Saturday, July 3, 2010

Out and About in Paris

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Most of our time in Paris we were full-on tourists. Hopefully not too obnoxious, but we definitely filled our days with sight seeing. We got up early to avoid the lines, but weren't allowed back into our room until 4:00 because they were cleaning. That did make for pretty long days of walking in the sun... and Amanda complaining about walking in the sun. But we did a lot- we climbed Notre Dame to see the gargoyles, climbed the Eiffel Tower, went to the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo (we saw the antiquities and some other things too, but there were so many people it was hard to really enjoy it) walked the Champs-Eylsees , saw the Arc de Triomphe and the Chanel store, and also went to Montmartre and saw the views from Sacre-Coeur and Moulin Rouge. By the end of the week we had the metro system all figured out. (It's so convenient- every big city should have one)

Flying buttresses!

There are three front doorways, each incredibly ornate.

The center of Paris.

Our last day we took the Bat-o-Bus which was basically a ferry that made a loop on the Seine with hop-on hop-off stops at all the major tourist places. The genius part of this plan though was that we went back in time to catch the last run. It was light when we got on, but then we got an hour and a half boat ride at sunset. It was beautiful and we were amazed at the number of people sitting along the river. Couples young and old, groups of girls, groups of college students, they were all there with a picnic and bottle of wine. It's definitely a picture of Paris that will stay with me.

While there are some things (like the whole high fashion scene) that I would probably never really "get" about Paris, there are other things I love. Sitting at a sidewalk cafe watching all the people out and about whether they're on foot, on bicycles or a Vespa like some of the ladies we saw in suits and heals headed to work.... and of course ending the day watching the sunset along the Seine.

About 10:30 when it was finally dark enough, the lights turned on, and Paris was lit up. The bridges were all outlined by lights and the monuments were illuminated. Other more expensive boats had flood lights designed to light up everything as they went by, but I was quite content on the Bat-o-Bus. Our night cruise ended right at the Eiffel Tower.


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