LAST STOP OF EUROPEAN TOUR PARIS
Man, where do we even begin. Paris was the most awestruck, the most wide-eyed, and the happiest. We spent the day wandering among some of the main attractions, stopping for café lattes and macaroons, shopping in the boutique stores and generally loving every corner of this gorgeous city. In pop culture, Paris is heavily romanticized as one incredibly beautiful city. In reality, it is exactly that. Even better.
Several of the city’s most recognizable sites flank the river, so our first stop after arriving was along the promenade water front for a tour in a glass covered tour-boat-come-water-taxi that stops at the Musée d’Orsay, Notre Dame, Hotel de Ville, the Louvre, Champs-Elysées, and the Eiffel Tower. Some of us stayed behind and explored under the Eiffel Tower.
That afternoon while everyone relaxed back at the hotel we headed back up to the main street and took a bus ride just north of the Eiffel Tower to the end of the famous Champs-Elysées shopping street and the the Arc de Triomphe.
You can walk up to the top for an alternative view of Paris, but we had a Cabaret Dinner Show at Lido De Paris, which was the site of one of the first Dinner Cabaret Shows invented here. And it was within these walls, where it was born, that it is done with the most style.
When in Paris, be won over by the charm of the French-style shows and savour the treats for which there gastronomy has become internationally famous. Late trip back to the hotel with a drive around the Arc dc Triomphe we hit the hay because the next day was going to be huge.
The next day we all jumped in the bus and our first stop was one of the most iconic buildings in Paris and the setting of Victor Hugo’s ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame,’ this stunning cathedral is not to be missed. The original Saint Stephen’s Cathedral, which had stood on this site, was nearly as old as Paris itself. Unfortunately this cathedral did not survive all the wars it faced, and was rebuilt in the 12th century as the Notre-Dame. Make sure that you walk all the way around the outside, and don’t miss the stunning rose windows on the inside.
Since its appearance in ‘Sex and the City’ (the scene of Carrie and Big’s kiss), visitors began attaching love locks, padlocks with sweethearts’ names on them, to its panels in 2008, the Pont des Arts has become a veritable tourist attraction. Peruse the padlocks and their messages we added our own that night, and toss the key into the Seine to guarantee our romantic flame burns for an eternity.
We then strolled up Rue Bonaparte and made a pit-stop at Ladurée along the way. World famous for its mouth-watering macarons, Ladurée’s patisserie selection is a true feast for the eyes (and mouth!). Kim had a field day.
Most of the time it was shopping time for Kim. Champs-Elysees (it is quite expensive and there are mainly chain stores), the most beautiful avenue in the world is still worth a visit. The buildings are beautiful and the little alleyways on both sides are full of bistros, bars and clubs to explore. Fans of the Tour de France may also know this place as the final stage of the race course.
We discovered why Paris is known as the City of Lights when we headed back to Eiffel Tower late afternoon then onto the Louvre Museum and met some friendly local photographers. After admiring the Louvre and its spectacular glass pyramid bathed in a golden glow sunset, we set off toward the River Seine. We crossed one of the river’s historic bridges and soaked up the romantic atmosphere along the UNESCO World Heritage-listed riverbanks.
Continued on to the charming neighborhood of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, famous for its vibrant café culture and as a gathering spot for Parisian intellectuals and artists throughout the centuries. After checking out some street life we headed back to the fountain and Eiffel Tower for some more photos and time-lapse movies. We lasted all night and watched the sun rise the next day. We ended lasting 24 hours awake and jumped in a cab back to the hotel to pack and jump in the bus back to London, catching
up on a sleep all the way back.
Best thing I can pass on:
The best way to see Paris: ON FOOT. Paris is a very walkable city because it isn’t that big and there’s a lot of interesting things to see. Roadside cafes lace almost every corner, historic monuments adorn its roundabouts, and the smell of freshly baked bread coming from local boulangeries fill the air. Walking is really the way to go. Many tourist attractions can be visited in a day just by walking. For example, the Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysees, Place de la Concorde, Jardin de Tuileries, and the Louvre are situated next to each other. You can spend one full day checking all these out. (Actually, you can spend one full day inside the Louvre and it still won’t be enough.) However, if you’re too exhausted to walk, the best alternative is the subway or the METRO. One thing we totally loved about Paris was its expansive 300-station train system that connects much of the city. It’s cheap and efficient, and it’s seldom crowded because there’s always a train every five minutes or so.
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