A week in France - Paris Day One

We arrived in Paris late afternoon on Saturday. Our hotel was about 20km to the south of Paris, chosen because it had free parking and was a rather miserable affair. Whilst everything was OK, the room was tiny, the beds were poor and the bathroom squashy. But it was cheap and close to public transport to get us into town.

Into town

So on Sunday morning we headed into town. First we had to get the tram line T7 from Moulin Vert and then switch to the metro line 7 at Villejuif Luis Aragon. Or that was the idea. Unfortunately the metro line was blocked due to a broken down train, so what should have been a 40 minute journey into town took about an hour and a half.

Pantheon

We started our journey at the Jussieu metro station and headed towards the pantheon.

Frontal view of the Pantheon with its six big pillars.

Notre Dame

After the pantheon and a first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower, we headed towards the Notre Dame cathedral. This lead us past a flea market selling all sorts of worthless overpriced junk.

Flea market with tables full of bric-a-brac.

The Notre Dame was still being repaired following the fire in the spring of 2019. So we couldn't go in, or even get too very close to it. It still remains an impressive cathedral sitting in the middle of the Seine.

Notre Dame cathedral under repair, seen from a park and framed with trees on either side.

Louvre

Next we headed to the Louvre, the world's biggest museum. We skipped going in, deciding that deserved a holiday in itself. Mona Lisa will have to wait.

People milling around in the square in front of the Louvre with the glass pyramid in the background.

We continued on through the park, past the place de la Concorde and onto the Champs-Elysees.

Monument on place de la Concorde see from a distance.

Arc de Triomphe

We walked up the Champs-Elysees, a much more ordinary road than I was expecting, and on to the Arc de Triomphe. The Champs-Elysees was shut to cars that day, due to an open air cinema being prepared at the eastern end, just in front of the Arc de Triomphe. This made it a nice leisurely stroll.

View of the impressive Arc de Triomphe from across the round about.

We got to the roundabout in the centre of which is the Arc de Triomphe. It is certainly an impressive monument. We used the underpass under the roundabout to get to it and strolled around the bottom of it for a while.

Eiffel Tower

Next we headed to the Eiffel Tower. This led us past a statue of George Washington. So much for freedom fries.

Statue of George Washington on a horse with his sword raised in the air

Finally we reached the Eiffel Tower, just as the sun decided to make an appearance on what had up until then been a rather grey affair.

The Eiffel Tower from across the Seine with trees in the foreground

The Eiffel Tower really is impressive in its size compared to the rest of Paris. It sticks out like sore thumb, but a magnificent one! As you get close, the size becomes ever more apparent, until you are staring one of it's arched feet and feeling truly insignificant.

An immense arched foot of the Eiffel Tower

Looking up from the base of the Eiffel Tower as it reaches into the sky.

We finished the day's sightseeing with a coffee at a café in the gardens of "yet another museum" in Paris. In front of us was an elderly couple sharing a cocktail, with the man not letting go of the glass desperate for a drink and the woman making sure he does not drink it all himself! 🙂

Elderly couple sitting at a table in a garden café sharing a cocktail with two straws.

And so concluded our first day in Paris. We headed back to our hotel with yet more disruptions on the metro, arriving there around 10pm. Next time we will go by train to Paris and book a hotel in the centre, but this time we needed the car to carry on our journey after visiting Paris.


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