Tour Daze France Part 7 – Paris

By - January 9, 2007 (Updated: October 19, 2015)

This entry is part 7 of 9 in the series Tour Daze France 2006.
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 …

Read more from this series...

If you like this, you might like:

Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
It's after Halloween so I can officially share Christmas Markets now right...? 🎄🎅 - 1 week ago


  1. Comment by Di

    Di January 9, 2007 at 23:25

    Dank u wel, have sent this to friends who want to see Paris 🙂

  2. Comment by Alison

    Alison January 10, 2007 at 09:26

    Di – I’ll try to get to part 2 for you soon. You should really send them to our hotel though… it’s fantastic and if they want to do galleries, by all means get the museum pass.

  3. Comment by expatraveler

    expatraveler January 11, 2007 at 17:09

    I’ve been to Musee D’Orsay so that is good to know that it is in the top. This is sort of good info to know since I’ve been to Paris three times and I know what P likes now too.. But convincing him to visit is a different story!
    And yes – that commerical on the toilet contest was just wrong! 😉 thanks for stopping by.

Comments are closed.

Go top