|Strolling along the Seine – In Paris there are artists (and students like these ones) Everywhere.|
It’s been quite a while since I left off our Tour Daze France adventures but if you recall, we had just made it to Paris and settled in to our lovely hotel.
As Andrew and I have been to Paris a couple of times now, the four of us decided to split up and do our own thing for part of the time. On our first day, Bill and Helen decided to attack the Louvre. Where did Andrew and I go? Well, we went to the sewer.
Let me say first that this was entirely Andrew’s idea (one which I will never let him live down). Les Egouts, the Paris sewers, are an engineering marvel and have their very own museum. However in true Parisian style, this is not a sanitised (pardon the pun) version for the tourists. The museum is actually underground in part of a working sewer.
How was it? Well, it could have been interesting – if it didn’t smell like a sewer and if I wasn’t constantly conscious that the water rushing below the grid under my feet wasn’t… well sewer water.
|The Museé d’Orsay was once a train station.|
If you are interested in sanitation or engineering (and you have a strong stomach or no sense of smell) I’d recommend this little tour, otherwise, Google the sewers at home to read about how marvellous they are and stroll the Parisian streets above ground instead.
After what turned out to be a quick trip to Les Egouts we decided to head across town to the Aquarium. If it’s your first trip to Paris and you don’t have a lot of time, again I’d say give this a miss (unless you have small kids who need a break from the galleries). It was nice enough, but not very big and a couple of hours there was plenty.
In an ironic twist, we had a great sushi lunch near the aquarium in a little hole in the wall place. I’ll try not to over-analyse that one too much…
|Bill examines the art|
One thing I should mention – if you are planning a trip to Paris and want to do a lot of the galleries and museums, the Paris Museum Pass is really worth it. There are only a few places not included and the convenience of not having to stand in the monster lines is more than worth the cost. We flew past huge lines at Versailles, the musée d’Orsay and Helen and Bill got into the Louvre with ease. I also didn’t have to feel too bad about the sewer tour, since we didn’t have to pay any extra for it with the pass.
That evening we met up with the folks for supper. I’ve learned to trust restaurants recommended by hotels, as the hotel is staking its reputation on the food they recommend. So we picked up one of the cards in the lobby and popped around the corner to Le Jardin d’Artemis. We weren’t disappointed. There is a lot of mediocre to bad food in Paris if you don’t know where to go. But you can also get fantastic food relatively inexpensively – this was thankfully on the wonderful side.
|Bill’s Birthday Boat Bonanza|
The next day was a family day. After breakfast at a nearby bakery we headed back toward the Seine. We found a great little market along the way and stopped to check out the wares. In retrospect I should have bought a scarf or five as they were the prettiest ones I saw in Paris, but you live and learn.
After that little detour we made our way to the Musee d’Orsay. This is definitely in my Museum top five. It is stunning. The building, the presentation – everything is beautifully done. We spent the rest of the afternoon seeing as much as we could. The highlights for me are always the impressionists and I loved the Art Nouveau gallery.
|Andrew and I on the cruise|
After we had all the art we could handle, we headed back to the hotel for our big night on the town. It was Halloween – and Bill’s birthday.
Now as far as I’m concerned Paris is a pretty great place to spend you birthday anyway, but we wanted to make sure it was ultra memorable.
We all got gussied up and headed into the city centre. We boarded a tour bus to see some of the city lights and head to our first stop – a night time boat cruise on the Seine. Well, in all honesty we were a bit disappointed with the boat. It was huge and there were tons of people but Paris is beautiful at night nonetheless. The highlight was seeing the light show at the Eiffel Tower as we returned to the dock.
|Twinkle twinkle little tower|
There we boarded the bus again and headed to the Moulin Rouge. This is one of those things that you do once, check off your list and probably never do again. Our experience was dampened by the poor organisation to get into the theatre. We had to stand outside on the sidewalk in a non-existent line in the cold. It was chaos.
It wasn’t much better when we got inside. There is no prearranged seating and we ended up in the very back corner. The only upside was that we had a table to ourselves.
|The Mathesons do Paris|
Once the show got started it was alright. We had our champagne and could relax a bit. The show itself is hokey as all get-out – but that’s the point really. The costumes (what little there are of them) are totally over the top. The ‘singing’ is Celine Dion meets a bad Broadway show – but it’s fun. The acrobats make up for the bad musical numbers
and the show overall is a fun time.
We got back to the hotel well past our collective bedtimes and slept soundly that night.
I’ll continue with our Paris adventure next time …
- Tour Daze France Part 1 – Avignon and the South of France
- Tour Daze France Part 2 – The Costa Brava, Spain
- Tour Daze France Part 3 – Barcelona, Spain
- Tour Daze France Part 4 – The Pyrenees to Pau, France
- Tour Daze France Part 5 – Mont-St-Michel and Normandy
- Tour Daze France Part 6 – Giverny & Versailles
- Tour Daze France Part 7 – Paris
- Tour Daze France Part 8 – Paris-Amsterdam
- Tour Daze France Part 9 – Final Days