Last weekend, my friend and I headed up to Paris. It has been nine years since I have been there. Even though this was my third time in Paris, I saw some new sights. One of the many reasons I love living overseas is being able to plan last minute trips around Europe!
There are many options in transportation here. Driving is always an option but with the number of tolls in France and rainy weather, we decided to take TGV high speed train. This train was like a double decker bus with two levels, we were on the top level in 2nd class. It took us about four hours to get to Paris. The train was travel at times at 310km which is 192 miles per hours. It was a very smooth and comfortable ride which allowed me to catch up on some reading.
When we arrived in Paris we needed to take the metro to arrive at our hotel. Our hotel was in the La Defense district of town, a new area for me. Our hotel was located near the Grand Arch, see below. After looking at the metro map we decided we need to take the 4 to the 1 and then walk a few blocks to the hotel. When traveling it is wise to pack light, Paris metro system has a lot of stairs and not ideal for large suitcases. We got on the 4 which lead us to the 1 where we realized there was technical issues with the train and it would be closed for the evenings. Of course all announcements are in French and neither of us speak it, so we ask a friendly bystander to translate. After looking at the map we figured we could take the red RER which is a train but goes to boarder areas of the city. Finally, we arrive at our stop and walked to the hotel where we saw the Grand Arch.
Friday night we explored the area around the hotel, we can across a Chipotle and we were super excited. Being over here you miss certain type of fast food places and we were like kids in a candy store when we say it. Chipotle has never tasted so good.
With the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, security measure were tighten. Every entrance had a x-ray machine and purse checks even at restaurants and malls. France soldiers were patrolling everywhere.
We woke up Saturday morning achy from an uncomfortable bed but ready for a day of sight seeing. Our room package included breakfast at the hotel, two days worth of unlimited metro travel and museum pass to collection of museum which covered most of the places we saw.
Our first stop was the Lourve which is one of the world’s largest museums and well known monument in Paris. We walked around and saw some of the well known sites such as Mona Lisa, Winged Victory of Samothrace, and Seated Scribe, and Sacrophagus. As we left the Louvre we explored the shops in the Galerie du Carrousel.
Then we toward the Tuileries Gardens which is the largest and oldest public garden in Paris. For beginning winter, it was still pretty. We walked through the Place de la Concorde on our way to the Eiffel Tower. The weather was cool and foggy which made the view from the top of the tower full of fog.
After we explored the Eiffel Tower, we walked toward the Musee del' Armee Invalides which houses Napoleon’s tomb and the Tomb Church, which was very pretty. Then took the metro and explored Notre Dame and Arc de Triomphe.
Then we walked down the Champs Elysee which is one of the streets which run into the Arc de Triomphe and decided to find the Hard Rock Café and eat there for dinner. Then we headed back to the hotel and figured out we did 20,000 steps which was around 13 miles.
0n Sunday was our last day in Paris and another option in our room package was check out was at 4pm which let us explore more of the city. Our first stop was the Musee d Orsay which was an old railway station which is now a museum full of great artist such as Van Gogh and Monet. Then went to explore the catacombs of Paris. We stood in line for about 45 minutes since only 200 people are only allowed in the catacombs at a time. We climbed down 130 steps and walked 2km which is 1.2 miles. The journey took 45 minutes and then we climb up 83 steps. We grabbed a quick lunch and our luggage and headed to the train station. On Sunday we walked about 7,000 steps.
A teacher who loves traveling the world.