2 days in Paris

Ranska - 29.6.2018 16:25

I was positively surprised! I had never visited Paris before, neither other big cities in general, but Paris I really liked for the two days we spent there. I think I prefer it over London as well. I was surprised how much space there was in the city, big parks and squares, lots of places to sit down and people-watch. There was so much life, we just enjoyed sitting outside on a café terrace and seeing what was going around. Or we could take a seat in one of the beautiful parks and sit by a fountain. In the era of hypermarkets, I enjoyed the numerous little stores everywhere. And there was a lot of art on display as well.

Going to Paris was convenient, just a one hour train ride from Brussels. I was impressed by the smooth train ride even in 300km/h! Trains are a great way of transportation, but there are often strikes as well, which makes it a bit unreliable, at least when comparing to Finland or Switzerland. We were lucky since the strike in France was a day after our trip and the strike in Belgium was two days after we came back.

My wife had made an excellent itinerary for our 2-day-visit. At first we went up to Sacré Coeur, which is a beautiful church on top of a hill. We went all the way up to the dome of the church, from where we could see the whole city, including the Eiffel tower. One thing that made it such a memorable time was also the weather, which was sunny and hot both days.

From Sacré Coeur we continued to the artsy market place of Place du Tertre at Montmart, where many artist make and display their work. We had our first Paris café experience at the Deux Moulins café, known from the French movie Amélie. We moved around Paris by foot and metro. During the 2 days we walked more than 50,000 steps!

After the coffee we took a metro to Concorde, from where we walked to see Champs-Elysées and the Arc of Triumph. The symmetric straight line from the Arc continues all the way to the Louvre, and walking to Louvre we went through Garden of Tuileries, which had nice fountains and lots of green areas. We didn’t go into Louvre because of the large crowds, but it looked nice from the outside as well. However, in the garden of Tuileries we went into the Claude Monet (Orangerie) museum, which was interesting and didn’t take too long, just less than an hour, and didn’t have so many visitors.

Our next stop was at Notre Dame, but we didn’t go in because of the long queue. We continued to walk around and had a nice coffee at Odette, nearby Notre Dame. Some of the tips for our visit were from our colleagues at Medair who had either lived or visited Paris before. We managed to see a lot and avoid losing time in big tourist crowds. From Notre Dame we walked along the river to the Lovers’ Bridge. The bridge used to be filled with locks, completely, but for some reason the locks had been removed (maybe it became too heavy!) and the bridge sides were made from glass now so it wasn’t possible to put locks on it anymore. But it was a nice place to look at the river and the river boats. The island on which the Notre Dame is located also looked nice from the bridge, as the two rivers that went around it became one again.

We continued to another park, called the Garden of Luxembourg, in which the Palace of Luxembourg, now the meeting place for the French Senate, is located. It was beautiful, big and open, and many people were jogging around the garden, sun-bathing on the benches or playing with small boats in the fountain. Then we headed to Trocadero to watch the sunset on the Eiffel tower. It was a great view from Trocadero to see the tower, and a beautiful park in itself too with big fountains. We went to eat in a nearby restaurant, L’italien, that was on a small street. There were only locals at the restaurant and even us they asked if we lived in the suburb (since they hadn’t seen us before I guess). It was nice practicing our French with the friendly waiter. The food and service was excellent, and not too pricey. After eating well, we went back to Trocadero to watch the light show at Eiffel tower, which is every hour at night. Very romantic…

The next day we had solely reserved for visiting Versailles. Deb had been a couple of times in Paris already before, but she had never visited the palace. It was well worth the visit, although it took the whole day. We were lucky that we had booked tickets online beforehand and arrived a bit before they opened at 9am, since the queues soon became very long. We were told some wait even 3 or 4 hours to get in. We were lucky to be one of the first ones to enter and got nice pictures of the palace without too much crowds. It’s an amazing place, and hard to believe that one guy and his family would have owned something like that..! The interior of the palace is lavish, very detailed, and it’s huge: 2,300 rooms! The art inside is like in the Vatican museum! There are also a couple of more buildings which were for other members of the family, guards and so on, and even those are impressive. And all the land and roads that connects everything together is vast! The garden of Versailles is impressive with its fine cut grass, plants, statues and numerous fountains. It’s really an unbelievable place, and makes me think if there is anyone nowadays that could have such an impressive empire. No wonder the French people didn’t like how their tax money was used to support the lifestyle of their king, and thus the French robbed most of the palace in the French Revolution. For example, the throne of the king is not there anymore..

We came back to Paris, rested our feet, and enjoyed some more people-watching at the cafés. Then soon we were back in Belgium.

I would consider visiting Paris again, perhaps during a different season next time!

At the top of Sacré Coeur View of Paris from Sacré Coeur Sacré Coeur Café  Face twister candy! Champs-Elysées Louvre Notre Dame  At Odette Jardin de Luxembourg  Paris, baby!  à L'italien  Versailles Versailles Hall of Mirrors Resting feet at Versailles Thalys bullet train Brussels - Paris

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