Monday, July 26, 2010

Paris, je t'aime!

promised to my daughter to take her someplace unforgettable, somewhere in Italy, or in France. After testing the level of my french in Corsica, I figured I could get around Paris with no problems.

I had about 24 hours to book the flight, a hotel and create a battle plan. We were about to spend 4 days, 3 nights in La Ville-Lumière ( City of Light). Smart Wings carried us to Charles de Gaulle Airport, while other low-costs would take us to an airport farther from the city and we would be loosing precious time changing trains!
I chose a hotel near Gare du Nord, so we could take only one train from the airport to the hotel without transfers, pushing baggage through one tourniquet is enough! The hotel turned out to be a disappointment as we found out later, no AC and sounds of the night city are no lullaby. Sometimes it is better not to trust pictures from internet and even hotel reviews!

We arrived really early in the morning, checked-in and hurried towards adventures.  Our first destination was church Madeleine. It was too early for nearby famous gourmet shops to be open so we "only" had a breakfast in a cafe next to Madeleine. From there, with a little treat in a form of yummy macaroons,  we took a stroll to Opéra, through Grands Boulevards and Place Vendôme towards the Tuilerie Gardens. We checked out local Starbucks, a beautiful Belle Epoque place with gilded mirrors and trims. After a short rest in the gardens, we walked by the River Seine to Cathédral Notre Dame de Paris. Then, we took the métro to the Eiffel Tower where we had a reservation for an elevator to the top which saved us about an hour of waiting in a line for tickets. And, after another hour of waiting, we got there and had plenty of time to enjoy the sun setting over the city.

The next day was devoted to the Louvre Museum. I was honestly amazed and I know I will be coming back to see all that I didn't have a time for during this trip. Although, I don't need to see again Mona Lisa, she gave me a weird look from behind a thick security glass! Afterwards, it was decided to to take a stroll on Champs Elysées, it was a complete shock for me to find the stores there were closed at 7PM!!
The Elysées were totally crazy, full of Portuguese (there are tons of them in France ) clad in their flags, cars honking......Later, I found out that Portugal scored 0:0 with Brazil in FIFA World Cup. The Arc de Triomphe was open, just not to those guys with flags; cops around it, some armored vehicles...pandemonium!! Maybe scoring 0:0 is a reason to hang a flag from the top of the Triumph Arch in celebration!  :)
From there, we ran - well, not really - towards Seine, just in time to take some pictures of gorgeous Pont Alexandre III bathing in setting sun and Les Invalides. Again, we returned to our hotel utterly exhausted.

The third day was planned to spend on Montmartre. The only hill in Paris used to be a home for artists and intellectuals and is now crowded with tourist; nevertheless, it doesn't loose all its charm, I was especially fascinated by various staircases. My daughter Barbora - I must say - fit very well in her bohemian attire: a straw hat and distressed jean shorts. Moulin Rouge was another disappointment, it looked like it didn't belong on that busy street at all. In the eveing, we had little time to spend in Galeries Lafayette - the ultimate shopping house built in 1893 . We finished with nice picnick-dinner in Tuileries Gardens. My feet didn't hurt as much.

We spent the morning of our last day in Musée Orsay, which houses works of french impressionism. Here, I managed to forget my credit card in a ticket machine. After more than two hours of happy browsing through the museum, I realized I was missing something and ran to Lost and Found. I still occasionally send happy thoughts and thanks to the honest person who returned it. The little time we had left, we spend in Jardin du Luxembourg relaxing. Later in the evening, we had to compensate the disappointment from our delayed flight by emptying a small bottle of nice white burgundy onboard.
Next time, I will come in May or December, when there will be less tourists.

more photos from this trip here
  1. Ohh, so nice to read that "review"--I miss Paris! What a lovely time you had, it sounds like. How fun to take a Mother/Daughter trip, too! Thank you so much for sharing... =)

  2. Wow... nice trip! Thanks for visiting my blog! :) Have a nice weekend! xxxRuth

  3. fascinating reading Romy and holy cow!! about forgetting your credit card!!!! that would have been scary!!! your photos are just GORGEOUS!!! - Onaxx