Our 6 days in Paris went too fast. Paris was as beautiful as I remember. The wide streets lined with stately apartment buildings, all with little wrought iron balconies. The big parks and grand buildings. It is certainly my favourite city in the world (so far!).
We arrived to our camp site at about 2.00pm and normally we would just laze around for the rest of the day but I was so excited I had to take Willy into Paris and I was so excited I basically gave him a grand tour of Paris in one afternoon. We found a really cool cafe and bar prescient and stumbled across a Vietnamese Restaurant that served Pho. Paris just got even better! We were so craving something different from our 8 weeks of pasta and pizza in Italy!
Before you know it at the moment, it is so late! It doesn’t start to get dark until like 11.00pm, it’s crazy. You are wondering why you are tired because it is so light still and then you look at the time and its 10.30pm.
The next day we had a nice sleep in, but agitated by the lack of good coffee we decided it was time to buy a coffee machine, so we hit the department stores. What awesome department stores they have, all with all the designer fashions, clothes, shoes, jewellery. But we are in Paris what else would you expect. We got a coffee machine we had lusted over in Italy for 200 Euro cheaper so we were happy about that.
On Sunday we headed back into the city to find everything was closed. Yes I know it was Sunday but it was unexpected! So we decided to take a walk up the Champs Elyse which we didn’t get to do on our first night. We walked via Place de la Concorde, Hotel Invalids and over one of the decorated bridges and past the Grand Palace. All of the shops on the Champs Elyse were open and there was a cinema that was playing Sex and the City in English. I was very excited until I found out it was AU$17.00 each. I nearly went because seeing Sex and the City in Paris is nearly as good as seeing it in New York but I knew we would be back in the UK soon.
We walked up to the Arc de Triumph, as it was Sunday though the traffic around its crazy roundabout, where something like 20 avenues meet, wasn’t as bad as I had made out to Willy.
The following day we decided to visit the Louvre. From our recent past experiences with museums and lines we brought our tickets in advance. I checked the opening times in the lonely planet and it said it was open until 10.00pm on a Monday so we decided to go late. We arrived at 3.00pm and there was no line at all, so that was good and we set off to find the Mona Lisa. The building that now houses the Louvre museum was once the palace and it is massive. I cannot understand how you can need so much room and so many rooms, what would you put in them?! Anyway we got really lost and ended up on the wrong floor at the totally different end from the Mona Lisa but ah well we had 7 hours to get there.... so we thought. We really should have double checked the hours as the lonely planet I have was from last time I was in Europe and is 5 years old. At 5.30pm after we had seen the Venus de Milo and many many other works of art an announcement comes over that the Louvre is closing in 15 minutes. AHHHH we hadn’t seen the Mona Lisa and that’s really all you come for. So we are running through the Louvre like we are in the movie The Di Vinci code and get to the Mona Lisa with 5 minutes to spare. It was great there were only about 5 other people there looking at it, we got some photos and were glad we came so late. Though you do need more than 2.5 hours..... It was funny because I was talking to an Australian guy the next day at the campsite and they didn’t get anywhere near the Mona Lisa and couldn’t even get a picture, so we were lucky.
We wondered from the Louvre up to the Isle de la Cite to see the Notre Dame and then to have dinner in the backpacker area. If you were backpacking and liked kebabs that would be great because that would be all you would be able to afford to eat in Paris! We found a noodle box kind of place and finally got our much craved for stir fry.
The next day we headed up to Montmartre, home of the Moulin Rouge and the ‘artesian’ part of Paris. We got off the underground at Moulin Rouge and took some snaps, it would have been heaps better to see at night but since it doesn’t get dark until after 11pm we didn’t get any night pics. I really really want to go to the Moulin Rouge. I knew it would be expensive but I wasn’t expecting AU$170.00 per person to be the cheapest ticket. And plus you have to dress up and we don’t have any nice clothes with us. We are certainly going back to the Moulin Rouge.
From the Moulin Rouge we wondered through Montmartre, past a couple of the old windmills and up to the church that dominates the Parisian skyline, Sacre Coere. It is quite a different church; it almost looks like a mosque.
I must say I was disappointed in Montmartre, I didn’t really see anything exciting there. It wasn’t the alternative artisan scene I expected..... or maybe we just missed that part!
Well our last day in Paris, we saved the best for last, the Eiffel Tower. We decided rather than wait in the line we would climb the stairs up the first two levels (and its cheaper!) It wasn’t hard at all, just a little scary when you looked down, but I remembered the glass elevator from last time and that was just as scary. We enjoyed our nice views from the top, got some pics and went to the patisserie so I could get one French treat before we left.