March 18th and 19th 2003
On the way to Hong Kong, Dave had a one day stop in Paris for meetings.... So while Dave worked away the day I was walking across Paris enjoying the sights!
Map Courtesy of The General Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin www.lib.utexas.edu/maps
We arrived in Paris late Tuesday evening and went to bed early to rest up for a long Wednesday. After a breakfast of rolls and coffee (traditional French breakfast), Dave left for the office. I finished getting ready, checked out of the room, left our bags with the front desk, and set off sightseeing with my little back pack of snacks.
First stop was the Arc de Triomphe ---the centerpiece for any movie in Paris! The Arc de Triomphe was commissioned in 1806 by Napolean in honor of his "Grande Armee". On August 26, 1944, British, American, and French troops liberating Paris from Nazi occupation marched through the Arc. So, in addition to the romance movies, the Arc is in many of the old war movies too! Dave said to tell you that the bicycle riders in the Tour de France ride around the Arc de Triomphe at the end of the race. You can go up to the top little balcony of the Arc de Triomphe, but I saved my climb for the Eiffel Tower!
Heading south down the street, I proceeded to the Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower was built in 1889 as the centerpiece for the Universal Exhibition in celebration of the French Revolution. It is 324 meters high, weighs 10,100 tons, and can sway 6 to 7cm in the wind. Until the construction of the Chrysler Building in 1930, it was the tallest building in the world. I knew that it was possible to take the stairs instead of the elevator, so I inquired about that first. (I wanted to make sure that the stiars weren't for the whole 324 meters!) I found out that stairs are accessable up to the second floor (120 meters) and then you can take the elevator to the very top... So that's what I did! OK I will admit I was breathing a little hard when I got to the top of the stairs :)
I took the stairs to the level above my head (not the one at my head)....
The views were great!!!
For my next stop, I decided it would probably save time if I took the metro (subway) instead of walking the whole way. Of course, once I bought the all day ticket, found the correct track, and waited for the next train I probably spent just as much time! Anyway, I disembarked at the Notre Dame Cathedral. This cathedral was built 12th to 14th century and fell into disrepair after the Revolution (even used to shelter livestock at one time). Then in 1831, Victor Hugo's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" helped to bring restoration to the cathedral. The cathedral was transformed from it's midieval architecture to a gothic look with the addition of the spire and gargoyles. The Cathedral is truly beautiful both inside and out!
Once back in the bright noontime sun, I decided to look for some lunch. As I walked around towards the back of the cathedral I found a little sandwich shop that looked good. I grabbed a sandwich and sat out in the park in back of the cathedral. It was a very relaxing beautiful place and quite economical since all the restaurants in the area are way overpriced!
After lunch, I crossed the river and headed off to the Pantheon. This crypt occupies the highest point on the Left Bank, housing the tombs of people like Voltaire, Rousseau, and Victor Hugo.
Hopping back on the metro, I headed north to the opposite side of the city. The Basilique de Sacre-Coeur also offers great views of the city. It tops the butte Montmartre with its 112 meter bell tower, making it the highest point in Paris. There are a series of steps leading up to the Sacre-Coure where people just hang out and enjoy the view.
Commissioned by the Catholic Church, building began in 1875 after the Franco-Prussian War and finally completed in 1914. The design was picked from one of 78 entries in a competition. The architect, Abadie, died in 1884 when only the foundation was completed. The final cost was 40 million francs. The interior contains one of the world's largest mosaics depicting Christ with outstretched arms. Cameras aren't allowed in the Basilique so I only have pictures of the exterior.
Final stop, for a quick tour, was the Louvre! I'm one of those quick museum people and if you go in the late afternoon you get reduced price ticket!!! Here's some of my favorites! Funny thing was that a couple weeks after returning from our trip I saw a movie with this statue of the angel kissing in the background. I recognized it right away!
Of course, no trip to the Louvre is complete without the Mona Lisa! But be warned, people mob the painting just for a glimpse and it's hard to get close!
The inside of the building is beautiful too!
The grounds and buildings outside the Louvre are really neat to see too.
After a long day on my feet, it was time to meet Dave for dinner. I boarded the Metro and headed for Dave's office. We meandered down the Champs Elysees Avenue checking out restaurants off the main street. Finally we came upon a place that looked good and it was close to the hotel too. I had a pasta dish with Bolegnese sauce and Dave ordered the French Crepes filled with ham and cheese. Both dishes were excellent! After dinner, we grabbed our bags and hopped on the train to the airport to catch our 11:30 pm flight to Hong Kong!
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Dave and Vareen's Travels
Back to main travel page Dave and Vareen's Travels