Sunday, 17 July 2011

honeymoon part 2: Paris

When we made it off the train in to Paris I was far more relaxed. there were no more possible delays, our only remaining transport was in the hands of eurostar and dear old British rail. We found our way out to the worlds longest taxi queue, which also wins the award for worlds fastest moving taxi queue. We went on a hairpin backstreet one way street ride to our flat in the 3ieme which was a tiny tiny studio, with amazing use of space. seriously, go look.

We were there for 5 days, and we did a lot of walking, even after we bought 5 day passes to the metro. They are well worth the money, get one if you go. is the first time I've done much travelling on public transport on holiday, I've not felt particularly safe on them before, but this was fine.

We passed Notre Dame several times on our wanders, impressive inside and out but so swamped by tourists that we never spent long there. The first of my dreams to visit viewpoints and take photos from high up, crushed cruelly by large queues of chinese tourists. dreams aside, it was a beautiful building inside. amazing

We happened to wander to the arc de triomphe just as they were raising this massive French flag.

On morning we went up to Montmartre, made it up to the hill to Notre Dame, to see the early morning views over the city. Just in time, also, for a frenchman to get his head in my photo.

We'd read about the insitut du monde arabe being one of the great free viewpoints of the city, and we managed to find it one day. its an amazing building, the whole side below is glass fronted, and split into panels. Within each panel are hundreds of contracting mechanisms which control the amount of sunlight going into the building. just as stunning from inside when you can see the mechanisms.

Theres a cafe at the top too, when you reach the free view!

I built a journey around going to this metro station, since I had seen it on Little Brown Pen. It was redesigned in a steampunk style based around Jules Vernes work. Absolutely amazing, its clad in copper, the seats are wood, and every so often there are portholes in the wall with museum artefacts in from the arts et metiers museum above it.

We went on one of the boat tours up the Seine. you can hop on and off all day, but we just did one long course of the river, starting just before Notre Dame and going to the Eiffel Tower. James enjoyed it for seeing the underside of the bridges, odd man, and I enjoyed all the views.

These last two are from the tuileries gardens, and one of the old shopping arcades that have been restored. 

I loved Paris, and I'm glad I've been, but I didn't find it as amazing as it always sounds. If I went back, I think I'd go with friends, and do different things. I'd like to see the massive Monets in the orangerie, and wander and drink coffee and not feel the compulsion to have to see everything. We went to the eiffel tower three times thinking we might go up, and every time the queues were horrendous. so I have lots of pictures from the bottom, but none from any level above that. We went at night once though, as very hour the whole tower lights up like a sparkler for 3 minutes. that was worth seeing.

(what a misery I sound! I did love it, it just wasnt earth shatteringly, mind blowingly awesome. And I'd rather be honest)


  1. You're allowed not to be blown away by places. Although returning to sit and people watch while eating cake sounds like a good plan (notice I'm just inviting myself along for this trip). It looks like you had an amazing tour none the less.

  2. I feel *exactly* the same about Paris. I would happily sit and people watch while eating cake though, in almost any city! Glad it was a good time though.

  3. Totally agree about Paris. Its the land of milk and honey for most of blog land- and I loved it but yes, wasnt blown away.

    Lovely pictures though!

  4. aww, I read this at the wrong time, we're going there for a week next month... though I am really looking forward to just being there and not at work lol. we'll have to compare notes when I get back :)

  5. Good to be honest! I am very much in love with Paris, but I think that has come from multiple visits there, and visiting with friends who have lived there etc - first time I went there was too much compulsion to do everything and see everything - now having been lots of times it makes it easier to wander and discover the less major sites. Insitut du monde arabe is amazing though isn't it?

  6. Yay to cafes at the top... I think all places should have that. Yeah I know what you mean about Paris... it is rather romanticised. If it helps, going up the tower is pretty scary – actually going up is fine, walking down is quite terrifying! By the time we reached the ground my legs would not stop shaking – and I'm not afraid of heights!

  7. Rhianne - don't worry, you will love it! I didn't not enjoy it, but it is over blogged and talked about, and I think I had higher expectations than I should have I think. It will help that you are a better photographer too, its a city best viewed through a lens I think.

    Becky - it was your posts of paris that made me want to go there, I would go there again and just wander I think. we also went to the crazy animal place because of you, that was amazing! I wish I had the guts to take photos in shops too, I never know when to ask!

    Zoe - I think I'm glad I didnt then, Im not good when I can see the ground below!

  8. Yeah I agree, Paris is wonderful but everyone does seem to totally totally love it all the time; I still prefer NYC but I would still def go back as there is always more to see.

    One time we walked up the first set of stairs of the tower, since the queue for the lift was horrendous but I wouldnt do it again, next time always the lift!

    The apartment does look so amazing though!

  9. I love Paris, but it was our first holiday together, so perhaps I love the memories most. We did the Eiffel Tower, and to be honest, it wasn't worth the queue. I wish we'd gone to Sacre Coeur instead. I'd also love to go back with friends and experience non-romantic Paris time!