Thursday, August 12, 2010


So our first day in Paris was spent mostly trying to figure out the tube and train lines and getting to our hotel. After that we slept for a few hours and then went out in search of food on the way to see the Eiffel Tower. On the way to the tube station, we passed many people on the street, ALL OF THEM were carrying a baguette. Shelley started to get very upset that all these people had bread and she did not. Her exact words were, "what did I do wrong in a former life that I am now being punished by lack of bread?". Amber kept laughing at her because she thought she was being so funny. Eventually we managed to sniff out a Boulangerie (this is french for a bakery that makes its bread on the premises) and with some finger pointing and gesticulation managed to buy a baguette for my very self.
1 tube and 1 train later we found ourselves with in a hop, skip and jump of the Eiffel Tower. i.e when we emerged from the train station and looked up it was right THERE. We walked underneath the Eiffel Tower and just started gazing around. Apart from all the people there were many soldiers wearing green berets and all carrying very large semi-automatic weapons. We found this more that slightly alarming coming from a country where you never see people carrying guns (unless you live in a really dodgy area of town or are watching the news). What we found even slightly more alarming was the fact that many of the tourists were getting them to pose for photos!!
We had previously decided that we wanted to be up the tower for sunset. There were only about 5 thousand other people who had the same idea as us. We went to stand in the first of many long lines we would stand in that night. After about 20 minutes in this line a message comes up on the massive electronic board above the ticket office stating that the top level of the tower is closed as it had reached the maximum number of people allowed.
Slightly disgruntled we exited the line as we didn't really see the point in only going half way up the tower. We were looking in our guide book for something else we could do, when we look up at the same board to see that the top level is now open. Confused we rejoined the line. It took about 40 minutes to get to the ticket office to get our tickets and then probably another 45 to get into the elevator and up to the second level of the tower. Once there we had to join another line for over 30 minutes to get right up to the very top level . We were still at the second level when the sun went down and the tower lit up but as the second level is 115.73 meters up we still got a pretty good view.

This first photo is my slightly arty attempt taken from the ground.

This is a slightly blurry one that a lovely American lady took for us while we were still waiting on the second level:

The last one is a view of Paris.

Once we got up to the top, Amber said "I'm pretty sure we can get higher than this". Looking around we discovered that she was correct. Up another short flight of stairs and through a door and we found ourselves outside. The view from here was pretty unbelievable. The cars on the roads below looked like ants. The lights of all of Paris were all very pretty and it was friggin cold out there. It really is pretty hard to describe how it felt to be standing up there looking over Paris. As cliche as it sounds it was like a dream come true.

So mission accomplished we had to wait in line to get back down again. At some point we got sick of waiting for the elevator and ended up walking from level 2 to level 1 - which for those of you who don't know is 300 steps. Amber is terrified of heights and as mentioned had a dodgy ankle from her fall in Spain so by the time we got to the first level she was more than happy to jump back in the line to get back down to the bottom. We didn't get back to the hotel until late but were more than happy that the tubes and trains hadn't stopped for the night by the time we went to catch them as we didn't check on this slightly important fact before we planned our night.

On the following day we went to the Louvre, Which as you all know is huge. Amber said that if a person looked at every piece of art for 3 seconds it would take more than 365 days to see it all. We saw some lovely art made by some very famous people and had a nice day. We didn't take many photos as there were about 5 thousand people (probably the same 5 thousand from the night before followed us) there and it was difficult not to get in every ones way. One observation I did make was that the building itself is also a work of art. As it used to be a palace for some French guy it many of the rooms were very elaborately decorated.

We decided to spend our second night down the bottom of the Eiffel Tower and watch the lights turn on so we went to the park at the bottom and made ourselves comfortable and read our books and people watched for several hours. When it got later all the souvenir sellers switched from pedalling mini Eiffel Towers to selling wine and beer and cigarettes. The public drinking laws are much more relaxed in France (We are not sure if they actually have any) so we sat at the bottom of the Eiffel Tower and proceeded to get fairly inebriated over the space of about 5 hours. At 10pm when the sun had finally set the Tower lit up everybody clapped and cheered and then we went home.

The next day we found ourselves in the Quarter of Montmartre. For those of you remember that all singing, all dancing muscial extraviganza Moulin Rouge, it is found in this quarter.

We wanted to find a cabaret but to see a show at the Moulin Rouge you are looking at upwards of 85 Euros, each. There are cheaper shows around but chances are pretty high that we would have ended up watching a sex show... so we gave it a miss. We did climb a very large hill to the Basilique du Sacré Cœur

On our last day in Paris we visited Notre dame

We had read about a bookshop in our guide book that was opposite and of course we couldn't miss that. Amber however had managed to leave our camera behind that day and so the photo above and the ones below are from the internets. (Also some other photos on this blog and Going Postal are from the internets, as we have discovered that it is much easier buying postcards than trying to take photos when there are 5 thousand tourists following you everywhere - we seriously must be famous or something!!!)

This book shop stocked mostly English books and Amber and I spent ages walking around and reading. One of the reasons we want to go back to Paris is to re-visit this bookshop, the other reason is for the food!

The last place we visited in Paris was the Père Lachaise Cemetery. Many famous people rest here, not all of them Parisians. Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde to name a few.

The cemetery is huge, It has street names and roundabouts, and if you pay 2 Euros to the guy at the kiosk above the tube stop, a map. Which is handy if you are looking for any particular person, as they are not in alphabetical order or anything. Some of these crypt things are larger than most of the English houses I've been in.

So after the cemetery we went back to the hotel to pack our bags and get ready to fly to Toulouse.



Anonymous said...

Dreams do come true eh girls.That was a lovely tour of

Tiggeronlegs said...

I love that cemetery...and you know I don't really do cemeteries! We also did the Eiffel Tower at night, it is amazing up there...did you walk around the top of Sacre Coeur...*oops spelt that wrong...* That is pretty cool...I must go back...