No one can come back from Europe without visiting the city of Light can they? It was October and probably not the best time to visit, but this was probably our only chance so our gang of 8 packed off in a Eurolines bus from Stuttgart late night on a Friday. We reached Paris on Saturday morning and equipped with a Paris Visite card we set off exploring…
Our first stop was the Louvre Musuem. I am not exactly a museum guy, but this one I enjoyed. I got to see Mona Lisa in all her glory and roamed around some of the locations immortalized by the Da Vinci Code. After spending about two hours looking through some magnificent works of art we left the Louvre and walked along the Seine river, through Pont Neuf bridge via Place Dauphine, Sainte-Chapelle and finally reaching Cathedrale Notre-Dame.
The Notre-Dame was just an amazing piece of architechture and truly lived up to its fame. The insides of the cathedral was incredible and very serene, true to a place of worship, though the buzz of tourists was a little absurd at times. Our next destination was Place de la Concorde. It is a huge traffic hub built in 1757. There stood an Egyptian obelisk claimed to be the oldest object made by humans surviving in Paris. Ahead of us lay the Champs-Elysées the most famous avenue in Paris. We walked ahead for 3 km to reach the Arc de Triomphe. It was very nice to look at and part of one of the many famous symbols of Paris. We decided against going up the arch though.
Next destination was the most famous of them all – The Eiffel Tower. We had to stand in a long queue to catch the elevator that takes us up, but it was well worth the wait. We reached on top at the best possible time and were treated to glory of Paris in daylight, sunset and darkness. It was an incredible feeling and a magestic vista. The chilling wind was nearly unbearable but we just couldn’t make ourselves leave the place. It is truly one experience you should not miss.
After this we had to get to our hotel at a Parisian suburb called Cergy. But unfortunately the sub-urban trains where on strike and we had to take some difficult alternate routes, but finally we made it. The hotel was just ok but the breakfast was wonderful!
Because we had gone to most of the important places the previous day, we could go out on a more relaxed pace on Sunday. We explored a bit of the Ile St-Louis. I didn’t find it particularly attractive except for a nice leisurely walk which fitted in perfectly because we had a lot of time. We then visited the Hotel des Invalides, where Napoleon rests, nothing special again, and left towards Abbesses.
At Abbesses we ate lunch at an Indian restaurant, which was a mistake I thought. We explored a bit of the streets and alleys of Abbesses before heading towards Basilique du Sacré-Coeur. The basilica was also another example of fine architecture. It looked grand against the blue skies of Paris and provided a great view of the other side of the town. Also a nice place to frame the Eiffel tower if you have a camera with a good zoom (I boast of one ;) ). We again had plenty of time and relaxed on the steps towards the cathedral, pondering about the 2 days in Paris.
Paris on the whole is a very enchanting city with lot of things to offer. It may not be my most favourite place but it is indeed close. Glad to be able to tick mark one more place off my checklist of things to do before I die :D
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