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Never have I been fortunate enough to win anything in a lottery or contest, but this year I kind of hit the jackpot! By entering in an "e-quiz" on the Web, organized by Air France, and having answered three questions right, I won a long weekend to the City of Light, Paris. August 23, we boarded the plane for our trip to Paris! As soon as I found out that we would be going to Paris I rushed to the library to get load of books and travel guides. But not only did I raid the library, I also surfed the Web to find the "must sees". Click here, here, here, here, or here to find out more about Paris.
We soon found out that, besides a good map, you foremost need lots of Money and Patience: money, because Paris is very expensive, even more expensive than London, and patience, because you dont only share Paris with the millions of Parisians, but also with busloads of tourists. Let me give you an example: we spent over one hour in a queue to buy a ticket to see the Eiffel Tower (at a payment of 10 euros) and then another fifteen minutes before we could get into the elevator.
When we arrived at the airport Charles de Gaulle, we got on the Air France bus to the centre of Paris (excellent service, by the way) and luckily the bus stop was right in front of our hotel, Le Meridien Etoile, a beautiful, modern hotel, located close to the Arc de Triomphe. We had anticipated to stay in a standard room, but no, we got a very posh room on executive level, the Club President, for which we needed a special key in the elevator, and last but not least with a view of the Eiffel Tower as well. A room like that would normally not quite fit into our budget.
We were most fortunate with the weather: clear blue sky and a very nice temperature. Perfect weather to discover Paris on foot. And thats what we did: in three days we managed to walk over thirty kilometres. And I have to agree with you, when you say we could have seen more of Paris if we had taken the subway, but by walking I think you see more of the other Paris, not just the tourist sites, but also the people living in the city. Anyway, we did take the subway the last day of our visit, to Montmartre and the Sacré Coeur, but that was simply because our feet ached so much, unbelievable huh *grin*.
What did we see in Paris? Of course, the Arc de Triomphe. You dont need to go there for the museum, but you have to go for the spectacular view from the top. We couldnt be in Paris and not going to see the Eiffeltoren (oh, the elevator was really scary!), but again the view is fantastic. We strolled along the Champs dElysees, watching people and shops and had lunch at Planet Hollywood, very French indeed *grin*. We walked all the way to Place de la Concorde, where almost three thousand people got beheaded by guillotine during the French Revolution, among them Louis XVI and Mary-Antoinette. Then we went through the Tuileries Gardens, with its horrible contemporary art objects to the Louvre.
I, especially, wanted to go to the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa, and that was a big disappointment: it isnt a big painting at all, and it isnt very beautiful either. I did, however, very much like the apartments of Napoleon III, although he must have been a lover of red plush, a bit too much to my taste anyhow. By the way, if you want to visit a lot of museums in Paris, get yourself a museumpass, you'll get discounts on entrance fees.
If your feet are really tired it might be a good idea to take a boat trip on the River Seine and if you don't want to walk, but still see a lot, here, too, you'll find hop-on hop-off busses.
We also visited Notre Dame Cathedral, but we didnt go in because the queue was extremely long and we didnt want to wait another hour again. So we went to the Sacré Coeur instead, and the lines there were not too long. Unfortunately, the Dome was closed, but the view from the staircases in front of the church was beautiful enough. In front of the Sacré Coeur all kinds of artists were performing: musicians and magicians. Among them this one on the right, playing an old fashioned little street organ and singing beautiful French chansons.
Being the Sacré Coeur, we were so close to Montmartre, that we couldnt resist going to see all the painters and their awfully expensive paintings on the Place du Tertre. We had a cup of coffee on one of the cosy terraces, all having beautiful decorated signs, and watched the people going by.
Sadly, all good things come to an end, and our weekend in Paris was no exception to the rule. But my legs and my feet were extremely grateful when we boarded the plane home. We had had a wonderful weekend, and maybe, you never can tell, we will go and visit Paris again. We would like to thank Air France, The MeridienEtoile for this trip and the excellent service we received.
Maybe "à bientôt, Paris"?
For the rest, enjoy my homepage and do come back soon to see if I have news for you or just to take another look. Oh, I almost forgot, I had to cut the part of "People en Places" in two, because it took forever to get it loaded: you will find a part with all about the years 2001and 2002, and a part with everything concerning the year 2000. I hope you enjoy your stay here and otherwise: happy surfing!
My sister Marianne opened her Bed & Breakfast in the beautiful city of Barre (Vermont, USA); please visit her website at www.maplecroftvermont.com!
On my Dutch homepage I added a Netmind Site Monitor. Leave your e-mailadress at Netmind and they will inform you as soon as I change my homepage. Kinda neat, isn't it?
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This homepage is last updated October 2, 2002
Everything on this page, text, photographs and images, is, unless strictly mentioned otherwise, mine, wherever on this planet I might be