum of 3 euro 45, and that was that. Onward and upward. Wednesday we decided to see what we could see locally, so 1st stop was the Louvre. Crowds galore of course, but we were at least able to got into the slightly less ridiculous line, instead of the really ridiculous line, as I had pre - bought a museum pass for myself, and children are free (a policy I LOVE). After about 40 mins we made it to security check of bags and body scans (this is the way it is now), and we were in! I had forgotten how enormous the place is - we first settle on the Egyptian/Roman and Greek Section, as Evie has a passion for Ancient History, so we were treated to a huge collection of ancient artefacts, tombs, heiroglyphics, statues and art. We briefly stopped for a baguette and a uice when alarms sounded and we were required to evacuate "for our safety" - so the thousands of people in the Louvre descended upon the exit at once with the people on the outside bemused...with no idea what happened we hung about for a bit but when we were allowed to re enter, we were being told to re-queue - so we decided to come bak another time for the Italian Renaissance component, and went on for a walk in the Jardin Du tulleries, before heading back for a well deserved rest. We talk a walk in the afternoon to Place Vendome, and then later int he afternoon went to start our Eiffel Tower experience. I had booked a tour which included tickets to the Summit , which met at 7.30, so we strolled along the Seine enjoying the late afternoon sun, until I realised how much further we still had to go...so then we walked very quickly, then RAN to make our meeting time. We were in a small group of about 10 people and had a fabulous tour guide called Hava who was originally from Iowa, but moved to france 15 years ago - being bilngual here is a great door opener for work! She took us straight to security and withn minutes we were getting in the first lift which takes 110 people every 7 minutes to the second level. Here we were given some great information about each section of Paris, facts and interesting stats . It was also UNBELIEVABLY WINDY AND FREEZING COLD! The sun was starting to set as we continued to we decided to abandon our tour at that point and head into the queue for summit access. Great thing we did as we arrived just in time for sunset atop the Eiffel tower. Evie brought the bear given to her by her love, and I brought the amethyst stone given to me by mine. We took it in, breathed in the moment, and after a time headed back down to level2, took another look and some pics, then down to the bottom, which time it was dark and the tower was lit up brilliantly. We had our first french bistrot meal at a local restaurant at 9.45pm (another reason why I love this place) - Evie had Roast Chicken and I had Boeuf Bourgignon. We got a cab home and happily collapsed. Thursday 20th I gave Evie a good sleep in, as her foot was quite sore from the walking and running yesterday (19000 steps). I went and bought a heat gel pak for her ankle and some supplies while she relaxed, and we didnt head out till about midday. Today we got the metro where we could, so first stop was from Louvre Rivoli to Charles De Gaulle Etoile for a visit to the Arc De Triomphe. Hadnt really tought this through given the amount of steps it is to get to the top - but we persevered anyway and enjoyed the view down the Champs Elysees in 2 directions the Eiffel Tower in another, and Sacre Coer in another. HEading back down all those stairs, we then took another metro and went to the Museum of Discovery - where the Planeterium Is - and also happens to be a very cool scince and astronomy hub - which is right up Evies alley -so we looked at a bunch of very cool exhibitions, had a quick baguette befpre sitting in the Planetarium for a show about the night sky, which would have been more educational if we had understoos a word they were saying - but it was beautiful anyway! From there we took another metro to La Verenne, where we took a quick tour of Napoleon's tomb (trying hard NOT to bow as we looked down (Hava, our knowledgeable Eiffel Tower guide, explained that Napoleons wish was that when he was entombed, everyone who went to see his tomb should bow before it - so the way this was sneakily accomplished by his people was that his tomb was put in a large well so when you look from above you "bow" to see it...personally I had no desire to bow to a short Frenchman...from there we headed home by metro and took a well deserved break, resting our feet, before heading out to Bistrot Victoires for dinner (shared Soup De L'Ognion, and Confit de Canard for me and a Cheese burger so good for Evie that she was asked how she wanted the meat cooked, Sigh, Eating in Paris is good, Sadly when we got home we learnt of the shooting on the Champs Elysees, where we had been only 8 hours before, so we were sobered by the reality of how things are. However - tomorrow is another day!

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