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Paris

Well, apart from some time in my distant childhood, I'd not been to Paris, so it was great to go again and see it through the eyes of an adult (- I use the term loosely).

We happened to pick the weekend of Bastille day for our visit. After a bit of a rude awakening by a military flypast (part of the celebrations apparently), we went for a lovely peaceful walk along the Promenade Plantée. Afterwards, we whiled away the rest of the day doing a sort of lightening tour of Paris. We found ourselves wandering back towards the river, stopping of at the Sports stadium and park at Paris-Bercy before wandering along the river bank back towards our hotel.

En route we passed various attractions including, botanical gardens, the Louvre, Notre Dames, Hotel des Invalides with it's golden dome, and Pont de Alexander with its gold statuettes glinting in the sunset.

Later that evening we were treated to the most spectacular fireworks display at the Trocadero (- part of the Bastille Day celebrations) which we watched from underneath the Eiffel Tower.

The next day we hung out around Montmartre and visited the Sacré Couer - a cathedral that sits on a big hill to the north, with breathtaking views of the city. Montmartre, is cool. Hilly, quiet, leafy, streets with cafés, and nice little shops give the whole area a really nice feel. I particularly liked the area round Rue des Abesses.

After stopping off at one of the aforementioned cafés, we headed up to Saint-Ouen Flea Market (nearest Metro Porte de Clignancourt).
The market is absolutely huge with hundreds of stalls selling all manner of delights - shoes, clothes, African art, to name but a few things that caught my attention. A market lovers heaven!

Following the previous day's frantic activity, we looked to do something slightly more laid back the next day. Well that was the plan anyway. We headed over to Parc André Citröen on the left bank, towards the south west. We walked alongside the river as far as possible, passing the Eiffel Tower on the way. It all took a lot longer than we wanted on foot but was well worth the effort to finally get to the park. After hanging around there for a two or three hours, we hopped on a river boat for an hour-long cruise, very relaxing.

Much of the following day was spent wandering around the Louvre after having a fantastically healthy and delicious lunch somewhere on Rue Montorgueil. This street is in another really nice part of town with lots of good places to eat, and just a short walk from the Pompidou Centre (where we ate on another occasion).

Somehow our little legs (which were practically worn away to nothing by now) carried us to the Arc de Triomphe and Avenue Champs-Elysées. Here, we were treated to more shops than you can shake a stick at - it was almost overwhelming. Anyway, shameful as it may sound in the face of such a huge "retail therapy" opportunity, I managed to come away with nothing more than a new strap for my Swatch watch.

Paris is a great city with lots to see, and it's dead easy to overdo it on the walking. Fortunately, there are several nice places to stop off and regroup, including one of our favourites, Square du Vert-Galant underneath Paris' oldest bridge, Pont Neuf.

I can honestly say that I've never felt so knackered as I did on this trip. We seemed to pack an awful lot in, and somehow it rarely occurred to us to let the Metro take the strain.

Another reason for getting so tired was our room in the Acacias Hotel. The hotel's location was great and everything (very central and convenient). However, we were given the noisiest room in the universe!
If it wasn't the noise of the café bars and clubs (that seemed to be concentrated right underneath our window), it was the noise of traffic thundering down the nearby main drag keeping us awake. Thankfully the hotel staff were friendly and helpful, so it was hard to be too pissed off.

I shall certainly be returning to Paris. It's easy to get to (from where I live anyway), and I got to have a lot of fun while I was there.

 

 

Click on a picture to enlarge it and get a short description of the place

Promenade Plantée, Paris
Promenade Plantée

 

Stadium de Paris-Bercy
Sports Stadium - de Paris Bercy

 

Pompidou Centre, Paris
Pompidou Centre

 

Pont  Neuf, Paris
Pont de Neuf

 

The Louvre, Paris - African, Asian and Oceanic Sculpture
The Louvre - African, Asian, & Oceanic art

 

Sacré Coeur, Paris
Sacré Couer

 

Park André Citröen - Paris
Park André Citröen

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