Monday, July 4, 2011
I think that I will try to do Paris in one blog posting. We left Dover early in the morning after having a good English breakfast at the B&B with eggs, toast, bacon, tea and baked beans. We caught a local train to Ashton. At Ashton we caught the Eurostar train to Paris. The trip was a lot shorter than we thought it would be and we were in and out of the Chunnel before we knew it. We arrived in Paris at the Paris Gare Nord (North Station). After getting our bearings and figuring out where to go we headed to the Metro and to our hostel. Because it was a hostel, the rooms were pretty spartan. But we just needed beds to sleep in. The girls were a little disappointed at first because Paris is a large city and not the romantic place that they imagined, or maybe saw in movies. We checked into the hostel and headed out into the city in search of food and maybe the Paris that they were imagining.
So we headed to the quinessential Paris landmark, the Eiffel Tower. On the way we looked for a place to eat. Our group was large and so we overwhelmed sidewalk cafes. We ended up at a place where we paid way to much for okay food. We also learned some lessons, such as getting take out on a street was okay. After eating, we headed to the Eiffel Tower. The girls were amazed by it, but the lines were too long and we would not be able to go to the top. So we found souvenir shops instead. We planned to come back the next day to see the Eiffel Tower.
So our 2nd day in Paris, we went to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Even our girls that were a little afraid of heights went up to the top. We were really proud of them. We were able to ge some great pictures from the top of the Tower of downtown Paris. Once we finished with that, we came down and ate our lunch. There were tons of guys running around the tower with cheap replicas trying to get people to buy. We caught our tour bus for the day and began riding around it learning about the various Paris sights. When we came to Notre Dame we got off to go and see it. We visited the church and were amazed by the beauty inside of it. After we were done we visited the bathroom. Now you may be wondering why I am commenting on the bathroom. It was near Notre Dame and had three female attendents. If you took too long in the bathroom, the knocked on the door to let you know that you needed to come out. That day we also visited the Champs D'Elysees, ate at McDonald's (not my choice), saw the Arc de Triomphe, and visited the Hard Rock Cafe before heading back to our hostel for the night.
The next day (our 3rd day in Paris), was our 'free' day. I asked the girls what they wanted to do and of course shopping was one of the main options. We first went to Napolean's tomb because Brittany had a list of things to do and that was one of them. His tomb is in the Hospital for Military Invalids, in a large chapel. It is carved out of marble and huge. The chapel or church is really beautiful. After we finished with that we caught one of the tour busses and headed on a different route from yesterday. This route went through the Moulon Rouge area with the sex shows and shops. Then we got off the bus at the Sacre Coeur stop to go see that church. The street leading up to it was full of souvenir shops, so we shopped our way up the street. At the top before we started the climb up Montmarte to Sacre Coeur, there were a couple of food shops where we could get crepes. Most of us had an egg, ham, cheese and tomato crepe followed by a dessert crepe. The food was wonderful. Then we climbed up to the church. It too was beautiful and you had a great view of Paris from the hill. Then we shopped our way back down. We later learned that it was a big festival for the church.
Then we took the bus back towards the Louvre because that was our activity for the evening. We visited the highlights such as the Mona Lisa and spent about four hours looking at paintings. Then we walked back towards a metro stop along the Seine river so that we could see the Eiffel Tower lit up at night.
The next morning we got up and headed to Versailles for the day. We just bought tickets for the palace since the younger girls got in free. We had a great time going through the palace and sneaking looks at the gardens through the open windows. There were so many people there that at times it felt like cattle going through a chute. After spending several hours at Versailles, we grabbed dinner and went back to London on the train. We arrived home earlier than we had been to be able to visit a grocery store across the street and to pack. Thus ended our time in Paris.