We stayed in the heart of Paris during our 9 days in France. We decided aginst renting a car, so we could take the underground train system wherever we wanted, and we were also able to visit the coast of France via car tour. Our first day in Paris was slightly overwhelming. Talk about sticking out like a sore thumb! We were dropped of (via Taxi cab) right in front of the Opera House. We spent a few minutes walking around before deciding we should probably drop our luggage off before taking on the full role of tourist. ;)
We took a day to visit the Palace of Versailles. This took most of our day mainly because of travel time, but also there was so much to see. The Architecture was astounding, as was the ornate detail. I honestly can't fathom what it would have been like to actually live in a palace like that. The only we thing that we didn't take the time to do was to tour the gardens. By the time we finished the inital tour, we were exhausted and headed back to the city for food. Funny thing? We met two other couples from Arkansas during the train ride to the palace. Small world!
We of course had to visit the Louvre, but it was closed to visitors that day. We toured the outside grounds, went underground (they have large windows where you can see some of the artwork), and then ate at the small cafe. It was a beautiful building. We thought about arranging another day to visit, but we had so many other locations to cover we decided against it.
I think the favorite part of the trip was visiting the Arc De Triomphe. We took our time getting there, as the area is a beautiful shopping district. We saw shops like Louis Vitton, Nespresso, and the like. We stopped for a Nespresso, and the little store was literally guarded at the front door. We had no idea how expensive the coffe would be! I think the barista took pity on us, and offered a sweet treat with the espresso. We ended up only ordering single shots, and boy were they powerful. When I say single shots, I mean literally single shots. No cream, no fluff. And each shot cost $7. We still laugh about that espresso to this day. To make for the lack of what us Americans consider "true coffee" we stopped at a nearby cafe and enjoyed traditional latte's, and pastries. We met a french woman who asked us what we had seen, where to go, etc. She also offered advice on where not to dine in order to avoid the high dollar tourist traps. We took her advice that evening and enjoyed a fun pizzeria!
Anyway, the Arc De Triomphe was just amazing to view from the streets. I didn't take enough pictures to capture it's grandeur in my opinion. Another neat thing that we learned, is that you can actually climb to the top! The views were breathtaking, and we waited for sunset to capture a few more pictures. It was worth all 1,336 steps. Okay, I'm exaggerating, but the climb was not for the faint of heart. There I am again, talking like an American. ;)
The view from the top!
As we headed back to our hotel, we decided to just walk the streets for a while. We folled the Eiffle Tower, and were able to watch it "dazzle" . It was magical!!!! <3
We hope to go back in a few years. I hope to see most of the same tourist sites, but I would also love to hunt down a few of the lesser known attractions. I would also love a day to just shop, and hunt down the quaint antique shops.