Well thought I better update inbetween our 2 trips otherwise instead of the blog taking around 5 hours it could take me like 10!
So.....unfortunately we are back in London after 9 lovely days in Paris. If it wasn't for the fact that I do not understand a word of French I would probably rather live in Paris than London, Clint agrees.
Overall, Paris was just beautiful. The buildings are spectacular and the parks and gardens are so maintained it makes you want to have a picnic everynight. Walking along the Seine was just fantastic and we walked along it nearly everyday while in Paris....
Heres a breakdown of our days and some photos
Day 1 - Monday 4th August - Arrived in Paris
We left London around 9 in the morning and were in Paris by lunchtime, how awesome is that! The Eurostar was great, so smooth and quick of course. I really liked it and much less hassle than flying. We had to go through passport control but that was it, no weighing of luggage or anything!
So we got to Paris and headed straight for the Metro to the apartment we were leasing for the 8 nights. The apartment was in Central Paris about a 1 minute walk from St Pauls station. We met the lady with the keys and settled in. When I saw this apartment on the net I fell in love with it, it was tiny, but what I had envisaged as 'french' .... so I liked it. It was a self contained apartment, with mezzanine for sleeping.
Here's some photos:
Then we decided that we may as well go for a walk and see where our feet take us. We walked less than 5 minutes and found the Bastille, right down the end of the street. I remember learning about the French revolution in French class and Bastille Day and stuff, this monument is huge, and quite lovely on a nice day. It is in the centre of a roundabout, well it sorta is the roundabout.
I am not sure of french traffic rules and it was quite scary to watch them drive around this monument as there was like 6 openings to this roundabout and no lines on the road and it literally looked like cars were just doing whatever they wanted....I figured they must have some sort of traffic rules there right?!?!?! :oP
We kept walking past the bastille and walked along the Seine, in the short distance we could see the Notre Dame .....it was lovely to know it was all within walking distance. One of the first bizzare things we saw in Paris was this ....... cops on roller blades, what a pisser hey!?!?! Clint and I thought this was so funny, I mean how can you take them seriously looking like that?
Walking along the Seine was probably my favourite thing to do in Paris, it was just so lovely and on a nice day everyone was out with their friends, some nibblies and drinks......so nice.
We just had a relaxing first day getting our bearings, first impressions, were that it was a lovely place. But we had not done enough to get a good idea yet!
Day 2 - Tuesday 5th August - Open Bus Tour around Paris
Today we decided to go on one of the Open Bus hop on hop off tours, so we got a good view of Paris, and could see what we wanted to visit again, or hop off the bus at.
We bought a 2 day pass, as there are 4 bus lines and it is impossible to see it all in one day. On this day we went around the Bastille, and hopped off at Notre Dame first. This building is amazing.......the sculptures on the outside are incredible, that is without even mentioning the inside.
After the Notre Dame we hopped back on the bus.....the weather this day was lovely, around 30 degrees, our skin wasnt used to the sun, so we both had a feeling we would get burnt, reminder for next day - pack sunscreen!
We changed onto a different bus line and this time we went past the Pantheon, lots of parks and got off at the Hotel de Invalides.
This place was built for wounded soldiers of the late 17th Century. Louis XIV had this buiding made between 1671-8 and apparently old solidiers still live there, though only a few, nothing compared to the thousands who were wounded and once there. Napoleon, the French soldier, his body is also here in a section of the buliding. We did not go through the entire building, but what we did see was lovely.....especially the gardens surrounding.
Then back on the bus and headed back close-ish to our area. We decided to get off close to home, went to the supermarket and got some wine (and beer for Clint) and nibblies and headed to a park close to the apartment... was nice to relax after the day we had, and the weather was still so beautiful!
Day 3 - Wednesday 6th August - Open bus tour around Paris
Today we spent another day on the open tour bus this time doing the other two bus routes. On the bus we passed a few new sights we had not yet seen. We passed the Eiffel tower from all directions, the Arc de Triumphe, Concorde, then we swapped lines and passed the Moulin Rouge and hopped off the bus close to the Sacre Coeur, which is meant to be one of the 'must see' things in Paris.
Pictures of the Eiffel Tower from the bus -
The Sacre Coeur church is just lovely, once you walk up the steps to get to it that is! Apparently this was built as a memorial to the thousands of French soldiers killed in the Persian War and was completed in 1923. The interior of the church was not as spectacular as the Notre Dame, but the views from the church (it is high up on a hill) certainly were!
After this we walked around for quite a while, we saw the major train stations in Paris, and then it took us around an hour after all our walking to find a pick up point for the bus again! All of the bus stops where the bus stops - has a sign, however the stop we were looking for didn't, that made us think we were in the wrong spot and spent ages looking for another stop which did not really exist. Very frustrating on a hot day I must say!
We got back to near our apartment in the late afternoon and decided to have another 'picnic' with leftover nibblies and drinks from the night before. This time we went along the Seine, it is just such a lovely place, and on this particular day, due to it being so hot, everyone had the same idea.
Then as we were so close we headed to the Notre Dame to see what it looked like at night, it was lit up nicely. Here is a 'selfie' of us infront of the cathedral.
Day 4 - Friday 7th August - The Louvre
Today, we woke to the sound of thunder and heavy rain......putting our trip to Disneyland to another day we decided to do something that if it rained it wouldnt ruin our day. So we headed to the Louvre after lunch.
Some photos -
The Louve is one of the most famous museums in the world and has the Mona Lisa painting, the only thing I will admit, that I was keen to see there.
We walked around the museum, but it must be said that this museum is HUGE and would be impossible to do it all in a few days let alone an afternoon, so we decided to follow the crowds and head for the Mona Lisa painting. We had to shove a little to get right to the front, as the area was very busy. We managed to get a photo of it and a quick 'selfie', if you look you can see the painting in the background!
Once we finished at the Lourve it was late afternoon and raining again! I think our luck with the good weather had run out :o(
We headed straight back to the apartment and spent the night in, going for a little walk around 8pm, again along the Seine.
Day 5 - Friday 8th August - Arc de Triumphe
Today we woke up and decided to head to see the Arc de Triumphe, which is there to celebrate Napoleon's victory. It was a lovely walk there, as to get to the Arc you need to walk along the Champs-Elysees, a popular road in Paris. This street was full of shops, on one side affordable, on the other major labels.
We arrived at the Arc de Triumphe to a short line up, to go up to the viewing deck at the top. It cost around 9 or so euros each, but for the view well worth it.
Heres some pictures of the view and some 'selfies' -
We then headed down to take some photos of the Arc de Triumphe from the outside. Underneath the Arc there is a eternal flame which constantly flickers, and it is a tribute to an unknown soldier whose tomb lies underneath. In the tomb is a victim of World War I, buried on Nov 11, 1920. The flame is symbolically reignited everyday at 6.30am.
We needed to get back to the apartment to get ready for the Moulin Rouge that night, so I took a few more photos and we caught a metro back.
We arrived at the Moulin Rouge around 6.30pm. We had booked in for a dinner and show.....the Moulin Rouge prices in general are expensive and set you back a couple of hundred aussie dollars each just for the show, crazy hey! But, it was something of a 'must do' in Paris and we are both glad we saw it.
The dinner began at 7pm and was 3 courses. Clint and I chose completely different meals, for entree Clint had snails. They were in a garlic sauce and he thought they were yum. I tried one, I wasnt going to as the thought of eating a snail was quite off putting but once I got that out of my mind it was fine and I ate it. Clint described it as similar to the texture of eating a mushroom or something, its certainly not squiggly and slimy like I imagined. Then we had the rest of our meal, a lot more 'normal' food, then waited for the show to begin at 9.
The show was unlike what I had imagined, as I was thinking it would be more like a musical. It was basically a lot of dancing, can-can style, and lots of different costumes, and as expected a lot of boobs. In between acts there was entertainment like magicians, a ventriloquist, and comedians - they were really good. One part of the show that was amazing was the girl swimming in the tank and tangling herself around snakes, pretty cool.
But. overall, the show was great and I must say the nice bottle of champagne that we got with our meal certainly didnt hurt, lucky for me Clint doesnt like champagne hey!
Day 6 - Saturday 9th August - Disneyland
Today we headed off to Disneyland. We had to catch the Metro and it took us around 40minutes to get there from central paris. I was expecting this Disneyland to be even bigger and better than the Hong Kong one, but I felt a little let down.
I think we liked the Hong Kong one as it was all completely new to us, something we had never seen before. This Disneyland was the same as the Hong Kong one only bigger and filled with more restaurants and shops. This Disneyland also had Walt Disney Studios which was not too good either, pretty boring.
Anyways, the day was good, I still enjoyed it just not as much as I thought.....heres some pictures from the parade....
Day 7 - Sunday August 10th
We slept in today........been a big week. Around lunch time we headed off for a walk and found ourselves in the Montemarte area where we had been on the bus on wednesday. We walked around, found a pub called Cafe Oz and had a drink and headed back to our apartment. Then we went for another walk around the area of our apartment and went to see the Pompidou Centre.....a modern arts building. There were a lot of buskers etc out the front and some were quite funny to watch....nothing much else to say for this day.
Day 8 - Monday 11th August - Eiffel Tower
Today we headed early to the Eiffel tower to get ready for the lines and queing that were to await us at the most popular tourist attraction in Paris. And queue we did! It took us an hour or so to queue for our tickets, then once you have the tickets you need to queue again to get up the tower, then you queue again once on the 2nd level to get to the top level , then queue again to get down the tower......overall a lovely day - mixed with lots and lots of queueing.
Some photos from the day - the view was just spectacular!
Photos of the actual tower, from infront
Photos of the view from the tower
We headed back to the Eiffel around 8pm that night in the park by the tower and watch it light up. It not only changes colour - a blue lighting - but for 10 minutes at 10 o'clock it has fairy lights!
Heres a picture as its getting darker
And Fairy Lights!
After the lights we headed back to the apartment . I was sad to know that this was to be our last night in Paris, I really loved it there, its a lot nicer than London, if only we could speak French!
Last Day - Day 9 - Tuesday 12th August
Home time ................ spent the morning walking around, before heading back to the apartment to wait for the lady to collect the keys. Slight confusion on their behalf on days, and there was a moment there that we thought we would miss out Eurostar back home waiting for them, but all was good in the end and we made it to our Eurostar on time.
Overall ............... we had an awesome trip! Paris was so lovely and we both really enjoyed our time there, I would love to go back there one day if time permits in our travels before we leave to come home.
But for now, this has taken me long enough, and we have another trip to get ready for starting tomorrow....IRELAND!
I'll post again shortly after we get home,
Take care xox