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Tuesday, 21 August 2012

The Parisian weekend that was

Yip, this weekend past we went to Paris :). It was a scorcher of a weekend that involved lots and lots of walking. It all started with us running to make our train to Schipol, and went on to include many, many trains. We had to catch three trains, well one RER and two metro line changes, just to get to our hotel. Then even though it was after 14:00 we had to wait to check in :-/. We left our luggage at the hotel and went off in search of lunch. Surprise, surprise we find a donner place for lunch, needless to say Jerall was happy about that. Once we checked in, we went off in search of the Eiffel Tower. Our hotel was a few blocks away from it, but we only spotted it once we walked to the end of our road, and then bam, it was there. Actually that bam, you see something beautiful moment can pretty much be used to describe most of the Paris experience. Walk out of the metro, bam…turn the corner bam. There is something to be said for older cities, they just ooze great buildings.

Anyway, back to the point. So we went looking for the tower, and found it. We joined the queue of folks going to use the elevators, there was no way I was going to climb the over a thousand steps to get to the top. Our queue was long, but not as long as it was when we left…the lesson there is don’t listen to the tour books that say go after 18:00, because everyone does that. Another good to know thing, if you’re under 26 you pay a reduced rate…that made me feel old. The views from the top are amazing, the ride in the elevator is a little scary – well it there are windows right around so you can see how far the fall down would be, and it makes you ears go funny. Just as we left the tower we met friends E and I – they were in Paris with a friend of theirs. They decided against going up, and went to a other tall building for smaller queues and a view of the city from high that includes the Eiffel Tower. We decided to meet up for dinner at a park someone recommend they  see.

After the tower we walked around some more, made our way back to our hotel to leave our jackets in the room – at 30 degrees the ‘have a jacket with you’ rule we adopted for travelling around was all wrong. Then what should have been a short walk to the park turned into quite a trek, but seeing pretty things while you do so does help some. When we got to the park we then hit up a supermarket for some dinner, and more water – we went through water on the trip like there was no tomorrow.  After getting some food, going back to the park we saw that it was closed :(. So we had dinner on some benches on the side of the road. Friday’s dinner was better; we actually made it into the park on time :).

Friday morning we made our way to the catacombs. We got there just before ten, and then spent two and a half hours in the queue 0_o. The catacombs were interesting and much, much cooler than outside so that made it even better.  After that we got lunch, Jerall and I went to see the Arc de Triomphe, and walk along the Champs-Elysees, the others took a cruise of the Seine. While walking around we spotted the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais and the ‘little palace across the road from it, and other just beautiful buildings. We ended up at Concorde,  did lots of walking and met up with the others for dinner. Post dinner in the park they went off to finish their cruise and we walked along the Seine. We landed up at the entrance to the Louvre, went from there to the adjoining gardens, and walked around in the dusk. Once the sun set the lights from a fair being held in the gardens looked amazing. The gardens end at Concorde, and as we were making our way to the metro we saw the light show on the Eiffel Tower, it was just beautiful.

In the catacombs, this was carved by memory.


 Saturday morning we went to the Louvre. Beautiful doesn’t do it justice. We spent about six hours there, and it still wasn’t enough to give everything all the attention it deserved. The post lunch crowds did get a bit bothersome, but the areas with sculptures, Egyptian antiquities, and Napoleon apartments were not only less crowed, but just amazing. I spent a lot of time looking up, there were artworks on the ceilings, amazing crown mouldings and just all round ‘wow’. We left the Louvre and went to see Notre-Dame. The church just inspired this reverence…it really bothered me that people couldn’t follow the rules and keep quiet. After walking around that area a bit we decided to go back to the hotel and give our feet a break. After about a two hour break we headed out to find dinner. Having gone for cheaper food options most of the time there was enough room in the budget to spend a little more on dinner, so we went to a bistro.  Dinner was so delicious, I had some of the best duck I’ve ever had, and Jerall had his usual – a burger :). Desert was a chocolate fondant…there are no words for how good it was. After dinner we walked back up to the Eiffel Tower, and got a better night time view of it, followed by some more wandering around that general area.

I just loved this.

Night time view of underneath the tower.
On Sunday we went to the Moulin Rouge, and walked around that area. We found an amazing park near-ish to it, and just took it easy. We had a great lunch, at a bistro near the hotel. I had beef tartar and Jerall tried another cheese burger :). We walked around a little more, and then collected our luggage and took the hot, and horrible three train ride to the airport. Had a peaceful flight, caught another train and ended our trip.

Chopin statue in a park.

The bistro we had dinner at, and an example of the 'pizza slice' street end. Most of the buildings at the end of a street are pointed.

The underside of a metro track.
 I'll try to put up some more posts during the week. They'll mostly be pictures though. 


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