As school is getting busier and I am having company visit from home, I’m having less and less time to write and therefore, unfortunately, I am a little late on my blogging updates. But, as they say, better late than never!
We woke up on Sunday morning quite early so that we could fit everything into our only full day in Paris. Our hostel had a free breakfast of croissants, chocolate pastries, an assortment of cereals, coffee, tea and some yogurts so we filled our faces with food before heading back into the main attractions in the city. By the time we got to the Eiffel tower it was a little past 9:30, so it wasn’t too busy yet and we were able to get some nice photos. The only problem was that there was a huge 20km race going on through the heart of Paris on Sunday morning which closed a lot of the major roads and bridges and made some of the areas very busy and crowded. We had to detour about an extra half hour/ 45 minutes to get around the Tower, across a different bridge and then back to where we were supposed to hop on our bus tour of the city. As it turns out, the 20km run was taking place on the main road where the bus stop is so that wasn’t going to work out. We did, however, get to catch the start of a few of the heats for racing which was pretty neat to watch. It was a pretty big event, easily a few thousand runners participated. We decided to back-track to the bus station nearest our hostel in front of the Military School and wait at that bus station for our bus. We waited a good 45 minutes here before looking for the information kiosk for our bus, which we were unsuccessful in finding. After about an hour of waiting and searching we decided we were wasting our time here and might as well try a different stop. So, we turned around and went back to the roundabout in the Champ de Mars and waited for the bus. The bus didn’t come. Finally a different tour bus guy asked us if we needed help and offered to let us use his phone and call the company as he hadn’t seen any of their busses run all morning. I talked to the information lady on the phone who was quite a pain, and inaccurate in our facts, but did inform me that this company wasn’t running until after noon because of the race. Finally, at around 12:30 we were able to flag down our bus and hop on for the day.
The bus took us through the city and gave a commentary of the historical buildings, significant events and other similar information about the things we were passing. Our first stop was the Academy of Music building where Gaston Leroux was inspired to write the Phantom of the Opera, my absolute favourite show/movie/story.
Next we went to the Louvre and got into the museum there. The museum is way bigger than I expected, you could easily spend a few hours, if not days, looking at all of the paintings and sculptures and artifacts. Of course we saw the world-famous Mona Lisa, who drew a large crowd, but not big enough that there was a line which was nice. She’s a lot smaller than you’d expect, but nonetheless an experience just to see. Outside we explored the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel and the gardens surrounding it. I enjoyed posing alongside the statues in the gardens, which is becoming quite a hobby for me.
From there we hopped back onto the bus and hopped off at Notre Dame. Although it appeared to be very busy, the line into the Notre Dame moved very quickly and we were able to get in in no time at all. It’s really a phenomenal cathedral, but as you’ve read I really enjoy cathedrals. I snuck in a photo with a poster of Pope Francis (my favourite) and took some photos of the elaborate marble sculptures and stunning stained glass. When we exited we decided to grab some crepes from a street vendor and enjoy them along the Seine which was just below the main level of the streets and was quieter and less busy.
Last on our tour was the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs-Elysées, one of the most famous shopping streets in the world. It’s also been ranked as one of the top 3 most expensive avenues to live on, just under 5th Avenue in NYC and another area in Hong Kong.
When we took the bus back towards the stop nearest our hostel we passed Les Invalides and the Military School I mentioned previously. At this point it was already close to 5pm and we were quite tired. We headed back to the hostel and enjoyed some R&R before dinner.
For dinner we went to a restaurant just a few blocks from the hostel and enjoyed a delicious meal (that was reasonably priced!). The waiter helped talk me into a French dish called beef carpaccio while Jess enjoyed an amazing burger. After stuffing our faces with one of the best meals I’ve had in Europe we decided to trek back to the Eiffel to see it one last time at night. We were able to catch it right at 8pm when it was twinkling (as it does every hour at in the early night on the hour) which was really quite beautiful. We did a little more nighttime sight seeing before retreating back to our beds, as we had an early and busy morning ahead of us!
Once again, I hope you enjoyed reading! I’d love to hear your feedback. Xo