What says "Paris" more than this?
Towers above everything else in town.
Oh, boy… 7 nights in Paris… This has to be great!
If we can find our Airbnb. Our SIM card doesn’t seem to work so we can’t phone the Airbnb to let them know when we will arrive. Two metros take us to the closest station and, while we were standing there trying to figure out which way to go, a man walks up and asks if he can help. Turns out he is from Chile and he has a brother in Canada. Whenever he is in Canada, many people are helpful so he is glad to be able to help. He even phoned the Airbnb for us. He was leaving the next day for Brazil so our timing was great! Airbnb
The airbnb is in the Latin Quarter and within walking distance of just about everything, including the lovely Jardin du Luxembourg! I guess everything is within walking distance if you have enough time. We did make extensive use of the metro system to save time. The airbnb is on the Rue du Pot de Fer which is a pedestrian-only street about two blocks long with restaurants on both sides. The door to our building is located
Viewed from across the river
Those aren't ants. The tower is big.
between two of these restaurants. When there are people sitting at the outdoor tables, it is a bit tricky to find the door, let alone get in with suitcases. And when you get in, it is quite a maze getting to the apartment. The fire marshals in BC would probably not be impressed with the exposed wiring we had to bypass to get in.
But it was worth it. The unit was spacious and cool. When the windows were open the breezes were fantastic. When closed, there was no sound from the restaurants right below us. I was a little surprised to find our studio unit had a hide-a-bed (Dianne says she told me that). But it was the slickest and most comfortable hide-a-bed I have ever slept on. I even made a video of opening and closing it and will send it to anyone who asks. First mistake
We always start by checking out our exit strategy so the first plan was to walk through some gardens to the Gare de Lyon (train station)… then to the square where the Bastille was located… then back to the Seine and stroll past Notre Dame. A nice easy
introduction to Paris. I missed a turn right at the start. That was the bad news. The good news was we discovered the Arènes de Lutèce, the remains of the Roman amphitheatre in Paris. Realizing we were almost at the Île de la Cité where the Cathedral of Notre Dame is located, we forged ahead. What a sight. But we did want to see the Gare first so we decided to skip the Bastille site as it isn’t there anymore and crossed the river to go through the park that we had missed because of the first mistake. We saw what looked like a canal and watched a boat going through the lock. I misunderstood where we were and ended up walking up the canal (instead of the river) to where the Bastille had been. Who said two wrongs don’t make a right? After reorienting ourselves, we managed to find the two islands in the Seine and John XXIII Park behind Notre Dame. Notre Dame
We seem to have developed a habit of approaching major sights from the back. Notre Dame is pretty impressive no matter which way you look at it. We decided not to go to
No Quasimodo in sight
The setting is really great for this huge building.
the top as the line up was huge. The setting on one of the two islands in the Seine is phenomenal. It is hard to believe that it fell into disrepair and after the French Revolution was used as a warehouse. Victor Hugo's book The Hunchback of Notre Dame
brought a lot of attention to its situation and eventual restoration.
We did get there for Mass on the Sunday we were in Paris. Well attended and the tourists who still mill about in the side aisles were only a minor distraction. Museum Pass
It will be no surprise to anyone who knows her, but Dianne had researched the Paris Museum Pass to see if would be good value for money. Based on the admission fees listed on the internet for the venues we were interested in, the four day pass looked like a good deal. It was better than a good deal. We sailed right into many places, bypassing long lineups to buy tickets. The only thing that we might have done that wasn’t covered was the Eiffel Tower. Eiffel Tower
The lineups for the Tower were so long we decided to forget going to
Dianne in the garden
This peaceful garden is named after Pope John XXIII
the top. They don’t charge you anything to look up at it so we did that instead. We had lots of good looks at it from many different angles. Apparently you can see lots from up there but you can get pretty good looks from lots of places where you don’t have to line up. One of the things you can’t see from the top is the Eiffel Tower. It looks pretty spectacular from everywhere else though. Louvre
The Louvre is one of the most outstanding museums in the world. How’s that for an understatement. The building itself is worth a visit. It was started as a fortress in the late 12th century and was used as a palace by the French kings until Louis XIV chose Versailles for his royal residence. It was converted to a museum and was even used that way during the French Revolution.
One of the main attractions is the Mona Lisa. The lineups for that were so long we decided to give it a miss. The other big attraction in the Louvre is the statue of the Venus de Milo. For some reason there is no lineup or any problem visiting
Lots of water, very restful.
this beauty and staying as long as you like. I hadn’t known that sculptors often use two blocks of marble when doing this type of statue. You don’t really notice this when looking at a picture so it is interesting to see it in real life.
We only scratched the surface of the displays but it was still worth it. The Tuileries Gardens
When you leave the Louvre you can walk through these gardens which are pretty spectacular. One of the best features (apart from being free) is that they are full of chairs that can be moved around to suit the visitors. In the sun, in the shade, facing the fountains, facing the statues, whatever suits your fancy. And there are hundreds of them. And lots of people making use of the chairs. The Orangerie
In one corner of the gardens sits the Orangerie, a museum devoted to Impressionist and Post-impressionist painters like Monet (the original Water Lillies), Cézanne and Matisse. It apparently lends itself to multiple visits. Let’s say I am glad I saw it once. Any other Paris attractions?
Okay, there are plenty more and some of the others
How often are you told to walk on the grass?
In three languages! People did what they were told.
we visited will be discussed when this is ToBeContinued…
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