Friday, July 23, 2010

The City of Light - Paris!

One European city that definitely requires more than a 3 days visit is “The City of Light” - Paris, France.  We spent Saturday - Monday of our July 4th weekend there this year, and it was a great trip, but as with most places we visit these days we wish we had a little more time.  Our goal is to see most of the places in Europe we have always wanted to visit, even if it requires weekend trips.  And while some may say these trips don’t do the city justice, I really have to disagree!  We have had some pretty amazing, educational and exciting weekend trips so far! 

Today, I give you 3 days in Paris...

We flew from London’s Luton airport into Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport - quick 50 minute flight.  And while the Eurostar train is a more scenic trip, the flight was pretty fast, and much less expensive than the train.  Once we arrived at the airport around 8:30am local time, we breezed through customs and headed outside to meet our hotel transportation.  We used for this.  Departing the airport we discovered it was pouring rain outside!  Not the best way to start a holiday weekend, but..when you only have 3 days, the rain cannot stop you!

We arrived at our hotel and checked in, but since it was so early, we weren’t able to go to our rooms, so we dropped our bags at the front desk, grabbed whatever rain gear we had (which wasn’t much) and headed out to explore.  We headed to Notre Dame on the Metro subway system.

The rain actually proved to be our friend, as I suppose most tourists don’t want to go out in the rain, there was hardly any crowd or line at Notre Dame when we arrived -this quickly changed as soon as the skies started to clear up a bit!

First part of day one included:

Notre Dame Cathedral, Saint Chappelle Cathedral, views of the Siene River and “Love Locks”, Palais de Justice, one of the only original metro stops, flower market, the Deportation Memorial, a yummy Thai lunch in the Latin Quarter and some delicious ice cream from the famous Berthillon ice cream parlor, just across the river from Notre Dame.    All of these sites were in the same area and in walking distance to one another.  Afterwards, we took the metro back to our hotel (which was very close to the Eiffel Tower) and took in some day views of the Eiffel Tower, and people watched for a while, before a pretty long nap - we were exhausted!

Saturday evening, just before sunset, we headed back to the Eiffel Tower for our pre-booked reservations.  We purchased our tickets online for getting to the top of the tower, and saved ourselves from having to spend 4 hours waiting in line!  The trip to the top was great, despite a lot of annoying teenagers around us.  We enjoyed the sunset from the Eiffel Tower and all of the great views of Paris. 

Once we were back on the ground, we were able to see the tower at night on our walk towards Trocadero Place.  Here we experienced the most magnificent views of the Eiffel Tower, people-watched a bit as the World Cup celebration for Spain’s victory that same night was taking place, and then found a really cool place to grab dinner and drinks.  On our way back to the hotel, while walking through the Champs du Mars, we watched the Eiffel Tower’s hourly light show.

Sunday morning we woke up and headed to Versailles, it took about 30 -45 minutes to get there and as expected the train was packed with tourists.  Luckily we had purchased our tickets in advance and only had to wait in one REALLY long line, as opposed to two of them.  Versailles is great and we could have spent a whole day here, in fact we almost did.  After Versailles, we headed back into Paris and visited Napoleon’s Tomb and the Army Museum. 

After a nap, we had a bit more energy and headed back out for the evening.  For dinner, we went to Le Relais de L'Entrecote, one of the best places in Paris for steak frites (steak and fries).  Be sure to arrive around 7, as the line is crazy and they don’t take reservations!  Also, there is no menu!  Everyone gets steak frites served in this awesome curry sauce and a salad, your only choice is beverage and how you want your steak prepared - I recommend medium.  After a great meal and bottle of wine, we walked towards the river and enjoyed an evening boat cruise.  We saw many of the sites we had seen the previous day, but from a different view - very nice.

Monday morning, we checked out of our hotel and left our bags at the front desk.  We visited the Louvre and avoided lines using the underground metro entrance.  We spent about 2 hours here - and really only scratched the surface.  I had been here before, he had not.  An art lover could spend 3 days touring the Louvre, but due to our limited time we saw the most popular pieces of art, walked around a bit, and then were on our way! 

From the Louvre we walked through the Tuileries Gardens and Place de la Concorde to the Champs-Elysees - Paris’ most famous boulevard.   We did quite a bit of shopping on our way to see the Arc de Triomphe, and the walked back down the boulevard for more shopping and a bite to eat.   At this point, it was time to head back to our hotel and prepare for our flight to London.  We ate again in the Rue Cler neighborhood where our hotel was located and enjoyed the fact that this neighborhood was nowhere near as crowded as most of the places we visited this weekend.  We had a few macaroons, and headed back to London - great weekend, and there really is something to be said about Paris, love was certainly in the air :)

Next stop...Rome...stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Sooo cool! Love the picture too! Don't think I have a clue how to pronounce "Le Relais de L'Entrecote". LOL.

    Keep on traveling while you're over there! There can't be anything wrong with short weekend trips, you have to do that while you're over there. Not like you could just take a weekend to Paris while you're back in the states! :-)