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lukasdj Paris - A travel report by luca
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Paris,  France - flag France -  Ile-de-France
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lukasdj's travel reports

Impressions de Paris

  21 votes
I have had only 4 days, during May 2004, to visit Paris with my wife. We were interested in the historical buildings, museums, paintings, parks and the “Chateau de Versailles”.


Tour Eiffel
Tour Eiffel
Even if we have had only 4 days to visit Paris, we could see quite a number of wonders, each of which struck us in a different way. Because of climatic conditions (it was pouring the first two days) we couldn’t stroll up and down parks. I don’t think a month is enough for a tourist to see all the attractions, romantic corners, historical quarters and wonderful views that Paris can offer. Therefore we decided to start from the most famous sights without being anxious to see everything in four days. We also decided to reserve one day to visit the “Chateau de Versailles”.

Favourite spots:
Notre-Dame
Notre-Dame
Among the high views of Paris from Tour Eiffel, Arc de Triomphe, and so on, we preferred the upper balcony of Notre-Dame de Paris. From up there, you can see all Paris, from Arc de Triomphe to Sacre-Coeur, but you can also be impressed by the gothic architecture of the cathedral with its gargoyles, statues, and narrow crossing little doors, from where it seems to see the hunchbacked go out at any moment! Maybe we had this kind of impression because that morning there was a leaden sky with fine rain and we could stay several minutes alone on the balcony, and we could go down the stairs without hearing any voice but only some strange noises...
The Ile de la Cite, where Notre-Dame rises, is the ancient heart of Paris and reveals history from every stone. We liked to walk trough the historical palaces like the Palais de la Justice, but also along the bank of the Seine. We saw also an open-air flower-market: it’s the Paris's main flower market and, on Sunday, it hosts a bird market.

What's really great:
Basilique du Sacre-Coeur
Basilique du Sacre-Coeur
The most amazing place to visit is the Chateau de Versailles, I have written another report about it.
In the city, the white Basilique du Sacre-Coeur on the top of the hill in Montmartre gives you intimate feelings inside and a great sight of Paris outside. Along the hill there are stairs, deep streets that form a very intriguing neighbourhood. Walking down the hill we felt at easy, definitely the place where to live! No surprise if so many painters (like Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir, Picasso) spent their time here, at the beginning of the century.
Two compulsory museums to visit are the Louvre and Musee d’Orsay; the first for Monna Lisa and the latter for the Impressionist paintings. The Louvre has enormous halls with paintings that go from the floor to the ceiling in front of which we were out of breath. In Musee d’Orsay you can feel very different emotions, from The Swing painted by Renoir, to Nymphéas (waterlilies) by Monet, and the Church of Auvers sur Oise by Vincent Van Gogh.

Sights:
I have already written about my favourites sights from Notre-Dame de Paris and Montmartre, but you can’t forget to take a look of Paris from Tour Eiffel, Arc de Triomphe with the Champs-Elysees and La Grande Arche de la Defense.
The sight from the bottom of Tour Eiffel is imposing. Unfortunately we didn’t go up on the tower: we have tried two days but it was always raining and the sky was covered so we wouldn’t have had a good view from the top of the tower, next time will go better!
The French president Mitterand wanted a XXth century Arc de Triomphe, the result is La Grande Arche de la Defense, but it looks more like a cube than an arch of triumph. You can take a lift to the top of the Arche, from where you have a nice view on the city centre; you can imagine a 4 km straight way to the Arc de Triomphe.

Accommodations:
Our hotel was in the district called Saint-Germain des Prés. I think this is the best start postion to reach every attraction in reasonable time. Moreover it is known as a center of intellectualism; the Café de Flore and the Deux Magots were popular hangouts for such minds as Sartre, and Simone de Beauvoir, but also Picasso and Hemingway.

Restaurants:
There are lots of restaurants, from all over the world and the best are in the Latin Quarter. We wanted to try the traditional French cuisine. We didn’t stop in luxurious and expensive restaurants but we searched for “brasserie” and “bistrot” to eat French cookery like “choucroute” and “blanquette de veau”.

Other recommendations:
If you want to visit something without any crowd around, you have to wake up early in the morning or use the first hours in the afternoon.
We could look at Monna Lisa for almost a quarter of hour at the minimum distance with only about ten people at 10:00 AM, just half an hour later the hall was crowded and it was impossible to spend more than a minute at almost ten meters.
Another recommendation is to book a room without breakfast. Every morning we have had breakfast in a different arrondissement, we could see the city wake up before the tourist invasion. Monuments and palaces seem more regal and we could see some Parisians that vanish during the day.
Finally, to move easy and fast you have to buy the "Paris Visite" travel card. It provides unlimited rides on Metro, RER, and so on, in particular fare zone and for a limited number of days. It's very cheap if you choose the zone 1, 2, 3. For example Château de Versailles is in zone 4, but it is better to buy the ticket separately.

Published on Tuesday May 3th, 2005


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Tue, Jul 12 2005 - 09:19 PM rating by ardelia

Reading this is like walking down memory lane, I was there for 5 days and I had the same amazing time of my life. Thanks & keep it up

Ardelia

Wed, May 04 2005 - 03:41 AM rating by britman

An excellent first effort at GLOBO report writing. If all the sections had been completed with additional photographs at each section (and I know how difficult this can be to achieve on short visits) You would have gained 5 stars! Keep the reports coming and the pictures - it's great to have you on board here at GLOBOsapiens

Tue, May 03 2005 - 02:06 PM rating by bear495

This is a very nice first report. Thank you for such a fine submission.

Russ

Tue, May 03 2005 - 12:17 PM rating by rangutan

Excellent!

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