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Day 2: Our Trip to Paris

Posted Jun 26 2012 3:24pm

Monday, June 4th was our 2nd day in Paris. We woke up pretty early, had a delicious buffet breakfast at our Hotel and hoping to beat the crowd we walked to the “La Tour Eiffel” before it opened at 9:30 am, to venture to the top of it.  When we got there it was only 8:30 am but the line of people was already long.

Waiting to get on Top of the Eiffel Tower

It was a cloudy, windy  and not so warm day and waiting for an hour wasn’t really the ideal but we made the best out of the situation and actually had fun!

Our Colorful Sneaks

We read about the tower on our guide and learned that the Eiffel Tower which was built to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution, was originally only supposed to stay up for 20 years. But its use as an antennae saved it and today it is the most recognizable symbol of Paris. Before the Empire State Building was built in 1931 it was the tallest building in the world at 320 meters or over one thousand feet high.

Tower Details

We are finally at the ticket booth where we buy our tickets.

Tickets in hand

We hop on the elevator and the journey to the top of the tower starts in few minutes. We have to get off on the lower level before taking another elevator to the very top and already the wind feels very cold.  We are at the very top and the wind is even stronger now! But the magnificent views of the city is breathtaking!

On Top of the Tower

Enjoy these pictures from the top of the world… and hopefully they arise something romantic in you today ;)

Montmartre

The Arc de Triomphe

The massive Louvre

Notre Dame

Alexandre III Bridge

Streets of Paris

At the Top

The Seine

View of all the lights that make the Tower shine at night

We took the elevator down the second level and wondered around there a little and took the 360 stairs down.

Coming down the stairs…whooo hoooo

We walked  along the stunning and tiny island on the Seine called Allée des Cygnes to the Grenelle Bridge where the replica of a smaller version (35-foot )of the Statue of Liberty. The path drops off on both sides, revealing the modern Beaugrenelle section of the the 15th Arrondissement on one side and the open space and elegant apartment buildings along the Avenue Du President Kennedy (that we walked later) in the 16th Arrondissement.

Runners on the Allée des Cygnes

View of the Tower from Allée des Cygnes

This statue is a miniature of her bigger sister in New York Harbour. Dedicated on November 15, 1889, it looks towards the Atlantic Ocean and hence towards its “larger sister” in New York Harbor, which had been erected three years earlier.

The Statue of Liberty

It’s sooooo small

Our next destination was the Arc De Triomphe but of course we had a lot to see along the way. The Place de la Concorde, is one of the city’s many public squares and what makes it special as a Paris attraction is its size and the fact that is at the end of one of the most famous attractions in Paris: the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. The Avenue des Champs-Élysées is just a street in Paris, but with its cinemas, cafés, luxury specialty shops and clipped horse-chestnut trees, is one of the most famous streets and one of the most expensive strips of real estate in the world.

The Place de la Concorde

In the lower part of the Champs-Élysées stands the Petite and the Grand Palais. The feature I loved the most about the Grand Palais is its roof, which is a huge glass and steel dome…spectacular! The Grand Palais is currently the largest existing ironwork and glass structure in the world and it’s a museums open to the public. The Grand Palais (Large Palace) and the Petit Palais (Small Palace) were both built for the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris, along with the nearby Alexandre III Bridge across the Seine.

The Grand Palais

The Petite Palais

Petite Palais massive door

I was very fascinated and impressed by the incredible ornaments and art that are featured on the Pont Alexandre III.

Pont Alexandre III

The bridge is plentifully decorated with Art Nouveau lampposts and sculptures of cherubs, nymphs and golden Pegasus horses.

Golden Pegasus Horses

Art Nouveau lampposts

On each end of the bridge are large golden statues on 17 meters (56 ft) high granite pillars.Pretty massive! Oh and each of the ornaments on the bridge was created by a different artist.

Granite Pillars on each end

The Grand Palais on the background

Massive granite pillar with golden statues

My love

While we walked all over Paris this lovely bride & groom were driving everywhere to take photos…keep your eyes open, you will see them again=)

Bride & Groom

In the middle of the Place Charles de Gaulle, at the border of the 8th, 16th and 17th arrondissement stands one of the greatest arches in history: the Arc de Triomphe.

Walking towards the Arc de Triomphe on the Seine

The triumphal arch is in honor of those who fought for France, in particular, those who fought during the Napoleonic Wars. Engraved on the inside and at the top of the arch are all of the names of the generals and wars fought.

The Arc de Triomphe

Sculpture on the Arc

Of course the usual self portrait…can you see who’s in the background?

Yup it’s the Newlyweds!!!

Our Groom & Bride are following us at the Arc=)

It’s us touching the Arc de Triomphe

Below the arch is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers, where  the Memorial Flame burns honoring the many who died during World War I.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers

It was finally launch time. We wanted a Brasserie, as we wanted to experience an authentic slice of Parisian life. We saw Le Crystal near the Arc and we went for it. The food was great and I love the red decor.

Le Crystal - Brasserie

Hmmmm Parlez vous Francais?

Love the red decor

Croque Monsieur for Dustin as it’s his favorite sandwich

It was time to walk the  Champs-Élysées which I have to say I wasn’t really impressed with. It’s basically like the 5th Avenue in New York, with lots of expensive shops, nice restaurants and theaters.

Louis Vitton on the Cahmp

Louis Vuitton on the Champs

From the The Place de la Concorde we entered the Jardin des Tuileries, this beautiful and relaxing French style garden. From here the view of the Champs-Élysées and the Arc De Triomphe is simply amazing.

Virgin Megastore

At the end of these gorgeous gardens is the imposing Musée du Louvre. The Louvre, is one of the world’s largest museums, the most visited art museum in the world, an historic monument and we were extremely excited we were about to see it the extravagant Ieoh Ming Pei’s glass pyramid in the centre of the Napoleon courtyard. It was at this moment that my camera died! I know! But thanks to the amazing invention of the iPhone I was still able to capture in photos the rest of the tour!

View of the Champs from the Louvre

Getting to the Louvre

The Louvre

Ieoh Ming Pei’s glass pyramid

Self Portrait at the Lovure

Thank to our 2 days Paris pass we skipped the line and entered the Louvre.

Entering the Louvre

I was overwhelmed by how massive this museum is. According to the boat tour information, the Louvre is so big that if you stopped just one minute at each piece of artwork, it would take you four months to see everything.

View from inside

Inside the Louvre

Of course, we didn’t have that much time and we’ve already knew what we really wanted to see.  When we finally arrived in the room where Leonardo Da Vinci masterpiece, La Gioconda (The Mona Lisa) was we couldn’t believe our eyes. The Mona Lisa was being mobbed by people from all over the world, each trying to take a picture of her!  After kicking many people I was able to get to it and look at her. It was smaller than a I thought and it was sitting behind a 5 inches bulletproof glass.

The glass that protects the Mona Lisa

La Gioconda di Leonardo Da Vinci

The Venus de Milo was another piece of art I really wanted to see. We walked and walked and there she was. And she really was that beautiful. There’s such grace and movement in her pose.

The Venus de Milo

We noticed that one of the bridges was completely packed with locks. Some were engraved, some were huge or heart shaped. We didn’t know what’s that all about, but we loved the idea. We didn’t have a lock and surprisingly there was no one around that was selling them, but we were determined to come back and leave our lock in Paris. Dustin found out later that it’s a tradition called “Love Locks”. Here’s how it goes. A couple writes their names on a padlock and locks it onto one of the bridges. The Pont des Arts ( near the Louvre) or the Pont de l’Archevêché (near Notre-Dame-de-Paris) . They then throw the key into the Seine River as a symbol of their undying love.

The Love Locks

We crossed Pont-Neuf, the oldest and most famous bridge in Paris and adventured in the Île de la Cité, a small island in the heart of the city. First thing we hit was the impressive and true gothic masterpiece, the Cathédrale of Notre-Dame.

Notre-Dame

After that we wondered around this small island that it is like an oasis from the rush of the city. It was a lot of fun to walk the street of this small French village into the center of Paris, that featured markets, bakeries, fromageries and cafés. While much of Paris has modernized over the years, the ile remains romantically frozen in the 17th century. Here we found a wonderful little crêperie called Le Sarrasin Et Le Froment Creperie.  I was dying to try the famous street snack that everyone was bragging about. I watched the kid making my crepe, it looked so delicious, I couldn’t wait any longer. He gave me the crêpe folded in a triangle, it was hot, sweet and perfect and the nutella was so warm and soft.  Wow, so good. Seriously amazing. I want to go back to Paris for a lot of things and one of them is another nutella crêpe. Bon appétit!

Le Sarrasin Et Le Froment Creperie

Making my Nutella Crepe

Yummmm

We were on our feet again and I have to say that my hubby was such a good sport. We know I am crazy, I run marathon and I never stop so what is walking 30 miles across the city. And my love just made me happy and walked everywhere even when his knees were yelling at him. What a trooper I married.  I wanted to walk back on the Left Bank of the River Seine, by the Latin Quarter, one of the oldest parts of Paris with the Sorbonne University that gives it an intellectual air.  The domed Pantheon casts a protective eye over this part of Paris and the Luxembourg Gardens are its green lungs.

Where to now?

First we hit the The Jardin du Luxembourg that is probably the most popular park in Paris.

The Jardin du Luxembourg

Statue at the entrance of The Jardin du Luxembourg

My HERO=))) Forza amore dai!!!

And if that wasn’t enough we climbed on top of the montagne Ste-Geneviève where the Panthéon looks over the Quartier Latin.

The Panthéon

Bye bye

From there we walked back to our hotel. For dinner we went to a restaurant near by called Café Central Paris. Dustin finally had escargots and he was very delighted by it!

 Café Central Paris

Escargots for Dustin

To be continued with last day in Paris!


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