After a quick trip through the Chunnel, we arrived in Paris in the evening just in time to check into our apartment, grab some dinner, and hit the hay. Again, we had a great apartment; this time a block or two off of the Champs Elysees. We had a very comfortable, modernly equipped, temporary home, minus central air, but with one amazing surprise; a view of the Eiffel Tower. A small view, but a view non-the-less. From our beds we could see the pinnacle of the tower, which is especially spectacular at night when they light it with twinkly lights at the top of every hour. (I would often wake in the middle of the night just to watch it for a few minutes.) In my mind, there could be no bad trip to Paris as long as I got to see the Eiffel Tower in person. Mission accomplished. (That was fast!)
So as comfortable as our apartment was, we still had to sleep with the windows open since we were residing on the 6th floor of a very old building. If you thought that New York was the city that never sleeps, you have never stayed in Paris right off all of the action. Needless-to-say, we didn’t get much sleep; usually about four hours or so a “night”. (In truth, I would fall asleep for a bit around 11 pm and then not again until about 6:30 am –ish.) Because of the awkward sleep schedule, we got really late starts in the morning.
The first full day in Paris, we opted for a general tour of the city via the Hop On Hop Off bus. A double decker bus that provided a two hour trip around the city (a literal loop), from beginning to end. Tickets included an audio tour and the option to hop on and off at any point of interest. Most major cities have these tour buses. It is a really great option if you have a short stay and want to maximize your sight seeing, literally. (You learn a little history and facts about landmarks, but unless you get off the bus, you are only SEEING.) It was really an outstanding idea for us. Money well spent. We boarded at the Arch de Triumph and made our way from there.
At every turn in Paris, there is amazing architecture, outstanding statues, important landmarks and extraordinary details on everyday, Parisian buildings. Sometimes I couldn’t get my camera ready fast enough. (Not to mention there was the guy a few rows ahead of us, on the upper deck of the bus, who kept standing up while the bus was moving to take pictures and not holding, on so I was terrified he would go “man overboard” and ruin my tour!!!)
In contrast to London that has such an abundance of modern architecture, Paris was old school, old world everywhere (ok, minus the Pyramid at the Louvre). It was what I imagined an historic European city to look like. It still completely blows my mind that such sophisticated and intricate structures and detail could be constructed in such abundance using the tools of their time. Mind blown.
We only hopped off the bus at one point of interest; the iconic Tower de Eiffel. A real dream come true for me. Although my travel bucket list is quite lengthy, the Eiffel Tower has topped it since high school French class. I feel very blessed that I was able to get to this amazing city and landmark, and doubly so to be there with my husband and kids.
1 View of the Eiffel Tower at night from our apartment.
2 A rainy shot of our apartment door.
3 The Arch de Triumph
4 Academie Nationale de Musique
5 The Pyramid at The Louvre
6 A small portion of The Louvre
7 The Eiffel Tower and part of my posse.