"Paris a pied... en Janvier" Paris by Diana75
Paris Travel Guide: 22,161 reviews and 53,866 photos
Before our departure, I thought that my 7 full days only in Paris will be more than enough for exploring this wonderful town and having also plenty of time for enjoying my birthday (actually the reason of this trip).
In our first evening in Paris, following a lovely walk on the streets around Forum Les Halles, from Chateau d'Eau to Hotel de Ville, seeing part of the town's attractions located in this area, I superciliously said that Paris does not seem to be such a "big city" as all our visit targets were located in a walking distance one from another.
But the following day, after staying in Louvre Museum more than 7 hours, which were far not enough to see everything, I understood how wrong I was.
And I'm pretty sure that my whole 7 days would have not been enough to admire and understand all the magnificent art and antiquities collections exhibited in Louvre.
Le grand Louvre... one of the richest museums in the world.
Well, after the second day and only one target checked in our "must visit" list, I understood that my idea about Paris was totally wrong.
I even forgot about my birthday, about the terrible feet pain (the time was even too short sometimes for eating), and we started a run around the clock to see as much as possible.
And we certainly did, although now, back home, I've added to my "must visit in Paris" list much more targets than I've ever thought.
The main difference between this trip to Paris and my previous ones is that this trip was my first one after joining VT community.
In a certain way I feel that I've seen Paris with different eyes compared to other towns; I've been more conscious.
I've tried to pass over the tiredness that sometimes makes you say that it's useless to take the 25th picture of the same monument or note another new tip.
And who's mad enough to think that writing a VT page about Paris it's an easy job?
We started our first morning in Paris, on Monday morning, by solving some "administrative" issues: buying two mandatory items for a real tourist: Carte Orange (the pass for all means of transportation) and Paris Museum pass.
Buying Carte Orange was in a certain way an adventure. Actually this pass is meant for the persons working in Paris and if the seller understands that you are tourist he will refuse to sell it.
In our case (7 days pass, for 5 zones) the "Tourist Card" (the similar pass but for tourists) was 50% much expensive than Carte Orange.
We solved this issue by buying the pass from a metro station not very common for tourists and using few words in French (speaking perfectly French is not mandatory in this case because in Paris are working a lot of foreigners).
For visiting the most important objectives in Paris we have chosen a 3 days Museum pass, but starting to use it from Monday was not the most logical decision, as some of the museums are closed on Monday or Tuesday.
Because of this we had to change our initial visit plan which was structured based on areas (arrondissements) and try to group as much museums and monuments included in the pass as possible in the first three days.
This was more or less the equivalent of going from one side to another of the city but the metro network is working perfectly and the only discomfort was our terrible feet pain.
How can you describe Paris in few words... art, culture, history, romance, fun... you can find everything there.
But what I specially loved were the panoramas of the town.
If for most of the tourists climbing the 689 steps to the second level of Tour Eiffel or the 422 steps of Basilique du Notre-Dame for admiring special views of the town is a must-do in Paris, I have to say that I've admired surprisingly beautiful panoramas also from Tour Montparnasse or Arc de Triomphe.
And if the modern La Defence is often only mentioned by the guides and missed by most of the tourists, I think that a stop there has not to be missed.
The breath-taking huge glass sky-scrapers and the Grand Arch made me feel like being in the movie "The 5th element".
This is truly a newfangled sensation after getting used to magnificent old buildings in gothic or baroque styles.
But everything is still part of the same picture...
Well, I certainly am an addicted traveler and when I travel I like to walk all day long to see as much as I can.
Because how can you understand the real life of a city if you don't wander on its streets?
Here is what I have seen in these 7 days in a town for which you'll probably need 7 years.
For some of you it may be not enough, for others it may be too much.
All I know is that I had 7 full days and I've enjoyed every second spent there.
Day 01 (January 15, 2006): Arrival / Les Halles by night
Day 02 (January 16, 2006): Louvre, Champs Elysees by night
Day 03 (January 17, 2006): Musee d'Orsay, Les Invalides (Hotel des Invalides, Eglise du Dome, Napoleon Tomb), Pont Alexandre III, Ile de la Cite (Ste-Chapelle, Palais de Justice, Notre-Dame), Arc de Triomphe and Champs Elysees by night
Day 04 (January 18, 2006): Saint Denis (Kings of France necropolis), Quartier Latin (St-Etienne-du-Mont, Pantheon), Centre G. Pompidou
Day 05 (January 19, 2006): Montmartre (Basilique du Sacre-Coeur, Eglise du St Pierre, Montmartre Cementery), Pigalle (Moulin Rouge), Eglise Sainte Trinite, Galeries Lafayette, Opera Garnier, La Madeleine, Place de la Concorde, La Defence by night
Day 06 (January 20, 2006): Saint Lazare, Montparnasse, Quartier Latin (Quai St-Michel, St-Severin, La Sorbonne), Jardin du Luxembourg, St-Germain (St-Sulpice, St-Germain-des-Pres), Tour Eiffel, Trocadero, Chateau d'Eau
Day 07 (January 21, 2006): Le Marais (St-Paul St-Louis, Hotel de Sens, St-Gervais St-Protais, Hotel de Rohan, Cathedrale St-Croix de Paris, Hotel de Sale - Musee Picasso, Musee Carnalavet, Place des Vosges), Place de la Bastille / Departure
- Pros:Art, culture, history, fun, good transportation network, nice caffes and quiche-lorrain ...
- Cons:Definitely not a small town at all!!!
- In a nutshell:Destination for a birthday not to forget...
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