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To the city of light and love, Paris

Home -> City trips -> Paris -> Travelogue Paris -> 13 December 2013

Friday 13 December, to the city of light and love, Paris

HIt has been a while since we were on the road together and quite impulsively we book a hotel for a few days in Paris, a city where Elisabeth has never been before. In 3 days we take as many photos as on some other trips of a week and it has taken some time to make a good selection and it is inevitable that we also show many standard pictures, such as the Eiffel Tower, that wasz one thing we really could not ignore.
Eiffel tower in the fogWe leave around 9 o'clock from our hometown Groningen and the navigation leads us nicely to the Mövenpick Hotel Paris Neuill where we arrive at a quarter past 3. Around Paris it is always important that you take the right turns, but all in all the traffic is not too bad. We park the car in the parking garage and check in where we are served by the hotel staff in impeccable English. But I want to practice my French so they switch back to French just as easily. For me a little less easy, but I can manage, I always liked the French language. We quickly bring our luggage to the room, from where we have a misty view on the Eifel tower and quickly go outside again.
It seems that Paris is the most popular tourist destination in the world and even the smallest travel guide lists dozens of sights. Of course we can never see all of them in 3 days, so we have made a short list for ourselves and have drawn a map of them. From experience we have learned that we never succeed to see everything we want in such a short time, but we will do our best without racing too much, after all it is a holiday.
Mural in Paris Mural in ParisWe would like to see something of this immense city today and taste a bit of the atmospehre.
On the way to the nearest metro station we come across this beautiful mural that looks lifelike, especially the front stairs where you would like to sit on. In the coming days we will see many more of these types of decorations that are generally very realistic and appear as 3D.
Mural in Paris Beggar in ParisA bit further we see a boy and a girl hanging out of a window and from a distance it looks like they are really there. Only when we are closer it turns out to also be a painting. In addition to city of light and love, Paris is certainly the city of art. There is probably no city in the world where so many famous (and less famous) artists have lived like Paris. But even the graffiti is an art form here.
Waiting for the subway Place de l'OpéraAt the subway station we see the first beggars, another thing that belongs to Paris, we will see a lot of them the coming days. After we have bought a 3-day ticket for the metro we get in and make us familiar with the metro lines. I love subways and have always made a sport of learning the various lines by heart. We have made a map with all kinds of places that we want to see and now get off at Opera station first.
Galleries Lafayette Shopwindiows Galleries LafayetteIt is not yet 4 o'clock but it starts to twinkle as we step out onto the Opera Square with a view of the 19th century opera Garnier. From here we walk through the neighborhood, the 9th district.
In the 18th century this was the neighborhood where painters and sculptors went, now there are a lot of shops like the big shopping center Lafayette that prepares for Christmas but also many streets with small, grubby shops. And it's crowded everywhere!
Shopwindiows Galleries Lafayette Dome Galleries LafayetteIn 1893 a small shopping center was opened at Rue de la Fayette, but now it is a large department store, and part of a whole chain. Now the building is also a monument, but that probably applies to half of all buildings in the center of the city. The shop windows are beautifully decorated in a colorful way and present a nostalgic Christmas atmosphere.
Shopping center Lafayette Shopping center LafayetteInside, the department store is much more impressive than on the outside. There are 10 floors and part of it is open to the top with a gigantic glass dome. Especially for Christmas, a Christmas tree has been set up that is at least 10 meters high. We go to the top floor where we have an unobstructed view of the city and have something to eat in one of the many restaurants out there.
The price is surprisingly normal for such a luxury place, we expected it to be much more expensive.
Mövenpick hotel roomThen we walk around for another hour in the neighborhood but all the shops are closing, so we go back to the metro. We occasionally step out to get a brief impression of the Paris, but we will continue to do so tomorrow. In the subway we get a elaborate speech from a vagabond but I cannot follow his rapid French, but it was undoubtedly very interesting because some people give him money. Or to shut him up.
We have come to Paris quite unprepared, but we are especially interested in taking in the atmosphere and will be happy to see a few things. Fortunately, Paris has an extensive metro network, because if we had to walk everything, our feet wouldn't survive. We will see tomorrow and the day after tomorrow what we will be able to see and visit and if we really miss things we will have to come back again. But now we go back o the hotel and we do not go to bed too late to get a good night sleep.


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