A Travellerspoint blog

November 2016

"Are Yous Goin' Saaaaafend?"

Paris

all seasons in one day 10 °C
View Paris on kmmk17's travel map.


Having already holidayed together twice in the summer, Chris and I had another getaway - this time a short distance across the Channel to Paris.

Once again taking off the Friday afternoon from work, we headed to the airport to catch a flight from Luton to CDG for a weekend in the French capital.

The "CDGVAL"

The "CDGVAL"

Upon arrival in Paris we quickly noticed the effects the ongoing state of emergency was having. After buying our train tickets to get to the city centre, we found that the station was shut due to an unattended bag, and thus we had to get on the CDGVAL (pronounced Cheval, like the horse) to the other terminal, and then transfer to the train. However this had now caused issues with the trains to the city, and when we did arrive at Terminal 1, the train we boarded wasn't leaving for another 35 minutes. We did however eventually find a train that was leaving imminently - though still delaying our arrival in the city by an hour or so. Getting through Gare du Nord and onto the Metro, we eventually arrived at the hotel, checked in and then headed out for a meal at a local restaurant.

Moulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge

After dinner we then headed a little bit further down the road to the Moulin Rouge. Having visited Paris twice before, I had already seen the majority of the sites in the city centre. However as this was located outside the inner city it was new site for me too. Taking pictures of the building all lit up in the night, we then took a look inside some souvenir shops, before heading back to the hotel via a local supermarket for some snacks and cheap fruity wine.

Sacre Cœur

Sacre Cœur

After a relaxing evening, the following morning we woke for breakfast before heading out to explore the rest of the city. Starting by walking up a large staircase we first visited the Sacre Cœur, another new sight for me, before getting on the metro and heading towards the Arc de Triomphe.

Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe

Most sights in the city have reduced rates, with a significant number being free for under 26's from the EU, and so luckily for me I had free entry. However with massive queues for attractions tickets, as well as extra bag security, it still took a long time to actually visit the attractions in the city.

View of Paris

View of Paris

The queue for the Arc de Triomphe was a particularly long one especially in the cold of a November morning - however upon entry to the roof it was definitely worth the wait, as there were some beautiful views over the nearby architectural beauty, La Defense, and the Eiffel Tower. Heading back down, we walked towards the Trocadero, where there are good views of the Eiffel Tower, before heading to the tower itself. Having still not decided whether we would head up the tower itself, we nevertheless went through the security check to enter the complex. After deciding we would walk up the to the lower levels, we then queued up and bought ourselves tickets.

The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower

Unlike most tall city attractions, you can actually feel the wind through the structure, and see views of just how high you are. After stopping briefly on the first floor - where we were already at one of the highest points in the city, we then headed up to the second floor for even better views over the city. However unlike me, Chris was a little bit nervous of heights, and unfortunately the best form of encouragement I could provide was "Well we've paid for the second floor"....

Taking a look at the views from the second floor, we decided not to buy a top floor ticket, and instead headed down to the exit to continue our walk around the city. Taking in views of the Eiffel Tower once more, we then headed towards the Champs Élysées passing Les Invalides and crossing the Seine.

At the Champs Élysées, a large Christmas Market had been set up on both sides, and so enjoying some Mulled Wine and taking a look at some of the items on sale we then headed towards Concord and the Louvre. We would visit the Louvre itself tomorrow, and so enjoyed some dinner waiting for sunset so that we could enjoy our last site today - the Eiffel Tower by night.

The Eiffel Tower by night

The Eiffel Tower by night

Louvre

Louvre

The following morning after leaving our bags at the hotel, we headed back to the Louvre, where we managed to avoid the queues by entering through a shopping centre side entrance. Unlike the Vatican Museum, the Louvre clearly sign posts it's main attraction, obviously accepting that 95% of the people there simply want to see the Mona Lisa.

Kevin Bear at the Mona Lisa

Kevin Bear at the Mona Lisa

Located on a wall in the middle of the room, the queues to see the infamous painting are much less than we expected and so we were done with the museum pretty quickly.

The Mona Lisa Wall

The Mona Lisa Wall

We then headed out towards Île de la Cité - the oldest part of the city, walking towards the Notre Dame, where we arrived just as the Mass was coming to an end.

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

Heading back out, we then made our way over to the Deportation monument, which is almost hidden behind the cathedral, before we stopped for a bite to eat. With almost all the city having been ticked off our list, we then headed past the City Hall, towards the Pompidou Centre.

Our final attraction for the trip was the Catacombs, located in the south of the city. Taking the train, we arrived not long after but found a huge and very slow moving queue. Unfortunately we ended up getting caught in a shower during the two hours we waited and debated whether to skip the attraction due to time running out before our flight this evening. Just in the nick of time, we made it in, and after quickly taking a look around and overtaking everyone we had seen in front of the queue, we viewed the tunnels filled with the bones of residents from centuries ago. This eerie but unique experience was well worth the wait.

Inside the Catacombs

Inside the Catacombs

We then headed back to our hotel to grab our bags and headed for the airport. Luckily no bomb scares this time, but once again the understaffed city meant many delays - with a very slow security queue.

We had arrived at Border Control in plenty of time, but the Essex girls in front of us had diced with danger. Hearing we were also British they hopefully asked "Are yous goin' Saaaaaafend". "Err no" we responded.

Eventually making it through in enough time, the group of girls individually ran towards the gate for Southend just about making it. Our sympathy ran slim however as they had already each bought their duty free rather than making it through in enough time....

Eventually getting to eat, we waited for our plane and after a short flight, we finally arrived back home. A great trip even if Paris was overly busy!

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Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in France Tagged art tower paris history city cathedral hill scenic macabre Comments (0)