Brendan's Tour of Europe travel blog

So many bones

A well put together structure, and the Effiel Tower behind me

The mini Arc, behind that the obolisque, behind that the real Arc...

Mmmmm, lunch

At 200 km an hour bugs don't just squash


WARNING - back to French keyboards, Q may mean A, Z may mean W and , could stand for M

After some worrying moments being the only ones at the bus stop at 5:45 and realising it was the May Day public holiday our bus did make and we got a lovely scenic trip through the Pyrenees. The snow fields looked excellent if anyone is ever over this way during winter.

We then got a bus-train-train and twelve hours later we were in Paris. Our joy was soon overcome by a realisation that despite only being within metres of the Sacre Cçèr were were staying in the ghetto. As we were dragging our bags through the streets I saw a drug deal right in front of me, we could see everyone eying of our bags and thought we were dead certs to get mugged.

We eventually found the place and after a strategic planning of the next day and a chat to our German roommates we headed to bed (our plan was to do all of Paris the next day and hightail it out of there).

We got up realtively early with our plan of attack and hit the streets, in total we did:

The catacombs - to solve the problem of overflowing cemeteries the city exhumed all the old bones and put them in an underground quarry. Eventually some artists got permission to arrange the bones artistically and two hundred years ago it was opened to the public. So our first attraction was to walk through the final resting place of millions of old Parisians, quite interesting and a bit spokey.

Effiel Tower - of course no visit is complete without a trip to the tower that almost didn't get built. I was planning to climb it but my legs were killing me from the mountain climbing and you can only walk to the second tier so I thought better of it. We got some snaps and got out of there, the were far to many people to wait in line.

- Had some overpriced crepes outside the tower for breakfast -

Arc de Triomphe - Commissioned by Nepolean to celebrate his victories but it unfortunately wasn't finished until he had started to lose battles. Again we opted not to climb it (8€ was more than our budget could afford), although a birds eye view of the largest traffic roundabout in the world would have been nice.

Hotel des Invalides - This munitions store was where the weapons were got to storm the Bastille, we ducked across the river quickly and got a quick shot.

The Louvre - I can now see why it takes 9 days to see it all, it is a huge building and very impressive even from the outside. Not being huge fans we walked through it but didn't go in.

Notre Dame - This has been many kinds of church for many years, originally a Roman cathedral it was replaced by a catholic cathedral 1000 years ago. The statues on the outside are said to be scenes from the old testament so the illiterate poor could be educated.

- Kylie had been raving about Escargo (snails) since we started so we had to try some, we stopped at a nice little place outside the Notre Dame. I had 3 but didn't rate them as highly, they seemed just like chew calamari. -

Pompidon - The arts gallary which had all its internal heating and ducting on the outside, weird looking but it does get attention.

Bastille - The most famous monument that is not longer there, the site of the Bastille before it was destroyed by revolutionaries is now a roundabout marked by a statue.

- After a rest at home we went out looking for dinner, thinking we were walking away from the ghetto we soon found ourselves in the red light district. Which wasn't such a bad thing as we got to see -

Moulon Rouge - Immortalised by the movie the real thing is less of a site, just a windmill and bright lights. Anyway it got a tick beside it, we got some cheese and baguettes and headed to:

Sacre Coéur - A long trip starting in a dodgy back alley and leading up steep hill got us to a very impresive church with an even more impressive view of Paris at night. Lots of people around and some singers and guitar players finished our big day off with some music.

Much to our suprise our belongings were still untouched at our hostel and we hadn't been mugged once, maybe we could have stayed another day...



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