More than 30 million people visit Paris every year, making it the top tourist destination in the world. After an action-packed, heat-stroked three day trip around the sites, I know I hardly even skimmed the surface of what one of the cultural centers of the western world has to offer. So I’ll be brief.
My brother Oliver and I ended a quick jaunt through Europe with a food and site-filled whip around this immense city. Coming from Amsterdam, it was a big change.
We started by trying to get a vibe for the city. All senses on high alert, we wandered from Gare du Nord to Montmartre where we saw the Sacre Coeur Basilica (Sacred Heart) just after being nearly assaulted by some tourist-hustlers with friendship bracelets. The Basilica is worth seeing, and despite having my camera, I was one of the only people obeying the no photography signs inside this place, so please enjoy the exterior architecture shots.
From Gare du Nord we took the subway to Champs Elysees where we stayed in a fifth floor cupboard. It could have been cooler, but it was actually pretty fun. We walked up the Avenue des Champes-Elysees past the Arc de Triomphe and down toward the Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel). Determined to climb the thing, we found the shortest line, paid 5 euro and made our way up to the second level, where we bought lift tickets, huddled in an anxious line and made it to “the top.” The Champagne bar had closed, saving us a minimum of 15 euro each on a top-of-the-world toast. I have to say, we were at first hesitant about the lines and the cost of the tower, but it was well worth the experience and the view.
On the way back from the tallest point in Paris, we hit the Arc de Triomphe in all its glory. You can see a full moon rising under the Arc. The next morning brought an early trip to the Louvre to beat the lines. We beat them, but only with our Museum Passes. Already at 9 there was maybe an hour long line for those buying a regular single entry ticket. The Paris Museum Pass was well worth it.
For all you may have heard about The Louvre, it is truly remarkable. In 4 hours Oliver and I saw one floor of each of its massive wings, catching the Mona Lisa in the early morning before it got “too crowded.” You could spend days at The Louvre and never run out of new art and history. The building itself is a work of art.
We visited Notre Dame.
And climbed the tower to see the vast city once again, under the protection of hundreds of chimera (gargoyles).
Musee d’Orsay had great air conditioning. Also the class of impressionist galleries.
On our final morning, we took an early train to Versailles, only to be beat to the line by… hundreds of visitors. The Palais was yet to open and already had an hour and a half wait. We perused the massive gardens and enjoyed some beouf tartare at a bistro in town. Good decision.
After all our sweaty adventuring and excellent French, we ate some food. Thanks to the recommendations of friends we dined well around the city, despite recent suggestions that the culinary heart of the city needed a few hundred joules. These photos are from a meal at Le Relais de Venise. It’s a simple place with excellent food. You have two decisions: 1) How do you like your steak cooked? and 2) What kind of wine do you prefer?
Down the hatch!
I hope you enjoyed this post. To see more of my pictures from Paris, go to the Paris Gallery, here!
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