As most of you know from an older post, Chris and I got the chance to go to Rome for a week. However, at the last minute, we ended up with a full day in Paris between flights. How much can you do in Paris in one day? Well, actually a lot of you don't mind running and you don't get caught up in the details!
Our first excursion was through Gard du Nord. This is a huge train/subway/High Speed Rail station in Paris. Because we didn't really want to drag our suitcases all over Paris and we needed to take a train from Gard du Nord to our exit airport, we decided to store our luggage here. Easier said than done. I should mention that the station is about 5 or so levels, 3 below ground and two above. Or maybe that was two underground and three above, I forget right now. Anyways, after a nice 2 hour excursion inside the station, we found where to store the luggage and headed out. By the way, if you need a tour guide for this station, I am willing to offer my services. After 2 and a half hours, I have a pretty good handle on the layout. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture.
First thing, we headed out to the Eiffel tower. It was cool and rainy, but that didn't slow us down at all.
Here is the base of the tower. I was amazed at how large it actually was. I'm not sure what I had in mind, but since it was originally build for an exposition and meant to be temporary, I was expecting it to be smaller. I think Chris was also because before we left, he ask me if I wanted to walk to the top. He was pretty gung-ho until he read online that it has 1631 steps to the top. We took the elevator.
Parisians initially hated the Eiffel Tower. They wanted it removed because it messed up the skyline. However, when they realized how popular it was and how much tourism it could generate, they embraced it wholeheartedly. It is the most visited paid monument in the world.
It was also a great way to see the city and I imagine that the view would have been even better at night. However, we didn't have a night in Paris. When our flight left at 9:30 p.m., the sun had not fully set and it was still light out. Here's Chris and I. If you know how much he hates pictures, you will be amazed at the amount I got of him on this trip!
From the Tower, we caught a boat ride down the Seine River.
I absolutely love French Architecture! I kept taking pictures of buildings and when we got home, some friends ask, "What's this building?". The only answer I had was, "I don't know, but doesn't it look cool?". It was something about all the windows. I'm sure that window washers make a fortune in that city!
Our next stop was Notre Dame. Actually, before we headed inside, we were starved and wondered around until we found this cafe whose specialty was tarts. (I had a savory one of spinach and goat cheese and a sweet one of dark and white chocolate. Yum!) Imagine our surprise when we discovered that the owners were Chinese! They were equally surprised when we spoke Chinese.
This is a side view of the church taken from across the river.
This is the entryway. I secretly wish that all churches today were still built like this.
I mean, who wouldn't want to worship under stain glass windows?
After this, we headed to the Louvre. Our sole intent was to see the Mona Lisa and then head back out to the city. However, we got lost in the museum. We were on the ground floor and could not find an exit that was not sealed off! After about 30 minutes of wondering and following endless signs that said, "Sortie!" (Exit), we found ourselves in the underground mall. There I found an awesome tea shop called "Mariage Freres". I have had their tea at a French restaurant here in Taiwan and absolutely love it. I left with some French Breakfast Tea.
From the mall, we hopped the subway back to Gard du Nord, picked up our luggage and rode a train an hour north to a little city of Beauvais. There we caught our plane to Rome. It was really nice to be able to see the countryside somewhat from the train. Each town the train stopped in seemed to be small hamlets or villages. If we would have had time, it would have been great to just jump off the train at one of the stops and just explore.
Our next stop: Roma Italia!
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