My final day in Paris was a lot of fun -befriended a lovely guy who was staying in my dorm and we spent the day walking around the sites of Paris together. It was awesome to have someone to chat to and to share those ‘wow’ moments with – there was a lot of laughter!
Firstly we had a quick stop off at the very impressive Opera house. Its a huge building with massive gold statues on top. We didn’t go inside- but I’m sure its just as magnificent. We then walked towards the obelisk (I forget the official name) and stopped off at a church enroute- it looked more like a state building than a place of worship as it had large domineering columns at the front and no windows. It was still impressive inside though with lots of large statues, including a big one of Jesus behind the alter- but it was very dark. The obelisk is rather dirty, presumably from all the pollution- the road around it is absolute mayhem and hell for pedestrians. There are few places to cross and you have to inconveniently walk all the way around – its like this across Paris. Anyway, I digress… The obelisk has a very bright gold point which looks a little odd against the grey- it was hard to get a decent picture, especially because it was also rather overcast. From the obelisk you get a great view up the Champ-Elysees with the Arc de Triomph in the distance. We set off up this, some of the trees lining the street had started to drop its leaves which looked very pretty. You could look behind you at a tree lined avenue and see the floor covered in autumnal colours- a great picture! We stopped for lunch along here and I had some lovely mussels.
We also accidentally stumbled across the Paris fashion week. We wondered what a massive crowd was doing outside the Grand Palace so we toddled over to get a closer look and it was only then did I realise how out of place I looked in my jeans and trainers… Everyone had their best fashion outfits on and some looked very strange. One guy had what looked like a large pair of lopsided rabbit ears on his head. Suddenly everyone surged forward and everyone started snapping away on their cameras. Some woman who is presumably renowned in the fashion world walked straight past us… And then stopped to be interviewed. Unfortunatly I didn’t prepare myself in time to get a photograph. Gutted.
We walked past another bedlam junction which was so bad (even though it had traffic lights with THE FRENCH DRIVERS IGNORE- especially if they’re driving towards a measly pedestrian) that the police had come out with their whistles to direct the traffic. I was rather bemused by it all.
The Arc de Triomph was a lot bigger than I thought. Its really cool to walk along the Champ-Elysees and see this massive structure grow as you move towards it. Its quite phenomenal up close and the torch by the unknown soldier stone was still burning of course. We went up it (I was free!) and inside you really get a sense of how huge it is -some great views at the top, including the Eiffel tower. You can see how all of the roads all come together at the Arc, making it a large, symmetrical junction.
After this site we walked on to the Eiffel tower. We walked around the base of it for a while and sat in the park and watched lots of tourists attempt the stereotypical ‘jump’ picture in front of the tower, then went ahead and tried it ourselves haha… After lots of picture taking I was persuaded to go up the tower again. This was a great decision- we didn’t have to queue for the walking tickets and then managed to buy a final descent ticket after walking up, again with no queue- the tourists who queue for hours at the bottom for the lift really are very stupid! We went up the tower at a great time – the sun set whilst we were there so we had views in both day and night- it was spectacular! After coming down we admired the hourly sparkles and I then took some great photos of the lit up tower – unfortunately I can’t share these with you as I haven’t found a computer to load them with…
This day was action-packed and tiring but a lot of fun. I did enjoy my stay in Paris, there are some fantastic sites, but the overall feel of the city let it down.
And so its on to Amsterdam and another overnight bus journey! I’ll tell you all about my stay in the next post.
Bye for now!