Je suis à Paris

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Europe » France
September 14th 2010
Published: August 9th 2017
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Geo: 48.8566, 2.35097

As I lay here on the grass just below the Eiffel Tower, blue sky with 5 or so jet streams constantly painting the sky, I can't help being so amazed at how beautiful Paris is.
Three days was a good time to explore this wonderful city although we still didn't manage to see it all. Where to begin?
Well we caught the Eurostar from London to Paris in the morning, it only took 2 hours and we found ourselves standing in front of a confusing map of the Paris Metro at the Gare Du Nord Train station.
London and Paris underground metro's are quite similar. Paris metro has 25 different train lines to take you just about anywhere, labelled from A-E, 1-14 and some others chucked in the mix, it really isn't that confusing. Although in saying that we took the wrong line and got off the wrong station to our accommodation, but to our defence the station names were similar.

We settled into the Formulae Hotel a bit out of the city near the famous Stade De France.
We then caught the one in every 4 minute trains back into the city.
First stop, Notre Dame, with the big yellow cherry picker in front of the building. Jeez, thanks for the obstruction. We continued along the river and through the streets with it's mixture of Cafe's, Brasseries and noticeable tourists with their terrible sense of fashion compared to the fashionable attire and class of the Parisians.
I loved walking through the beautiful streets of Paris, looking at the style of housing and watching the mannerisms of the local people; comparing it to the book I'm reading, about an Australian lady living in Paris.

We continued to walk along the river to the Louvre, we didn't go inside, maybe next time. You can see the Arc De Triomphe in the distance at the end of the long Champs Elysees. Lined with green trees and boutique shops, the Champs Elysees is a real nice Rue (street).
The Arc De Triomphe is placed in the middle of a crazy round about. Up the top gave me the first glimpse of Paris from above. The height restrictions imposed on building construction actually allows you to see the whole city. The only problem was trying to get people to take a photo of us. I'm not sure what goes through peoples heads when you ask them to take a photo of you WITH the Eiffel tower in the background, but a picture with just the top of the tower or a picture with us in front of the whole Eiffel tower is not a proper picture! This continued throughout the whole few days.
The trick is to get someone with a digital SLR, preferably not an old person, although an old person is less likely to run away with your camera which seems a frequent occurrence in Europe.
We did get some nice photos occasionally too.
On the way back we stopped and observed some street performers with a mixture of dance styles and quite entertaining.

Day two was Eiffel Tower day. What kind of tourist who visits Paris doesn't go to the Eiffel Tower?
We started off at Sacre Coeur, an amazing church a bit out of the main city area. A healthy influx of tourists surrounded inside and outside the church. African people selling tacky souvenirs and handbags constantly come up to you. Inside Sacre Coeur is amazing, unfortunately (for those who respect peoples wishes) you aren't allowed to take photos of inside, but the amazing windows full of colour and detailed statues and craftsmanship add feeling to the church.

We then walked further down the Parisian Rues to the sight of Moulin Rouge, some famous stage play apparently in which Anna assures me I WILL watch before I head home.
We aimed to bike to the Eiffel tower with Paris' public bike stations (more on that later), but we were unsuccessful and opted to catch the train to the station close by where we grabbed some very expensive sandwiches in the Trocadèro area. Just across the road, next to the Musèe de l'Homme is a square which gives amazing views of the Eiffel tower, although you have to wave away the plenty of requests for tacky souvenirs from the African sellers.

We sat and ate our expensive lunch and enjoyed the sunny day which has followed us around, still not a rainy day has been endured. Although as I type this it had to happen one day, but only for a few hours in Lille.
So we finally got to the Eiffel Tower, only a short wait in the line, compared to summer. We opted to walk up the stairs to start with and proceeded to wait at least 30 min in line for the lift up to the summit. The top was great, with some impressive 360° views of Paris. Then another long but shorter wait, almost spanning the circumference of the top floor, to head back down.
Feeling tired, we grabbed some glace (Ice Cream) and followed the trend of sitting on the grass in front of the Eiffel tower for a few hours.
We hung around for the sun to set to experience Paris at night, seeing the Eiffel Tower and Arc De Triomphe lit up at night. Very nice.

By now we were feeling the effects of sightseeing everyday. But we just had one more day in Paris then it was a late train to Lille where we would be able to relax for a couple of days.
Before I came on my trip, I self taught myself some French. Of course I'm not the best but I find it funny when people and waiters talk to me in French. I usually wait till they finish speaking and then look at Anna with a confused look. But it really is good to be in France to learn quicker.
Anna makes me order in French, too easy I say.

On our final day in Paris we caught the train to the Cimetiere du Pere Lachaise. A famous French Cemetery, home to many French people as well as International people including Oscar Wilde, James Morrison and Edith Piaf
As we got to the James Morrison grave, a young Polish guy lit a cigarette and placed it on the grave. He told Anna that he had a vision that James Morrison came to him and said to light a cigarette for him and for the Polish guy to have one with him. So now the Polish guy comes to the cemetery all day, every day for a month to light a cigarette for James Morrison. Hmm.

From the cemetery we hopped on the Paris Bikes. The Paris bikes are like the ones in London where you use your credit card to acquire the bike which are on streets all over Paris. You can then ride the bikes where ever you want to and just park the bike at another bike station closest to you.
I had great fun and loved biking around the streets of Paris. But the catch is, for Australians, is you ride on the other side of the road.
So we took the bikes to some remaining places throughout Paris, including Notre Dame again, without the cherry picker in the way, The Bastille Memorial, Hotel De Ville, St Germain des-pres, Tour Montparnasse and Jardin de Luxembourg.
By the end of it all we were exhausted. Lucky at the Jardin de Luxembourg the train station was on the same line as our accommodation.

Paris was unbelievable for me, I found it so amazing and look forward to my next visit.

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