Tuesday, January 8, 2013

European Tour 2.01 - Paris, France (Day 1)

Actual date of this event: 26 & 27 December

Luke and I had a pretty long departure day. The flights went well and the train that took us to the center of city went smoothly. We made the mistake of deciding to walk to our apartment because, well, we didn't know any better. Actually, I may have known better, but I figured my genius husband would have also known. Anyway, I went along with it which make me just as guilty, right? With a rucksack on my back, rain and heavy wind, we walked 2.3 miles from Notre-Dame to the center of the 7th arrondissement where our apartment was located. I was in a horrible mood upon arrival due to being hot from the speedy walk since it was 10pm. Yikes! But the sight of the Eiffel Tower cheered me up a bit, and made realize how lucky I was to be in the City of Light!
 Train ride from the airport to Notre-Dame
Left: Notre Dame Cathedral
Middle: Streets were bright and shiny at 10pm
Right: First sight of the Eiffel Tower!
We couldnt see where this spot light was coming from over the buildings. I just knew it was from the tower though.
Our apartment was in a terrific location! In my opinion, if you stay in any single-digit arrondissement, you will probably be in a great location. All of the sights to see are super spread out and you will have to take the metro no matter what, so in my opinion, there is no need to be smack dab in the middle of the city where lodging prices will be through the roof. Again, my opinion. Anyway, we had a small studio apartment that allowed us to have breakfast each morning and a Washer/Dryer to do a little laundry toward the end of our stay. Pretty proud of myself for figuring out all on my own how to do laundry in a French machine with no manual. Housewife abilities are improving! Anyway, most importantly, our apartment was located just a few blocks from the famous Eiffel Tower, also one block away from a great street with tons of cafes and other shops, and then a few blocks away from Invalides.
Source: Wikipedia
Click here to learn about the arrondissements in Paris 
Location of our AirBnB apartment
I won't count our arrival day as day one since we got there so late and only had time to put our stuff into the apartment, head to the closest grocery store for morning food and sandwich stuff, and head back for a few sips of wine. So December 27th is day one, and boy it was a big one! 

We decided to try to do the West/Northwest area (7th, 16th and 8th arrondissement) for the day and see how long that takes. We began around 10am and headed straight for the Eiffel Tower. Separate blog coming soon, so enjoy a picture until then...

When we reached the bottom of the tower, it started raining, so we reminded ourselves that a little rain won't hurt us (I mean, we live in Aberdeen), so we kept moving! Here is the shortest and quickest play by play of our day. Seriously, this is the shortest I could do...

Jardins du Trocadéro (Gardens of the Trocadero) - home of the Palais de Chaillot
Left: view from the Eiffel Tower
Le Kleber Brasserie - With zero coffee in our system, it was time to stop and also test out Luke's French. Muy bueno! I mean, très bon! (Common theme running through my head every time we travel in a non-English speaking country - doh!)
Doesn't he look so happy? Seriously, he was a joy to be around on this vacation!
Arc de Triomphe - a death trap. NO. JOKE. This is the craziest roundabout I have ever seen! 12 streets go off of the roundabout. There are no lanes, but if there were, it would be about 8 lanes wide. Cars were everywhere! Some moving, some stopped, buses cutting off cars, cars cutting off other cars, mopeds zipping in and out, people on bikes, but it all seemed to somehow being running smoothly. I could have posted up with a tailgate chair and an ice chest for the rest of the day to watch this death trap. I dared  double-dared  double-dog-dared Luke to run to the center. He didn't go for it. Anyway, in the center, lies the Arc de Triomphe which is a monument that honors those who fought and died in the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. The thing is massive! And you can get to the monument by taking a tunnel and paying an entry fee, which we chose not to do.

Champs-Élysées - THE shopping street of Paris. This is where the super large Louis Vuitton is located. It runs from the Arc de Triomphe to the garden where The Louvre sits.

Grand Palais & Petit Palais - we took a slight detour off Champs-Élysées for a few minutes...
Left: Grand Palais
Right: Petit Palais 
Pont Alexander III bridge - the most ornamented bridge in Paris which has great views of the Eiffel Tower

Place de la Concorde & Obélisque de Louxor - ending the Champs-Élysées and beginning the Tuileries Garden

The Louvre - We walked through the Jardin des Tuileries (Tuileries Garden) which leads to the museum which houses the Mona Lisa. I had no interest in waiting in the long ticket line, spending the money and hovering around one famous painting, so we did not go inside. But that didn't stop me from snapping a pretty touristy picture! The pyramid at The Louvre is one of the entrances and is not very big. The actual building of the museum consists of multiple buildings.

Glanced at the Opera (we returned a few days later, so stay tuned...)

La Madeleine - Roman Catholic Church that looks like a temple

By this time, we were beginning to get tired and ready to start calling it a day. We walked back toward the river crossing the Pont Alexander III bridge to find a dinner spot. Its practically impossible to not run into another beautiful building/museum/monument in this city.
The sun sets right behind the Eiffel Tower, so it is beautiful to see at this time of day from this bridge.
The Invalides and a series of museums - Napoleon Bonaparte's tomb is located underneath that tomb. We walk on the other side of this building later, which is of course an amazing building.
Yep, Luke was standing in the middle of the street on a teeny median taking this picture.
We decided eat at Café Du Marché for dinner which is located on Rue de Cler just a block away from our apartment. 

After dinner, we had glorious plans to get dessert at a patisserie and a bottle of wine from the store then head to the Eiffel Tower park for a night cap. "No bottles, No alcohol" says the park sign. Rules are rules so we enjoyed our dessert under a sparkling Eiffel Tower and went back to our apartment for the wine. 
Luke is a pretty great photographer, huh??

After clocking 12 miles and arriving back to the apartment at 8:30pm, I'd say Paris Day 1 was a good one!

Our Eiffel Tower visit is coming up next, so stay tuned!

Other Posts from Paris: Day 1Eiffel TowerDay 2CatacombesVersailles, Day 4Wrap-Up

In 1911, the Mona Lisa was stolen from The Louvre and found two years later after the thief tried to sell it.


1 comment:

  1. Wow, Luke is a good photographer. It looks like you got some sunny weather for your first day in Paris, which is good considering how much ground you covered. Can't wait to hear more!


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