February 2022 - Paris - Day 2
Young Parisians are so French
Today was the day we set aside to visit Paris which meant that we were again in breakfast for 7.45am. The food was as good, but the restaurant was not quite as busy as the day before.
There was no drama today once we boarded the shuttle and everyone (mainly) me had remembered everything that was needed for the day. The plan was to travel into Paris together but then go our separate ways to visit different places.
We were unsure what tickets we should buy at the station and ended up purchasing 1 day City visitors pass and hope that would provide best value. The journey in was straight forward.
Barry & Ellie had plans to go to the very top of the Eiffel Tower and we thought we should at least see it whilst we were in Paris, so that was our first destination. We had to change lines a couple of times but made it.
As we came out in the daylight we were surprised by some lovely blue sky. We walked the short distance to the Tower and parted as Barry & Ellie went through security to get the tickets for their ascent. We walked to the front of the Tower and then across the road to take some obligatory photos.
We had booked a free walking tour of Paris in advance, but as the weather was so good, we decided to cancel that and have a guided boat trip along the Seine which is something we had never done. The cost was 18 Euros each. We sat at the back of the open-air top deck and Karen even took her coat off as the sun was out.
The trip was really good. We learnt a fair bit (the Eiffel Tower was first painted red for a while, then red, then blue and for now brown). We saw buildings we had not seen along with learning some history. The tour took us just past the Notre Dame before it turned around and lasted a hour.
Walking back to the RER station we came upon a small café with a row of tables in the sun and some heaters on the walls as well. We knew the prices would be exorbitant but went for it anyway. I had a croque monsieur for my lunch whilst Karen had an omelette. They were adequate but the setting was fantastic, but I closed my eyes when I paid the bill which was 3 x what I thought the food was worth. How often though do we get to have lunch though on the streets of Paris?
From the RER station we caught the train back to the Notre Dame to take a closer look at the fire ravaged building. To be honest there was not a lot to see. Apparently, it will take 7 years to complete the renovations.
We then headed on foot to the Pantheon walking past the Sorbonne in the Latin Quarter. When we were almost there, Karen allowed me to take a slight detour to see the main square featured in the Netflix series ‘Emily in Paris’. I know it’s a girly rom com, but I have really enjoyed the 2 series so far. It has developed a cult following. The small but perfectly square has in it the apartment where Emily is living, Gabriel’s restaurant (called Terra Nova in real life) and the boulangerie. It is all very pretty. We were not the only ones to find it as there were a constant steady stream of other people doing the same thing, including one girl who had to tried to dress like Emily in the show and wanted to be filmed eating a pastry outside the apartment building.
Moving on we walked the 200m to the Pantheon. Now I must admit we were not 100% certain what it was, but it was certainly an impressive looking building. Reading the information on my phone it seemed it contained the graves of people like Victor Hugo & Marie Curie. Karen persuaded me that it would be worth the 11 euros entrance fee. We joined a queue and waited and waited and waited. Nothing moved apart from when other people ahead of us got fed up and left the queue. I could now see through the entrance door and could see another large queue inside. After 15 minutes I had had enough, and we left the queue much to Karen’s annoyance. Not only was I fed up with the wait with no information being given out, but I also had a suspicion that the entrance fee included a guided tour of the building which would of course be in French and to us ignorant Brits useless.
So instead, we walked along the avenue and headed to the Jardin du Luxembourg. These were a real surprise. The gardens sat in front of a palace where the French Senate sat. Overlooking the Grand Basin (boating lake) was a small café which had a takeaway. Karen purchased a couple of hot drinks which we drank as we sat and people watched.
Whilst having our drinks I read that somewhere in the park there was the scale model that was used for the building of the statue of liberty, so we decided to walk round the park to find it.
The Park was being well used by locals. We stood and watched lots of older chaps playing pentanque. Their accuracy at taking out shots that were winning by landing directly on top of them was quite amazing.
Eventually we found the 12ft statue of liberty, which was not sign posted at all. As we took a photo, a few other people stopped as well after obviously walking around trying to find it as well. It’s as though the French regret their gift of the full scale version now.
Just as we were leaving the park, we saw a large crowd had gathered around the edge of the Grand Basin. Curious, we wandered over and found they were filming a scene for a movie. There must have been about 30 people behind the camera with all the paraphernalia of a production company. We have no idea what they were filming as everyone was speaking French, although we did recognise the word ‘Action’ that the director shouted just in front of us. We watched what was a long scene before everything stopped. What amused me was watching the extras being told when to walk in front of the cameras to become passer-by’s to the main scene.
Bravely we then thought we would walk the 1 mile back to Les Halle’s, rather than finding a Metro or RER station and travelling perhaps just one stop. We are glad we did as we walked through a beautiful part of Paris in what I now assume to be Saint-Germane. It was a shame we had already eaten as there were some lovely looking restaurants and we said on our next visit we would definitely stop here for food.
Eventually we arrived at Les Halle’s just as Karen’s feet were starting to hurt. The direct train back was busy to start with but gradually emptied out.
We decided to eat now at Downtown Disney rather than going back to the hotel and then coming out again. As it was just the two of us, we settled upon The Earl of sandwich again. This time I had a hot Roast Beef Sandwich whilst Karen had a Pizza. They were both very acceptable.
Whilst there we got a message from Barry to let us know they were already back at the hotel as Ellie was not feeling great, which was a shame for them both. Ellie had bought herself some food to take back with her, but Barry was unsure of our plans and had waited in case we wanted to go out again. So, we got her a takeaway sandwich and took it back to him.
Barry came and ate his food in our room to allow Ellie to try and get some sleep. I think we have worn her out with our quite intense scheduling. I know how tired I am with all the travelling and exploring and I am supposedly used to it. I think we forget how much hard work a Clare Family holiday can be. They had however managed to pack an awful lot into their and thoroughly themselves going to the highest point in Paris (the top of the Eiffel Tower) and the lowest point in Paris (the catacombs) and places in-between.
It was on balance another good day.