Wednesday, 3 September 2008

One Day in Paris

We paid out first visit to Paris many moons before we ever dreamed of relocating to France, fell in love with the City there and then and ever since have tried to visit at least once a year. Like most tourists ,our first visits were a manic dash from landmark to landmark which resulted in very sore feet and being too tired to enjoy the whole experience. Now Paris is reachable by an easy train journey ,and, having grown older and wiser (!!), we make sure that we start with a very small agenda each trip, and use the rest of the time to sit back, enjoy, and watch the world pass by !!

The purpose of this trip was to visit the Basilica at Sacre Coeur , the one main attraction we have never visited for some reason, but before braving the Paris Metro to set off across the city ,
we called in at the Tour Montparnasse . Situated very conveniently just outside our arrival station, Montparnasse, it was just a case of falling out of the TGV, after another smooth and fast trip, straight into the Tower .
This was our second visit, but the first one in daylight, the last being on a dark and windy November evening nearly a year ago - 56 floors plus another 3 open to the elements, this is quite a high building for Europe ! The views at night were incredible with all the main landmarks picked out by floodlights and the Tour Eiffel sparkling with what seemed like millions of coloured lights and crisscrossed by laser strobes ! Day time was equally spectacular - there are not many buildings in Paris that look down on the Eiffel Tower !

I have a confession to make - I have NEVER been up the Eiffel Tower as I am afraid of heights, particularly over open spaces (!!) so Tour Montparnasse was a gift in many ways !Unfortunately, the weather was very overcast and cloudy so the photos haven't come out too clearly,
but the sun did make a feeble attempt to come out, and I am sure you get the idea !

and the 360 degree views of the city were still spectacular, well worth the 7 Euro ($10) fee ! I also managed a (very blurry) photo of our next destination well across the city

Sacre Coeur from Tour Montparnasse

and this is what the Tower looked like from the other end !

The Paris Metro is something else! In all my travels I've never come across anything quite like it-DH is always a little nervous about using it, but me , I think it is great !! I also love the older stations and their obvious Art Nouveau links

Aren't they wonderful !

Walking up from the metro we got our first view of the basilica ,perched above the rest of Montmartre in all its glory !

and the nearer we got , the more awesome it became

If you could bear to turn your back on it, this is what you could see

Paris laid out at your feet! Not quite the same scope as from the Tower, but impressive nevertheless!

Not that old, being finished and opened for services in 1891, but it is magnificent! Photographs were not allowed inside the building, rightly so, but here are a few of the outside

and people up in the dome too !!

We thought best to pass on trying that one, what with my wheezy chest and DH and his 'dicky ticker' - what a pair of old crocks !!!!

Lunch was a very leisurely affair in a small restaurant we found down one of the side streets, but who was in a rush !! Eventually, we tore ourselves away from Sacre Coeur and wandered though the streets of Montmartre taking in the wonderful fabric market of St Pierre and all the other fabric and embellishment shops lining the streets. I didn't buy anything other than a couple of zips (!!) though as there was just so much to look through and not enough time to do so, it really needs a full day all to itself !!

Back down to the Metro and a quick stop off at Notre Dame, one of our favourite places

A stroll along the Seine, passing the bateaux mouches plying their trade

to Pont Neuf to check if La Samaritaine has miraculously re-opened over night - no chance !! This wonderful Art Deco building is still closed for major renovation and refurbishment to make it safe to the public. As part of the LVMH (Louis Vuitton- Moet- Hennesey ) Group, one would have thought that money would be available for this task but - it will remain closed until at least 2011 !!

Nearing the end of a long, but very enjoyable day, we just had enough time left for an evening meal and a glass (or two !) of red wine before making our way back to Montparnasse, find our seats on the TGV and settle down for the journey back to Rennes ! I couldn't help but wonder though what the owner of this cycle thought when he came back to collect it !!!!


Gina said...

I'm glad your chest held oout for you to have a good day.
I loved the photos of the buildings.

Love and hugs Gina xxx

Brigitte said...

superbe voyage, as-tu visité le marché Saint Pierre ? et ses kilomètres de tissus ?

Elizabethd said...

Like you , I love Paris. No head for heights either so the Eiffel Tower remains unclimbed. The little bistros are so fascinating, just sitting and watching Parisian life go by.....

Anonymous said...

Found your blog through Toni's Booty Swap listings. I majored in French in college and studied abroad in Lyon for seven months. I love France and think about it nearly every day. I love all of your pictures and stories - and look forward to reading more!


Judy said...

Thank you so much for a wonderful tour. I have never been to paris but would love to visit some day. I loved your pictures, it was almost like being there.

Anonymous said...

The pictures are totally awesome!! I haven't been there since 1959!! still miss France! thank you Ann for the pictures!

Sarah Nopp said...

I love these posts about the country side and your visits. Did I ever say how much I was charmed by the story of your trip to that Abbey? Thank you!

Clare said...

I heard somewhere what they are going to do with La Samaritine, but can't remember. An hotel or apartments perhaps? I do love that building.

Oh la la Tissus Reine and the silk shops. Hands firmly in pockets!

Did I send you the Q4L logo? So many people have asked for it I can't remember if you've got it not?