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anna_moon Paris - A travel report by Polly
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Paris,  France - flag France -  Ile-de-France
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anna_moon's travel reports

Mon Dieu - Not another report on Paris!

  15 votes
Page: 1 2

Paris travelogue picture
The ‘City of Lights’ is an obvious stop on any tour of Europe, and so my high school group visited it for three days on our Summer 2000 trip. Paris is one of the few places I’ve visited that was exactly as I had pictured it, from its famous monuments to the little stalls selling posters and books along the west bank of the Seine. In many ways, it reminded me of Washington D.C. – the grand marble buildings and wide streets – but Paris certainly has its own flavor, one that no other city can replicate.

Favourite spots:
Paris travelogue picture
The Louvre was a highlight of my trip, as it is probably the most famous art museum in the world. We entered through the (in)famous glass pyramid, and were set loose to explore the three wings: Sully, Denon, and Richelieu. We didn’t have much time, so first we made sure to hit the three biggest attractions – the Venus de Milo, Winged Victory, and the Mona Lisa (which is smaller than most people realize, protected behind thick glass, and hidden by large crowds). Here we split up, and I went off in search of Michelangelo’s Dying and Captive Slaves. After finding them, I took a more leisurely tour, exploring the rest of the Italian sculptures and the French paintings. My only disappointment was that the Ingres section was closed. After experiencing complete visual overload, I headed down to take a look at the walls of the Medieval Louvre, and then outside to sit and watch children sail their toy boats in a fountain in the Tuileries.

What's really great:
Paris travelogue picture
The day we were scheduled to visit Notre Dame just happened to be a Sunday. After touring many cathedrals in Germany and Italy, visiting on a Sunday morning may have positively influenced my impression of Notre Dame. We were (obviously) not allowed to wander down the nave because of the service, but it was quite an experience to walk down the dark aisles, listening to the sounds of the service filling the cavernous space like the light that shone through the rose window. Walking around outside the cathedral was quite impressive as well, with the Seine on either side. The bells rang as we were standing there, which seemed to be straight out of an imagined “perfect Parisian moment”. Keep an eye open for St. Denis in doorway on your way out – he’ll be the one holding his head in his arms!

Paris travelogue picture
The evening we arrived, we visited Montmartre, the bohemian area where artists such as Lautrec and Van Gogh lived, and movies such as ‘An American in Paris’, and ‘Moulin Rogue’ were set. Escalators will take you to the top, where you’ll find the lovely church Sacré Coeur. People sit on its steps for an excellent view of the city, and street musicians and vendors abound. Beyond the church are lots of small shops and restaurants, and little bohemian corners where artists sell their wares.

The following day, we took a bus tour of the city, and passed the famous Opera House that the Phantom supposedly haunted. We also stopped at the Arc de Triomphe and the shops on the Champs Elysee. That afternoon, we took a boat tour on the Seine (Bateaux Parisiens), and got to see the sun set over Notre Dame. We also visited the Tour Eiffel at night. The lines were long, but the excitement of visiting the tower and the glow of spotlights on steel was worth it.

We stayed at the Hotel Ambassadeur, located at 153, rue Lengendre. It was close to Montmartre, in a rather run-down area, if I remember correctly. The room was cramped, but nicely decorated. We made a mess of the bathroom between the hand shower, and no plug for the bath.

Paris travelogue picture
Embarrassingly enough, we ate dinner at Planet Hollywood on the Champs Elysee. Neither the food nor the service was very good, but I did get a cute Planet Hollywood Paris t-shirt. To redeem myself, I have to mention Berthillon (which has a branch on the Champs Elysee), a sweets shop rumored to have the best ice cream in Paris, if not the world. After having been spoiled on Italian gelato, I was not as impressed as I should have been, but the raspberry and chocolate was still absolutely delicious.

Other recommendations:
Paris travelogue picture
Our group also took a side tour to Versailles, the incredible palace started by Louis XIII as a hunting lodge, and turned into a magnificent residence by the Sun King, Louis XIV. While the Baroque Classicist façade didn’t do much for me, the art and history of the palace and the beauty of the gardens were undeniable. The Apartments of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette and the Hall of Mirrors were the most memorable for their frescoed ceilings and opulent decorations. We took a walk in the gardens, and enjoyed fresh lemonade sold by an unobtrusive vendor. Versailles is only eleven miles from Paris, and the town is full of places for tourists to eat and shop.

Published on Tuesday March 16th, 2004

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Sat, Feb 24 2007 - 08:16 PM rating by travler

I enjoyed reading what you thought of the 'city of lights'

Thu, May 13 2004 - 03:29 PM rating by whereisliz

I have no problem with yet another report on Paris, if it's as detailed and beautifully illustrated as yours is! Thanks for bringing back my own very fond Paris memories.

Tue, Mar 30 2004 - 11:08 PM rating by magsalex

Nice report!

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