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Review: Paris


Paris, France

Paris Overview

  • By SilverTraveller coolonespa

    208 reviews

    Ribbon Ribbon Ribbon Ribbon

  • Oct 2012
  • Wife

104 people found this review helpful

What to do in Paris? We had one full day & two part days to cover a city that has so much to offer. Do we choose a few places & see them in depth (I'm told you can spend a day in the Louvre) or do we get a broad overview of Paris & largely stay outside? The weather (fabulous for October at some 23C) dictated we do the latter.

Arriving at Gare du Nord by Eurostar (read my review) we decided to walk to our hotel in the Latin Quarter & start taking the sights in straight away. On any walk in Paris it's worth saying to look up! Long before you reach any of the traditional sights there are so many fabulous buildings with Juliet balconies, carvings & statues to see. At the end of Rue De Faubourg there is a delightful archway (its twin 2 streets over). You then arrive at Tour St Jacques & it's fine monument & park, before you get to the River Seine. We crossed the river at Pont-Neuf, the oldest bridge in Paris built in the 16th century. It's double span sits where the river splits to go either side of Ile-de-la-Citi, where Notre Dame sits. You could, in fact, base your tour of Paris around the many magnificent bridges here. This would take you past many of the historic sights. My favourite would be Pont Alexandre III, which has some amazing sculptures & was built for the 1900 Exposition Universelle. Over Pont-Neuf takes you to the Latin Quarter where we were staying at the Hotel D'Anglettere (read my review). That night we dined at Au Beaujolais (read my review). We then used a couple of our Metro tickets (a Carnet of 10 tickets is cheaper than paying for individual journeys or a Paris pass if you aren't going to spend a lot of time on public transport) to get to The Eiffel Tower. At night the tower is lit & sparkles every hour on the hour, quite a display. Views of nighttime Paris from the top are, in my opinion, better than the daytime views.

The next day took us on a walk around the area close to the Hotel de Ville, around St Merrie, the Pompidou Centre, Les Halles (a huge shopping centre being redeveloped), Bourse du Commerce & then to Oratoire du Louvre. It's easy from here to cross Pont Notre Dame & visit the Notre Dame Cathederal, as good as any I've visited. Entry to the Cathederal itself is free but you pay to go up the tower. Sainte Chapelle is close by & some say is even better than Notre Dame. The Justice buildings are also close & worth a look. Stroll up the river & you reach the Lovre Museum. Just to sit in the central courtyard with the glass pyramids, fountains & sublime buildings is a pleasure. This leads to the beautiful Jardin Des Tuileries, through the first Arc De Triomphe (yes there are two) with is own sculptures, then on to the obelisque at Place De La Concorde. Quick ice cream gives us enough energy to stroll up the Avenue De Champs Élysées (hand in hand of course ….ahhh!) before reaching the other & better known Arc De Triomphe (Etoile). Dinner that night at le pre aux clers just down the road from our hotel.

Next day it's time to head for the Montmartre area. We deposited our bags at the left luggage at Gare du Nord (5:50 to 9:50 Euros for 24 hours in self service lockers) & walked up to the Sacre Coeur. This stuck me as a little bit of a seedy area of Paris as we walked along, a little bit run down. There is a funicular to use if you don't fancy the large number of steep steps up to white basilica (you can use a ticket from your carnet). Sacre Coeur is an imposing building & was built to boost public morale after the Franco Prussian War. There are better buildings but the ceiling inside is tremendous. Rue de Saules is quite picturesque & you pass a little vineyard as you make your way to the Moulin de la Galette & then to the famous Moulin Rouge. Now back on the Eurostar. I think we saw a great deal of this great city in the short time we were there.

A couple of footnotes. Paris is not cheap & most things are expensive by UK standards. A bottle of water, 1 litre, will cost you 3 Euros. A beautiful city is spoiled a bit by the enormous number of beggars, they seem to be everywhere. A boat trip down the Seine or the open top bus tour is a great way to see a lot of the sights, very quickly & easy on the feet. There is a road train, like the ones that run along the UK seaside, that runs around the Montmartre area which helps greatly with a very hilly area.

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