And a sunny day of sight seeing :)
30.12.2012 - 01.01.2013 7 °C
Well our first full day in Paris was absolutely gorgeous! The sun was out as we strolled along the streets of Montmartre and down past the Opera house to find some breakfast. We stopped at a little patisserie and had coffee and croissants and tried very hard to remember to order in French and say merci instead of thankyou. After sitting and people watching for a while, we headed down to the start of the Champs-Élysées. There were lots of little Christmas stalls at the start with lots of tempting waffles and chocolates and these all of a sudden turned into beautiful big white buildings housing brands like Versace and Burberry and even Ferrari, with the flash cars parked in the display windows. They obviously take a lot more care to keep this area of Paris clean as there was a lot less rubbish on the sidewalks and the buildings looked less 'well worn'. At the end of the Champs-Élysées is the imposing Arc De Triomphe, a huge archway in the middle of a ridiculously busy roundabout. The air is filled with the sound of car horns of people attempting to exit the roundabout and camera flashes from all the tourists standing around watching, not to mention the music of buskers taking advantage of those tourists. We walked down under the street to come up right underneath the Arc de Triomphe and take some more photos looking down the streets branching off and to watch the crazy traffic for a while before heading back down the other side of the Champs-Élysées to take a closer look at the Grande Palais and the Petite Palais.
After photos of these we headed towards the river so that we could walk past all the stunning bridges and managed to find one where couples come with a lock that they have written their names on and clip it to the bridge for good luck. We stopped for lunch along the way and after that headed onto the little island that houses Notre Dame. The line up to get inside was crazy long so we were there for a while but it was worth it to see those stained glass windows again. Didn't see the hunchback though which was disappointing
Being in here did make us frustrated with tourists again though as it very clearly has pictures everywhere to be quiet and no flash photography but there were heaps of people just talking and laughing and flashing away like they couldn't care less that they were in a church. Grrrrr......
After Notre Dame we walked back to our hotel for a rest before heading back out to find dinner. Ended up at a little diner type place where I had a Camembert baguette... Sooo good!! Back home then for an early night in preparation for our early morning to line up for the Louvre.
We arrived there at 8:30 the next morning expecting a bit of a line but certainly not the one we were faced with! Luckily it was moving pretty quickly so we were soon out of the freezing cold wind and marvelling at all the art work and relics. My favourite section was the same as the last time I came - the Egyptian part It also still amazes me how crowds of people rush past all these beautiful pieces, crowd up so close that they are being crushed and pushed around, just to get a glimpse of the Mona Lisa. On the wall opposite it is a beautiful piece called the wedding supper which would be about 5m x 4m and is incredibly intricate but no one looks at that because they're all looking at the ugly chick in a tiny frame opposite it. Makes no sense to me.
After we had spent a good part of the day at the Louvre we headed back home to have a rest so that we could make it to midnight! I can never sleep during the day so I did some washing and read a book and finally we all got dressed up at about 8pm and headed out to a restaurant near our place for dinner before climbing the steps to get to Sacre-Couer, where we had been promised beautiful views of the fireworks that go off along the Champs-Élysées and the lights display on the Eiffel Tower. We got there - bit before 10 and there were already lots of people so we found a spot next to an English speaking group of 4 Americans and 1 Canadian and they were so much fun and shared their umbrellas with us, as it was raining pretty heavy by 11pm, and we played games and chatted and the time passed a lot quicker than I was expecting. They had heard about the 'awesome lights display' as well but when it came midnight all we could see was the Tower sparking (which it does every hour at night anyway) and then some fireworks which were so far in the distance we couldn't even hear them.... Needless to say, a big disappointment, but we all decided that at least we certainly wouldn't forget this New Years Eve! So we said our goodbyes to our new friends and marched back through the rain and the crowds to our hotel where we have slept in till about 10am and are just dragging ourselves out of bed for another day in Paris
Hope everyone back home had an exciting night and I'm looking forward to seeing you all in 2013!!