Our OE - Paris, France                                    
JANUARY 2004
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Paris

Sun 4-Jan 04	Dublin

Finally got around to visiting the Chester Beatty Library again (which is actually just inside the Dublin Castle Grounds, only a few hundred metres from where we were living), to have a better (and slower) look after our mad sprint of a guided tour last time on 19th Oct 2003.  A very interesting collection of old books, scripts, painting etc.

Fri 9-Jan 04    Dublin - Paris, France  

This evening we flew across to Paris after work for a quick weekend away - nice aye!  We went via RyanAir and so landed in Beauvais, about 1hr 10 north-west of Paris.  From the airport we caught the airport bus into Paris, catching glimpses of various landmarks along the way (the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elyses etc).  Once in the city we navigated our way on the Metro (subway/tube/underground/...) system and arrived at our Hotel room at about midnight, so not much sightseeing today!

Street Map of Paris

Sat 10-Jan 04 Paris 

This morning we took the Metro into town and started a semi-random wander along the River Seine, east to west.  We started along the two islands in the Seine, Ile St-Louis and Ile de la Cit, visiting the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Crypte Archologique (showing ancient Gallo-Roman foundations of the city, which was really fascinating), the Sainte-Chapelle (or here) with amazing stained glass, and the Conciergerie (which was used as a dungeon/prison etc through the ages).  It was an overcast day, but everything was absolutely beautiful just the same.  Lots of old sandstone buildings, cobbled paths, and the river with numerous bridges and walkways.  It's almost like a 'show city' as everything is so perfect and in it's place, with amazing extravagance everywhere you look!  Also, being out of season it was reasonably quiet.

Street Map of Paris

 

The River Seine, Paris

(we just liked the look of it!)

Ile St Louis, Paris

       

The Notre-Dame Cathedral, Ile de la Cit

Ancient cellar ruins at 'Crypte Archologique', Ile de la Cit

       

Saint-Chapelle, Ile de la Cit, Paris

We next continued along Ile de la Cit and then the 'Right bank' of the River Seine, and had some authentic French cuisine for lunch - okay, so it was kebabs in a Greek Cafe, but it was popular with the locals also!  Unfortunately we didn't end up going back to look through the Louvre museum itself (one weekend is of course way to short), but we had a look around the outside - an amazing building in it's own right and absolutely enormous!    We also ducked up to the Palais Royal.

The Muse du Louvre

The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel

The Palais-Royal

Art in the Palais-Royal Courtyard

Continuing on our walk along the river we went through the Jardin des Tuileries (gardens) and Place de la Concorde to the famous avenue Champs Elyses.  At the end we chose to do the rather energetic climb up the 284 steps of the Arc de Triomphe - well worth the climb!  Next we hopped onto a tour bus to have a bit of a rest and to get some commentary (in French and English!).  We passed the Eiffel Tower and the Htel des Invalides (home for wounded soldiers - a very pretty building and gold painted dome church) before then catching a metro up to Montmartre to see the Moulin Rouge windmill (although we didn't go to a show) and the Sacr-Cur (Sacred Heart chapel) at the top of Montmartre hill.

A very long and busy day, but we weren't finished quite yet - we now headed back into the city centre to wait in line to visit the Eiffel Tower.  It was now dark, and although a bit misty/hazy, there were really good views from the top!

Egyptian Obelisk, Place de la Concorde

Ornate Fountains @ Place de la Concorde

The Htel des Invalides and Dome Church

       

Views from the Arc de Triomphe - down the Avenue de la Grande Arme and of the Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower

The Moulin Rouge, Montmartre, Paris

View looking up underneath the Eiffel tower!

Sun 11-Jan 04	Paris  
It was drizzling this morning but we still had a great day and Paris is still pretty when wet!  Metro'd into town and then went for a walk through Jardin des Plantes (Botanical Gardens) to Arenes de Lutece (a 2nd century Roman Amphitheatre), and then on to The Panthon.  The Panthon is another amazing building - large and almost overpowering on the exterior, but really ornate on the inside, with an enormous crypt underneath (with the likes of Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Louis Braille, Marie Curie buried there).

Street Map of Paris
 

Jardin des Plantes

       

The Panthon - The exterior and a battle scene painting from inside

From the Panthon (and after getting tottally disoriented and almost giving up) we could caught another tour bus around the Montparnasse and Latin Quarter areas.  After grabbing something to eat in the Latin Quarter we went for a nice walk along the Left (south) bank.  Starting to run out of time before having to head to the airport for our flight 'home', we doubled back into Montparnasse to have a nosey in an old cemetery we'd seen earlier (Cimetire du Montparnasse, with tombs that look like rows of little houses!) and then to see the miniature Statue of Liberty on an island in the Seine past the Eiffel tower.  I managed to get a photo of it before my camera died!  It was also time to start heading to the airport  :-(

A typical Parisian side street

Cimetire du Montaparnasse

The Statue of Liberty, River Seine, Paris
- not bad for potentially the last ever photo from my (until now) trusty camera!

 

A very busy, slightly rushed weekend, but absolutely amazing!!  A lot of the time we find that places that are highly recommended by lots of people can actually be a let down, but Paris certainly wasn't - it's a lovely place!  We also got by pretty well without knowing any local lingo beyond Bonjour, Merci and Au revoir!


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