Paris, Île-de-France, France
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Last night we went on the Seine cruise, and afterwards a bus trip around the city to see the monuments lit up at night. We met the bus at the pick up point with fellow passengers, and headed down to the boat. The boat is wide and flat with glass windows all around, and seating on the roof.
Once we got to the boat it was semi-organised chaos. People everywhere, buses everywhere and a queue to get on the boat which looked to be 100 miles long. Eventually we got on the boat, but seeing our bus was one of the last to arrive, we were some of the last to board the boat. So the only seats left available were in the middle of the boat, which was a little disappointing. We couldn’t see much at all. After a while I braved the cold and headed outside to stand on the side of the boat to take photos. It was freezing at sunset and rather windy on the river. Towards the end of the cruise I went and stood at the top of the stairs to see the views from the top of the boat. This is the place to sit – if you’re prepared with gloves, scarf, beanie and an extra warm jacket. You could see everything, and the view of the Eiffel Tower with the sun setting behind it was beautiful. Just after we went back downstairs to prepare to disembark, the tower lit up in twinkling lights to the wild cheering from the rooftop people. We missed it by THAT MUCH… I was hoping it would still be twinkling when we got off but as it only happens for 5 minutes on the hour each hour until about 10pm, it was over.
We boarded the bus and set off around the monuments of Paris. Alex and I sat on the right side of the bus, Adam on the left. As we went around the city, the guide told us a brief history about the monuments we could see. Unfortunately for me, almost all of them were on the left side of the bus. Adam got a great view, and as he had my iPhone, he captured some images which I can share with you here. From my side of the bus, I saw a lot of lovely expensive shops which I can’t afford to shop in, and some reasonable ones I can.
Alex fell asleep almost as soon as she took her seat on the bus, so missed everything.
Exhausted, we fell straight into bed (after showers of course).Today, seeing yesterday was so long, we decided to have a cruise lazy day and just ride around on the metro to different places.
First stop was Pere Lachaise Cemetery, where we saw the graves of Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, Abelard and Heloise, and Jim Morrison – arguably the most famous grave in the cemetery. It is a beautiful place, so peaceful, and has fabulous views over the city from the top. It runs down a fairly steep hill, so we caught the metro to the top end of the cemetery and worked our way down.
Next we headed to the Grand Boulevards and to Galeries Lafayette, a high end shopping centre with a beautiful stained glass domed roof. We were going to have lunch in the restaurant under the dome but couldn’t find it. We gave up and stopped off at a Mexican restaurant for some tapas, and Alex had fajitas.
From here we got back on the metro and headed to Pigalle, to see the Moulin Rouge and it’s surrounding red light district. As unsavoury as it sounds, it was very tame, no dodgy people hanging around propositioning you as you go past, just A LOT of sex shops and strip clubs. Then up to Montmartre, and the Sacre Coeur church.
Just a tip if you come here: when you arrive at Metro station Abesses, do not, I repeat, DO NOT climb the stairs if you aren’t fit, or have already walked a million miles. There are about 200 steps in the beautifully decorated spiral staircase. The walls are painted with poppies and street images of the Montmartre area. Once at the top we found the funicular to take us to the top of the hill to Sacre Coeur. The views of Paris from here are spectacular. You can see for about 60km. We walked back down the long but famous Montmartre stairs to the metro station and headed for the Champs Elysées. We started at the top end at the Arc de Triomphe. We went under the General Charles De Gaulle roundabout and back up in the centre under the Arc. After this we walked down the Champs Elysses and caught the metro home again. By this time I was walking like the tin man from the wizard of oz. My calves were so sore. After a wine and a rest we headed out to dinner at a lovely restaurant a few doors down from our apartment called Le Bucheron. At last, a French meal! But it turned out to be an Italian restaurant. Go figure. But it was delicious. After dinner we went home, had showers and hopped into Alex’s bed to watch the Da Vinci Code. Within 10 minutes we were dozing off.
So much for a relaxing day, it turned out to be super busy but we saw so much! 🙂
Tomorrow we head to the Palace of Versailles. I hope we can walk by then…