Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Paris, je t'aime

Breaky on the train

Sunday morning we woke up early and made our way to St. Pancras station to catch the train to Paris.  It was great!  We had to check in half an hour before the train left, we ate breaky on the train as we thundered through England, under the English Channel and through France to arrive in Paris in just over 2 hours. Already at the main train station, we jumped on the metro and were at our hostel about 20 minutes later. Yup, you heard right.. hostel! Somehow I convinced ($$) Mom to book the same hostel Jeanine and I stayed in on our trip in October.  It is in a great location, just out of the city in the Montmartre area, and the price was right!! We had a 3 person private room, so it was like a very basic, slightly squishy, cheap hotel.
Near our hostel, Moulin Rouge

We dropped off our bags and set out to hike up Montmartre and check out Sacre Coeur. We walked past the cimitiere de Montmartre, about 55 acres of family crypts and famous graves.  Through the cobble streets, past old windmills, vineyards and cabarets up to Sacre Coeur - the basilica built in memory of the 58 000 dead of the Franco-Prussian War. We each had a delicious ham, cheese and tomato crepe before heading back to the hostel to check in.

On the night river cruise

Once it started to get dark, we made our way toward the city to take a boat ride on the Seine. We boarded right by Pont Neuf and had about an hour ride on the Seine seeing all of the main attractions all lit up.  It was a nice night, chilly but dry.  I would definitely recommend taking the boat trip (it was recommended to me) and I also highly suggest taking it at night, love seeing all of the monuments lit up.

View from the boat

 Monday morning we met for the free walking tour that I had also done in October.  I always check to see if a city offers a free walking tour before going, they are a great way to get a quick history and glimpse of all the main sights. Also a good way to get oriented.
After the walking tour it started to rain. We quickly ran up to l'Arc the Triomphe and over to Notre Dame so that we could see them up close.  Back toward the hostel for some eats while we waited for the sun to go down again. Then we bundled up and headed to the Eiffel Tower! We watched the light show from Trocadero Square then wandered over through the rain to venture up to the top... the very top! Unreal heading up into the sky knowing this monument was built in 1889! Built for the World Fair it was supposed to be dismantled after 20 years, but since the engineer cleverly planted a radio antennae on top and built a radio station below, it got to stay. And for that I am thankful, because it is amazing!
Tuesday we packed up our things then went to see a couple things before heading back to London.  Since the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays, we decided to check out the Conciergerie.  This served as a prison and torture chamber for more than five centuries! Many notables were locked up here awaiting trial and execution, including Marie Antoinette.


Bye bye Paris!
After this jolly excursion, we did got some souvenirs before grabbing lunch and getting ready to grab the train back to London. Another lovely trip to Paris. This has probably become one of my favorite cities and I really want to visit in the late spring/summer to really see it in bloom, I can only imagine how beautiful it will be!

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