Intro to Paris

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Europe » France
November 22nd 2014
Published: July 7th 2017
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Today was a day of walking. I had found out about a free greeter program where you sign up and are assigned a greeter based on your interests. We thought this would be a great way to get an introduction to Paris and it's free so that's even better. Our tour guide was Jean-Patrick and he was to take us on a tour of Issy les Moulineaux which is in the 15th arrondissement. We left the hotel about 8:15 and stopped at a cafe for breakfast. Pain du chocolat for all and fresh squeezed orange juice for me. It was delicious!

The metro was necessary to get to our greeter appointment so we learned how to buy tickets and navigate and it was very simple. I bought a book of 10 tickets, except I don't know why they call it a book when the machine just shot out 10 tiny tickets that weren't connected. Also, the ticket machines do not take cash so you either need coins or a credit card (with chip) to purchase. There are plenty of signs so you get on the right side of the tracks for your destination and which direction to go to get to your connecting line. We had to take line 6 to line 12 to the Corentin Celton stop.

Our greeter met us just outside the station and proceeded to take us on a rather long walk around the area. The tour was to be 2 hours and ended up more like 2.5 hours. We saw the St. Sulpice Seminary, St Etienne Church and the Parc de I'lle St-Germain. There were other stops and we saw many cute little French dogs out and about for walks. It was about 58 degrees out today so it was beautiful for walking. The walk was a bit longer than we thought and the guy walked fairly quickly. We put in about 4 miles on our walk! I would recommend using the greeter program as we never would have gone to this "suburb" of Paris on our own and did not see any other picture takers so I guess we were the only tourists there! We got back on the metro and headed for the Eiffel Tower and to find some lunch.

Another note about the metro, you need to keep your little ticket or pass with you as sometimes they will ask to see your ticket. This happened when we got off at the Eiffel Tower and those little tickets can be hard to keep track of!

The Eiffel Tower is pretty impressive! The lines were really long and we decided today was not the day to go up. So we got ham and butter sandwiches and drinks and ate them on a bench in the shadow of the tower. They were delicious! While we were eating, 3 dudes in military outfits with giant guns (machine gun looking guns, not arm muscles) came strolling slowly from one of the paths. That was a little odd but no one seemed to care about it so maybe a common occurrence. There were many guys selling little metal replicas and they would come up to you clinking their ring of miniatures and you just keep walking. There were also many ladies who asked if we spoke English and wanted to sign some paper. We did not fall for that trap! Took lots of pictures from the garden behind the tower as it was a beautiful afternoon.

Even though our feet were already tired, we decided to continue walking and go to Musee de L'Armee, which is located in the Hotel national des Invalides. This is also the location of Napoleon's tomb. This museum is part of the Paris Museum Pass and one of the reasons we went was to buy our passes. The pass is available in 2, 4 or 6 days and allows you entrance to about 40 different sites. We purchased the 6 day pass as we are here for 5 and the days you use it have to be consecutive. It will be well worth the cost and guide books say one good benefit is being able to go in and use the toilet without having to pay.

Invalides is a huge place! Napoleon's tomb is located in a large domed building with beautiful frescoes and carved marble. The dome and the front door are a brilliant gold and the rest of the place is equally fancy. The only problem we had was the lack of signs explaining what things were. There is an audio tour, but it costs extra so we did not get it. I will need to read more about it online. We also looked at the ancient armor display and the church located behind the tomb. There are several other exhibits, but we were done for the day!

We walked back to the hotel and everyone made the effort to keep going and not give up even though our feet and hips were pretty sore and tired. According to my pedometer, we put on 9.1 miles today! That's a lot of walking and it was a relief when we finally saw the street for our hotel. Paris is a great city for walking other than streets going in all directions and that the street signs are up on the buildings so you have to look for them. Also, some streets change names so you really have to pay attention. But the weather was just perfect today and we saw plenty of sites. Now to find dinner and rest up for another fun filled day!

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22nd November 2014

Sounds like so far you are having a good trip. Glad the weather is decent. Your pictures are great...can't wait to see them all.
22nd November 2014

Our apartment five years ago was near the Invalides Metro! But we didn't go there. I actually haven't seen Napoleon's tomb since I was in Paris on my way home from Rome in 1966.All that walking sounds like a good thing, given all the crea
m and butter you encounter in France. (Whole-milk yogurt. . . yum!) Do watch out though. Paris is, of course, enormous. On our first trip there almost 20 years ago, Marty got around too much on foot and really became exhausted.I know I went to St. Etienne five years ago. So many happy memories! You guys did exactly the right thing getting a guide to show you a real neighborhood off the tourist track.
22nd November 2014

Looks like you are having a great time! I am enjoying your descriptions of what you are doing and seeing, and the pictures, too.
22nd November 2014

Tine, I am very impressed with all your walking! ; )
22nd November 2014

That free greeter program sounds terrific!

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