I have a tiny snow globe with the eiffel tower inside that sits on my bookshelf at home, which I turn over every once in a while, with a small wish to visit someday. Yesterday alone with my backpack, camera, and map, I made it to the city of lights!
There is so so so so much to see, and I definitely could spend my entire 10 days in just Paris and still have more to see, but I made the most of my one day in the spectacularly stimulating city.
I decided to play the tourist with the Paris Open Hop On Hop Off bus and I am so glad I did. Well worth the money. The bus offers 4 different routes throughout the city that had stops that picked up and dropped off about every 10 minutes. I rode around, snapping photos and listening to the included audio guide, then stopped and walked around when there was something I wanted to see up close. I didn't have to scramble with the metro or city bus times and I was able to see so much of the city in such a short time! My anxieties about navigating this huge city by myself were abated, and I had an amazing time exploring the city and visiting places I have seen captured in photos in my French textbooks.
I have so many photos to share, and I will try my best to comment along the way. Here goes!
My tour bus began at Le Gare Montparnasse, the train station where I came in from Angers.
|First glimpse of the tower, from Les Invalides, the army museum|
|Grand Palais museum.|
|Paris Opera, Le Palais Garnier and L'Academie de Naionale Musique|
Every building in Paris is beautiful. Even just a bank!
There are so many little cafes with outdoor seating underneath buildings. They are everywhere.
"To err is human. To loaf is Parisian. -Victor Hugo"
L'eglise de la Madeline, or the Madeline Church.
Au Printemps, one of Paris' most famous and fancy department stores.
Love those sunspots.
Then we drove under narrow arches that looked far too small for the bus and emerged on the grounds of Musée du Louvre. I have never seen a longer line for anything in my life and it was clear that visiting the museum is an entire day project. Like I said, Paris has so much to see and do, but I was taking the express route before heading back to Angers. So, I toured the grounds and waved hello to where I figured where the Mona Lisa hangs. Another time!
My bus came under one of those little arches!
"The best of America drifts to Paris. The American in Paris is the best American. -F. Scott Fitzgerald"
Institute de France and the Ponts des Arts
Apartments along the left bank.
The Pont des Arts bridge is also known as the love lock bridge for the padlocks that couples attach to the metal to symbolize their everlasting love.
|This building once was the Paris Orleans train station but is now an art museum.|
Louis Vuitton, Le Champs-Elysees, Paris. The real deal.
"Whoever does not visit Paris regularly will never really be elegant. -Honoré de Balzac"
L'Arc de Triomphe
"What an immense impression Paris made upon me. It is the most extraordinary place in the world! -Charles Dickens"
I hopped in the smallest line, which was of course stairs only. I would rather not be shoved in an elevator with 30 sweaty fellow tourists, thank you very much.
"In Paris they simply stared when I spoke to them in French; I never did succeed in making those idiots understand their own language. -Mark Twain"
The stairs are numbered as you climb and there are 669 to the second floor. After that the summit is only accessible by elevator.
"I love Paris when it sizzles. -Cole Porter"
Windy view from the top!
I thought the way the branches fell made them look like a heart around the tower! Yes?
Église du Dôme, the private royal church part of Les Invalides.
My tour bus, aka my savior.
National Assembly and government buildings.
The National Assembly.
A narrow alley of shops along St. Germain
Cathédral Notre Dame
Dozens of little pop up shops line the sidewalk along the Sienne. I was tempted by the old books and art prints, but resisted.
"A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of Life. -Thomas Jefferson"
I knew that while I was in the area I wanted to check out Shakespeare and Company. It's an English language bookstore in the Latin Quarter of Paris (note the delicious contradiction of cultures). The bookstore famous for its famous author patrons who stayed there, like Henry Miller and Allen Ginsberg, tucked on a bed upstairs surrounded by books. Ernest Hemingway featured the store in his novel about Paris, A Moveable Feast as the store existed in this budding artistic area during the writers of Lost Generation like Hemingway, Stein, Eliot, Pound, Joyce and Fitzgerald. AH!!!!!
"You can’t escape the past in Paris, and yet what’s so wonderful about it is that the past and present intermingle so intangibly that it doesn’t seem to burden. -Allen Ginsberg"
A message from the owner George Whitman passing on the store to his daughter.
Lastly, I made it to le Jardin du Luxembourg, a gorgeous garden and palace with chairs to sit and read next to the gorgeous flowers or under the shade of a tree.
The palace was constructed in 1612 by the widow of Henry IV, Marie de Medici.
Little boats to rent in the fountain.
Paris Sorbonne University, just down the road where I grabbed some dinner to go.
Thank you Paris! Thank you for letting nothing chaotic or nerve racking happen to me while I was alone navigating your busy streets. Thank you for showing me so many of your treasures and never letting me get lost.
It was a busy day and I spent most of today recovering, sitting in a lovely park in Angers by the house, before I am off to Versailles very early tomorrow morning.
"...Wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast." Ernest Hemingway.