June 11, 2016
We spent the majority of our day traveling on various forms of transportation. Our Paris City Pass gave us a one day pass for a bus and boat tour of the city, so that’s what we did. After our 45 minute metro ride into the city center from our hotel in Zone 2, we hopped on a bus that took us around to some of the major monuments of the city. It wasn’t as informative or interesting as I may have hoped, but it did allow us the chance to get our bearings about us in this new city. We decided to get off near the National Opera and then got some pre-lunch macaroons. I had a raspberry one, arguably the best one I’ve ever had. We walked around for a little while looking for a place to eat and settled on an Italian restaurant where I got a huge four cheese pizza. Much bigger than expected, but very yummy.
Notre Dame was our next stop on our “grand tour” of the city. (There is no way that we can possibly see everything that I would want to here in just two days.) Notre Dame is an absolutely beautiful cathedral. It is dark and quiet inside and has lots of beautiful stain glass windows. I would say that this is now my second favorite church that we have seen, second to St. Paul’s.
After Notre Dame we set off to take our boat tour, which departs from the Seine right in front of the Eiffel Tower. En route to the Tower we ran into a group of Irish gents on the train who were headed in the same direction. They were some of the many international tourists in town for the Euro 2016 soccer tournament. We decided to hang out with them for a while, and mostly stood around talking about the differences between our cultures under the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.
We parted ways about an hour later and decided that we were hungry again.
Dinner = fresh made crepes + nutella + strawberries + banana = delicious
We took our crepes down to the water and sat on the steps there. I was wearing my chacos today (of course), so I did actually get into the river for a few seconds. The cold water was quite refreshing for my tired feet.
The boat tour was our last major event today. This tour was much better than the bus tour, and we got to see many of the major monuments while sitting, avoiding the crowds, and staying off the dirty streets. The boat passed under 22 of the 32 bridges connecting the right bank and left bank of the Seine River, including the famous Love Lock Bridge. We started our tour at 8:30 and by the end of the ride the sun was beginning its descent and the lights of the city were starting to illuminate the Paris skyline. After the boat, we spent just a few more minutes taking touristy pictures of the Eiffel Tower in all its lit dusk glory.
An hour later, we are back at the hotel and winding down for the evening. Tomorrow we plan to explore the Louvre and possibly go up to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, since we didn’t have time to do that today. Our chunnel train leaves for London tomorrow evening at 9.
I am ready to go back to London. I am glad that I had the opportunity to come here, and that I am now able to say that I have seen some of the world’s most recognizable landmarks, but overall, I would say that my trip to Paris has been relatively disappointing. Don’t get me wrong, it has been great and it has had its beautiful parts, but it wasn’t what I thought it would be. London is a much cleaner and kinder city, and seeing Paris gives me even more reason to fall in love with England and its culture.