Four days in Paris – part 2

Phew! It’s the weekend at last. After getting back from Paris at midnight on Tuesday we were straight back into work on Wednesday and playing catch-up for the time we were away. Now that it’s Saturday – the chores all done and cosy inside looking out at the drizzly grey Dublin day – I have time to sit back and think over our trip to Paris and finish writing about it. So, here we are….

Day 3 in Paris we decided to take to the Seine river for a different view of Paris. We took the Batobus which is a boat that runs daily up and down the Seine stopping at various points where you can hop on and off as you wish. We were fortunate to get a beautiful sunny day on Monday and it was very pleasant cruising the river and watching Paris glide by.

We stopped off at the Musee d’Orsay hoping to visit there and see some more art – unfortunately the Musee d’Orsay is closed on a Monday 🙁 We settled for finding a local Patisserie and nibbling on chausson aux pommes (also known as apple turnovers to us English speakers). It was quite funny ordering food and generally using French in any situation – neither of us really speak any French and I’m sure we managed to butcher the names of lots of different places and foods! I had an idea that Parisians would be unhelpful or disapproving if we couldn’t speak French but I was surprised and grateful to find that people were accommodating of our poor French and would speak English to us without a problem.

Another misconception of mine before we arrived was that Paris is a dirty city. I found this to be very untrue. Perhaps it appears that way because Paris has recently hosted an international sporting event and had the street sweepers on overtime? or perhaps it appears that way to us because Dublin really is a very dirty city. Whatever the reason, we saw very little litter, no dog poop and nobody blowing smoke in your face as they walk along the street… by comparison to Dublin, Paris was squeaky clean!

We hopped back on the Batobus and cruised to the Ile de la Cite which is one of two small islands in the middle of the Seine. The Ile de la Cite is historically the center of Paris, the home of Notre Dame Cathedral and now where the Paris Police and the Courts are based. We visited Notre Dame – a very ornate building and interesting to walk through. We also visited Sainte-Chapelle which is a less famous church but no less stunning. Ste-Chapelle was built for Louis IX to hold ‘the relics of Christ’s Passion’ (i.e the crown of thorns). It has towering stained glass window panels covering all walls that depict different sections of the biblical story from Genesis all the way through to Revelation. Very beautiful in the midday sun!

We went out in the evening in search of an authentic French restaurant to celebrate with an anniversary dinner. We had a very nice meal which included french onion soup, steak (not blue), and creme brulee. Yum yum.

On Tuesday we started the day by walking to the Arc de Triomphe. We made our way up the 284 steps of the spiral staircase to the top for a great view of the city. From the top it feels as if you are in the very center of the city with 12 avenues branching out from the roundabout that the Arc sits in the center of. Watching the chaos on the roundabout below was quite interesting. Parisian drivers are not afraid to use their horns! 😛

Tuesday afternoon we headed back to the Musee d’Orsay. We found it open and busy but didn’t have to wait too long as the queues were moving fast. We were pleased to find that we qualified for the youth rates (18 to 25yrs)! This almost made up for being ripped off earlier in the morning by being charged 12 euro for two hot chocolates at a cafe on the Champs Elysees. The Musee d’Orsay was great. Highlights for me were seeing collections by Van Gogh, Degas, and Toulouse Lautrec – some of my favourite artists! While not as big as the Louvre, the Musee d’Orsay still proved to fill a good few hours. We left with weary feet at about 4:00 and spent a few hours relaxing before we needed to head to the airport for our flight home.

Our trip to Paris was great. We enjoyed every day and would definitely go back some time.

Matt is coding some changes to the photo gallery application that we use. Hopefully you should soon see the newest photos and also a few changes to the way the gallery looks. Please feel free to leave some comments and let us know what you think once it’s all up to date. Adieu! 🙂

Comment from Mark Brown on 2007-11-19

Thanks! – great reading and seeing the photos – brought back some memories as well as showing us some sights we didn’t see. You are very keen on posing for self portraits! – you could just give your camera to a friendly fellow tourist then you could smile properly and look more relaxed!

Comment from Gill on 2007-11-19

Great part 2 also. Glad you got some good exercise climbing the Arc – no mention of motion sickness! Did you find anywhere that made a decent salad and what about coffee?
Looking forward to the photos next. Keep up the good blogs.
PS. Which restaurant did you go to for your anniversary dinner?