Travel Blog in Paris: Culture, Food, Museums and the World Cup

As Charlotte finally had a summer where she didn’t have to study for anything, we decided a few days in Paris was long overdue. (a huge thanks to Aube and family for letting us stay in the gorgeous flat near Notre Dame!)

Day One:

Walking Paris. We had a little idea of what we wanted to do in Paris but seeing Eiffel Tower was of course on the list. As it was so sunny out, and the best way to see any city is to walk, we decided a stroll through Paris would be perfect. And it was even if it was a day with almost 16kms… Seeing all the cute side streets that we would have missed on the bus (or the newest fun mode of transport is the electric scooters) was a bonus.

Have to say there was a huge difference from the last time we went to see Eiffel Tower as not as many pushy sellers. They also changed the way you access it if you wanted to go up (we’ve been up a few times so just wanted to see it).

Day Two:

Another full on day with walking but Charlotte was saved as we had to get back to watch the World Cup. We started at Notre Dame which is free to enter and the queue moves rather quickly.

We then headed to Saint Chapelle, a Holy Chapel that was intended to house Christian relics including Christ’s crown of thorns. The stained glass have 1,113 scenes from the Old and New Testaments.

Our goal was then to go to Galleria Lafayette but along the way we stumbled on 59 Rivoli – a huge building run by artists and filled with their art. I absolutely love it there. It is free to enter and often the artists are there working and don’t mind you chatting with them.

We finally made it to Galleria Lafayette where I spent the time holding onto my wallet as much as possible. If you have never been think Macy’s in New York mixed with Selfridges all done in a gorgeous art nouveau style. The building was originally started in 1896 and not completed until 1912. It’s absolutely gorgeous inside and worth going to all the floors to see the different views.

We walked back to the flat to watch the England World Cup game but due to regulations, we could only watch it at a bar or café. It was a good thing we found a local café that spoke English and was showing the game (which England won!)

In the evening we went with Aube and George down to the River Seine near Notre Dame to soak up the atmosphere and have a lovely picnic.

Posted by Mar Dixon on Saturday, 7 July 2018

Day Three:

Haven’t killed Charlotte yet, trip is going well.

We started with breakfast at an American diner because why not?

We then headed to a tick on the wish list: Musee Louvre! Again, we have been here before so the challenge was see art we haven’t seen before (and of course Mona Lisa because we’re not idiots).   There is a concept that people go and see Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo then leave. That couldn’t be furthest from the truth in what we saw. Yes obviously people saw those two but every area we went to there were loads of people stopping to look at art, talking about it and engaging in their own way (yes, plenty of selfies!)

Let’s be real, Louvre is the world’s largest art museum and (in 2017) the world’s most visited art museum. Not everyone is going to stop and look at everything. We saw the two pieces then started again and took our time strolling the rest for over 3-4 hours.

Giovanni Palol Panini – Galerie de vues de la Rome moderne 1759

In the evening we met up with Aube and went to Grand Palais to see #ArtConnection an exhibition that was only on for a few days to showcase some of the new technology and of course hear Second Canvas talk with Phillip!

Posted by Mar Dixon on Sunday, 8 July 2018

 

Day Four:

A day of Relax – sort of. Charlotte decided she really liked a shirt from Galeries Lafayette and as the weather will still so gorgeous we decided to take a walk through the city, going a bit of a different route from before . Paris is a beautiful city when you go off the different tourist paths. Might help those that suffer from Paris Syndrome (yes, that is actually a thing!)

It was also the first day we went for McDonalds which I have to admit, we both were missing.

In the evening we decided a boat cruise down the River Seine was perfect thing to do on such a lovely evening. There are many cruises to choose from but we went on Batobus Paris and it didn’t disappoint. It was €17 per person (for a 24 hour ticket) and while I’m calling it a cruise but it was a shuttle bus as it stops at 8 key locations and hot spots including:

  • Eiffel Tower
  • Musée d’Orsay
  • Saint-Germain-des-Prés
  • Notre-Dame
  • Jardin des Plantes / Cité de la Mode et du Design
  • Hôtel de Ville
  • Louvre
  • Champs-Élysées

 

 

We decided to stay on the boat for the hour round trip out the back with the most gorgeous views. Can not recommend this option enough if you’re in Paris a day or two.

Day Five:

Today we planned on going to Chateau Versailles which is a little outside of Paris but completely accessible via bus or train. We knew we wanted to spend most of our day there as last time we were there I missed out on the gardens and wasn’t going to make that mistake again.

I’m very thankful to Antoine who met us at the Royal Gate and gave us a mini tour and talked to us about the highlights we needed to see before letting us loose in the Palace.

The history of the Palace is fascinating in its own right, outside of the beauty of the art, building and gardens. It started as a village with a forest that was known for hunting. Louis XIII bought land and built a hunting lodge. Family drama made him change it from a hunting lodge to a chateau. It now has 2,300 rooms!

The highlight (inside) of course is the Hall of Mirrors. Starting in 1678 under King Louis XIV, it has 17 archways with mirrors – each arch has 21 mirrors.

The gardens, which can be seen from the Hall of Mirrors are the most magnificent gardens in the world. Originally started in 1661 it took 40 years to get it to the original design. The garden needs to be replanted about every century to maintain the design. However on top of this they have had to fix the gardens several times due to storms, last time was in 1999.

We walked the garden for close to two hours – ok we were walking slow, stopping to take pictures and yes, getting lost despite having a map and having their excellent signage around (it’s a special skill).

Coming across the Fountains in the ‘Water Walk’, (Neptune Fountain is incredible!) or seeing the Musical Fountain Show in the Musical Gardens makes the who time spent in the gardens worth it.

Posted by Mar Dixon on Tuesday, 10 July 2018

 

In the evening we watch France win another game, getting them into the World Cup.

Posted by Mar Dixon on Tuesday, 10 July 2018

 

The following morning we flew home exhausted but with a lot of great memories.

 

 

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