Our Arrival in Paris, and Some Touristy Stuff

We are currently catching up on our posts because we’ve been doing a LOT of climbing (YES!) for the past several weeks and have collected a daunting number of video files to sort through and edit! These will be ready soon…

I thought I’d go back to the beginning and do a brief post on our arrival in France. We left from LAX on 28 February and arrived in Paris on the evening of Wednesday the 29th. We had a few days to spend in Paris before Saturday, when we were scheduled to pick up our rental car and when our gite reservation began.

Basically there’s room for people, or crash pads, but not both in this tiny Paris elevator… we had to sit on our pads! Also, FYI getting pads through the Metro turnstiles is NOT easy!

Thursday we mainly recovered by sleeping in and doing grocery shopping… pretty domestic stuff. 😉 But Friday after breakfast we had a full day with my friend Katie, an ex-pat living in Versailles who took a day off from work to hang out with us and show us around town! We chose a small percentage of the Paris “sights” to visit since there are far too many to see in one day (according to the Lonely Planet, “Paris has more familiar landmarks than any other city in the world”).

Our first stop: the Eiffel Tower!

A really cool building that Katie showed us, that’s not far from the Eiffel Tower and next to a museum. Various plants are cultivated along the facade of the entire building, and though most of the plants were dormant for winter, evidently during the spring it’s quite spectacular! We thought it was cool enough as it was…

A view of the Eiffel Tower from across the Seine… check out the picnicking set-ups on the boats!

The famous Arc de Triomphe at the end of the Champs Elysées, which is encircled by the biggest roundabout in the world* where 12 avenues meet.

Closeup of the Arc De Triomphe, which was commissioned by Napoleon to commemorate his imperial victories… but remained unfinished for awhile when he started losing.

The famous (and beautiful) basilica of Sacré Cœur, situated at the highest point in the city the very top of the hill of Montmartre. It’s built from travertine stone which constantly exudes calcite, and this keeps its walls strikingly white despite weathering and pollution.

The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, or the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur de Paris, has a very interesting history as well as some interesting features including a mosaic in the apse (called Christ in Majesty) that is among the largest in the world and an equestrian statue of Joan of Arc.

The view from near the top at Montmartre, which was unfortunately not as good as it could have been on a clearer day. 🙂

By the time we made it to the Louvre, it was twilight… and as darkness fell the scenery was pretty spectacular. We hope to make it back during the day!

Our last stop for the evening before finding some dinner (and resting our tired feet!) was the Gothic cathedral of Notre Dame. It was amazing to see its front facade, as well as the flying buttresses it’s famous for, lit up at night.

Near the entrance of the Cathédrale de Notre Dame de Paris, a bronze star marks the exact location of the point zero of French roads… all distances from Paris to metropolitan France are measured from here.*

It was a very full day and night, and there is still much more of Paris to see! 🙂

*according to the Lonely Planet Paris City Guide (2006)

~ by jillc on 2012/04/21.

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