Thursday, June 13, 2013

Paris, France

June 13, 2013 7:30 PM—Paris

We left Luxembourg this morning bound for Paris. The train we took left Luxembourg at 6:40 AM so we got to Paris just before 9 AM, which meant we had the whole day ahead of us. It felt like we gained an extra day. So when we arrived we came to our hotel to leave our bags and started exploring the city.

We started our tour with the Sacre Coeur or the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. This basilica is on the highest hill in the entire city so we climbed the countless steps to get to the base of it. From there we got a pretty good view of the city. And because it's up on this hill it is also easy to see from many vantage points in the city.

Once we finished seeing the basilica up on the hill we took the metro to the Arc de Triumph across the city. We wanted to go the top so we climbed the spiral staircase to the viewing platform at the top. From there I felt like I could really see everything. We got a great view of the Champs Elysees, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame, the Sacre Coeur, and many other landmarks in the city. When we came back down to the bottom we also took a look at the tomb of the unknown solider.

Champs Elysees

Sacre Coeur

After the Arc de Triumph we took a walk down to the river to see the Eiffel Tower. We didn't actually cross the river or go to the top of the tower, but we looked at it from a bit of a distance. Once we saw the Eiffel Tower we again hopped on the metro and took it to the end of the Champs Elysees where the Orangerie Museum is. At this point we decided to go into a small cafe and eat lunch. Afterwards we went in the museum. This museum houses Monet's water lily murals. Monet had many water lily paintings (over 200 of them, in fact), but these, I believe, may have been his largest. There were 8 of them and they took up two full rooms because they were each the full length of the wall. At first I didn't really like them, because you had to use a lot of imagination but then I noticed that they are the type of paintings that look better from a distance.

Today was a day with a lot of on and off rain showers, so after we went to the Orangerie we gave up for the day and took the metro back to our hotel. Since I have been to Paris twice before I was really skeptical of this stop on the trip. Previously I had been unimpressed with this city, however, I had never actually spent the night here before, so I wanted to give it another chance. Although this trip may change my perspective. I'm not so much saying that some of the this city's main attractions are growing on me or that the people are getting nicer, but I'm starting to discover some of the hidden gems that I didn't have time to notice before. For one thing, this city has so many museums and even though I haven't been in many of them, they look like amazing museums. I think you could find a museum about almost anything you wanted here. I also really like our hotel. It is the definition of a hole in the wall, but its perfect. From the outside it doesn't look like much at all. Even in the front hallway it is unimpressive, but once we got up to our room I was very pleased. The room is pretty much the exact opposite of the hotel's outward appearance. I also love it for the simple fact that it isn't mad expensive like most other places in this city.

Anyway, tomorrow we are still in Paris. We are planning to go down to the Louvre and Notre Dame as well as some other sites in that part of the city. We'll see if Paris can continue to change my mind.

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