Earlier this month I managed to tick an item off my all-time To Do list – I visited PARIS!
I’ve wanted to for such a long time, the final tipping point being that le Cinematheque Francais is the final stop of the the Tim Burton Exhibition and is closing in August. Sold.
So, from Friday to Monday, I tried to absorb myself fully in Paris, speaking GOD-AWFUL French (the guy at the counter in the Cinematheque Francais actually shuddered at me, before giving my sister a discount on the entry fee!), eating Croque Madames and pastries (for breakfast, I may add) and almost giving myself a spinal injury from staring up at the Eiffel Tower (seriously, that thing is massive).
Sooo, what did we get up to?
We climbed to the first viewing platform of the Eiffel Tower and enjoyed the STUNNING view over Paris (look outwards, not straight down if you’re queasy) and read the interesting trivia on the boards around the platform.
Climbing the Eiffel Tower is a bit hardcore, I’m not going to lie. I had to stop for breath once or twice along the way and it’s difficult not to feel a little bit woozy when the people below you start to look like ants.
We were lucky in that we got there after 6pm and there were no lines at all for the stairs, we strolled (*wheeze*) straight on up.
Kudos to my boyfriend and sister for making it to the first viewing platform, both of them have a pretty bad fear of heights and they were a bit “shook” by the time we got up, but it was worth it in retrospect, ie, after they got back to terra firma in one piece. 🙂
A million photographs (approx), a scary descent (I repeat: look outwards, not downwards!), an over-priced bottle of coke and a short stroll around Le Trocadero later, we nabbed a bench beside the carousel and watched as the Tower lit up in it’s famous light show, which happens on the hour every hour from 10 pm and lasts for 5 minutes.
It was amazing to watch and also to hear the gasps of delight and oohs and ahhhs from the other tourists.
We came back each night of our visit to watch this, it was really amazing.
Well we got tickets for the open-top bus tour (Les Cars Rouges), which saved us a good amount of walking between the different sights, but was REALLY expensive, almost e30 each!
Can’t complain too much though, we covered a lot of ground (the Louvre, Opera, Notre Dame, Pont Neuf…) and we could hop on/off wherever we liked and the pass was valid for two days.
Notre Dame Cathedral was beautiful, absolutely huge and the detail of the carvings inside and outside the cathedral was mind-blowing, from the amazing stained glass windows, the statues and the ugly (but kind of cute) gargoyles, it was a sight to behold.
We took the Metro to Pere Lachaise cemetary, while we did find the graves of Bizet, Edith Piaf and Victor Noir, we sadly didn’t make it to Jim Morrison’s grave (the whole point of our visit!!) as it was coming close to closing time and we were chased out (literally) by the rudest security guy ever. EVER!
We were a bit bummed out by this, but we were kinda knackered from walking around the graveyard most of the afternoon, plus it gives us a good excuse to go back 😉
Another highlight was the boat trip on the Seine, which took us from the Eiffel Tower beyond Notre Dame, Le Pont Neuf and back. We got on at a good time, it was just coming to dusk, so the sky was all pinky/purply and the view was lovely. Flippin breezy though! Our ticket included a free sandwich, which we were glad of ‘cos we were starvin’ Marvin.
And then, bien sur, was the Tim Burton Exhibition!! This was brilliant, once we found it (Note 1: Rue du Bercy is feckin’ LOOOONG, and spending 20 minutes walking up it the wrong direction isn’t a good start. Note 2: Gare du Lyon is DISGUSTING to walk past, the smell of urine actually made me gag going past it. Dis. Gust. Ing.)
The exhibition was deadly – doodles, photographs, models, films, costumes etc. I am a big fan of Tim Burton’s movies (apart from Alice in Wonderland, what was that??), so this was a big deal for me, I was chuffed to go and the hour long queue (seriously) to get in was totally worth it. Totally.
So, a lot done, a lot more to do (fnar fnar) next time we visit Paris, I’d love to go for longer (having brushed up on my French) and spend more time wandering around the streets and stopping in patisseries and boulangeries and just “being”, rather than trying to see as much as possible.
We stayed on the Boulevard de Grenelle in the Central Europe Tour Eiffel Hotel, which was about 10/15 mins walk to the Eiffel Tower and right around the corner from a metro station. Having read a few dodgey reviews on Trip Advisor about hotels in Paris being small, cramped, noisy etc, plus the sheer overwhelming number of hotels to chose from in the city, we were really happy with the room we got, I would deffo stay here again and would recommend it to anyone travelling over who is similarly overwhelmed about where to stay in Paris.
We took a camera-full of photos, so I won’t bore you (you can google stunning photos of Paris yourselves), but these were my favourites.
Have to been to Paris? What did you think??
Eiffel Tower from El Trocadero