We spent our second full day in Paris touring the city on the Paris L’ Open Tour – it was a great way to get a pretty comprehensive overview of the central areas of the city. We were able to ride the yellow, green and purple lines:
Pretty immediately it became clear that Paris traffic is insane. It’s beyond congested and the drivers- especially the ones on motorcycles are so jaded they’ll clip a car and be like- ‘Oh sorry’, and the other driver doesn’t even care:
Gotta love street art- pretty creative, no?:
Some of the places that we drove by-
1. The Egyptian obelisk was given to the French people by the Egyptians in the nineteenth century. The hieroglyphics detail the reign of the pharaoh Ramses II. It is located in the Place de la Concorde, which is where many executions by guillotine were held- including those for King Louie XVI and the Queen Marie Antoinette.
2. The Eiffel Tower from across the Seine River.
3. The Moulin Rouge- the spiritual birthplace of the can-can dance.
4. The Arc de Triomphe is meant to honor those who died in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.
The tour allowed us to get on and off the bus as we wished, and it had a double decker option so we spent the day in the sun and wind seeing the Paris sights. More of the Eiffel Tower:
This was exciting to see- the Paris Opera House!!! (Palais Garnier) Renditions of ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ ensued. Phantom is one of my all-time favorite live performances to see- if not my absolute favorite. Please please please go see it in London if you ever get a chance- and sit in the first row. Believe me, it’s worth it. I would not lead you astray. Some of our group were able to go inside. It’s on my list to do the next time I’m in Paris:
1. Egyptian obelisk given to the French in the 19th century that talks of Ramses II’s reign. It is located in the Place de la Concorde which is the location where during the French Revolution King Louie XVI and the Queen Marie Antoinette were executed with the guillotine- along with thousands of others in the course of the Revolution.
2. View of the Eiffel Tower from across the Seine River
3. The Moulin Rouge – known as the spiritual birthplace of the can-can dance.
4. The Arc de Triomphe- it is meant to honor those who fought and died in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.
We got off the bus at the Sacre Cour stop and decided to take the little train to the top of the hill to avoid all of the guys selling $20 Coach handbags and sunglasses. Our train pass let us take it for free. There were lots of shops below the church- one very cute one was selling hats:
I thought this site was fitting – we were in Europe during the Euro Cup for football (American Soccer) and everywhere we went everyone was wearing their country’s colors and was very supportive toward their team. The night before in Paris from the Eiffel Tower I could see they had set up a huge screen across the field where supporters could watch the game with the tower in the background. I wish I had gone over that would have been a sight! Whenever we were back in Germany and they were playing we’d hear cheers and noises into the night as they were not expecting to get as far as they did. I admit I got into the spirit and followed the finals when we got back to the states:
Around the side street of Sacre Cour is a little gem of a restaurant- the Babalou. Only one of the waitresses spoke any English, and she was very happy to be able to practice with us. They had a very reasonably priced menu and their pizza is SO GOOD. They brought them out on their cooking pans, and all I could think was, ‘this is a Europe sized portion?!?’ I thought for sure we’d have to leave leftovers, but I guess we were hungry or something. Maybe it was the Paris wind in our faces all morning, because we polished those suckers off! I would recommend them, they have a cute small indoor eating area, or a couple of tables outside. We chose to eat outside since the weather was pleasant. Check out the bathroom too- the sink is a revitelized sewing machine with sink. Very creative! Our pizzas:
After lunch we went to the Sacré-Cœur Basilica. In French it means ‘Sacred Heart’- and is a active Catholic Church. Construction began in 1875 and it was completed in 1914. It was consecrated after WWI ended in 1919. On the exterior they have banners stating that – ‘On this site for 125 years night and day someone is praying’:
Interior shots are not allowed- they yell it at you when you enter- so I was very good and didn’t take any pictures inside. The shot below is from this site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sacre_Coeur_-_Choeur,_Abside_et_Mosaique.jpg.
So beautiful!!! I love all of the mosaics they have everywhere:
Back down on the street level we got some souviener shopping done. They also had a candy shop where we got French macaroons and some other tasty niblets:
More shots of our tour-
1. Driving past the Louvre. I’ve been twice before, it was very strange not going there on this trip!
2. Dad enjoying the bus tour!
3. A man working on his watercolors by the Siene River.
4. The Place de la Bastille. This is where the storming of the Bastille occured in the French Revolution in 1789. None of the prison remains, but the July Column (Colonne de Juillet) commemorates the events of the July Revolution of 1830.
Paris art- mosaics on a building, and some of the best graffiti I’ve ever seen on an electric box or something next to the Seine river:
Those double decker buses- people can put their gum on the signs so easy!
For dinner we walked and walked and finally found a place to eat at the ‘Loving Hut’- a 100% vegetarian and vegan restaurant. I’m not either one of these things, but I appreciated the thought that went into everything in the restaurant. The dinner wasn’t bad either. I’m not asking anyone what the chunks in my sauce were though:
Back at our hotel for the night we watched Spain beat Ireland 4-0, and Kevin proudly displayed what team he supports with his souviener from the day.
Fun day! We got to bed early to get up at 4:30 to catch the metro to the train station at 5:30. I should have just stayed up all night and went to the Eiffel Tower with the students! 😀