Paris Journals

Paris – La Vie En Rose

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A May 2003 trip to Paris by Carmen

Eiffel Sunset Photo, Paris, France More Photos
Quote: Just as the song implies, I saw Paris through rose-colored glasses. Everything is brighter, lighter, better in Paris.

Paris – La Vie En Rose

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Overview

Eiffel Sunset Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
The Sienne River is the vein through which the lifeblood of the city runs. Everything of importance in Paris either lines the river or is a stone’s throw from it. One of the most vivid memories that I will carry with me is that of the Eiffel Tower at night. The tower is certainly the most noticeable icon of Paris, but nothing can describe the serenity of watching a red and pink sun set beneath the legs of the Eiffel Tower, then rushing up to the observation deck to catch the end of the sunset over the city. Then you can see the whole town light up in the dark (it’s not called the City of Lights for nothin’), including the very tower you’re standing on. When we came back down to ...Read More

Observatoire Luxembourg

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Hotel | "Hotel Observetoire Luxembourg"

Observatoire Luxembourg Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
I booked my vacation through e-vacations.com, and they recommended this hotel for me. I gave them some parameters and they suggested the Hotel Observetoire. It is a three-star rated hotel, which, in an American equivalent, is something along the lines of a Holiday Inn. I had splurged on a four-star hotel during my stay in Nice before coming to Paris, so I was a bit spoiled before I arrived. The Observetoire didn’t have the same level of service as the hotel in Nice, but it was a perfectly acceptable hotel. Who spends a whole lot of time in their room when in Paris? I did have a few complaints. The rooms weren’t terribly insulated, so I could hea...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 6, 2003

Observatoire Luxembourg
107 Rue St. Michel
Paris, France 75005
01.40.35.85.98

Eiffel Tower

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Attraction

Eiffel Tower Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
Eiffel Tower is the most recognizable symbol of Paris. At the time it was built, it was thought to be an eyesore. Well, for me, it wasn’t an eyesore; it was a sight for sore eyes. It was the first time since arriving that I realized "Hey, I’m in PARIS!" We arrived at the tower around 10:30 or 11am. I had heard horror stories about the long lines to get tickets. The longest line was the one that took you to the top with the double-decker elevators. There were lines, though shorter, at the other three legs of the tower, where you could walk up the 345 steps to the first level – taking the elevator from there, or you can walk another 359 steps from there to the second level. That’s the che...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 6, 2003

Eiffel Tower
Champ De Mars
Paris 75007

Arc de Triomphe

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Attraction | "The Arc de Triomphe"

Arc de Triomphe Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
The most important piece of advice that I was given, and the most important piece of advice that I could pass on, is DON’T TRY TO CROSS THE STREET TO GET TO THE ARC. Paris’s busiest traffic circle surrounds the Arc de Triomphe, so in order to save lives and not have to clean the mess off the streets, there’s an underground passage that takes you under the street. The Frommer’s book I read beforehand argued that the view from the top of the Arc de Triomphe is the best in the city. I don’t know if I’d go that far, but it was certainly a grand view of the Champs Elysées. To get to the top, you have two choices, an elevator or more than 200 stairs. After getting into the Arc, I honestly di...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 6, 2003

Arc de Triomphe
Place Charles-de-gaulle
Paris, France 75008
+33 (1) 55 37 73 77

Avenue des Champs-Elysées

Attraction | "The Champs Elysées"

Avenue des Champs-Elysées Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
While we didn’t have the same pomp and circumstance that the victory parades had after both world wars, we did march down the Champs Elysées. The "triumphal way" is lined with trees and shops galore. If you continue down the Champs Elysées until you reach the Egyptian obelisk at place de la Concorde, hold onto your hat – and your head. Some of France’s most famous names lost theirs to the guillotine in that square. The main Paris boulevard also boasts some of the biggest names in fashion and shopping. We walked past Chanel, and took a peek inside the Luis Vitton store. I could have a change purse for mere change – 110 €! Well, it was nice to look anyway. We also passed the Lacoste sho...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 6, 2003

Avenue des Champs-Elysées
Avenue Des Champs-elysées
Paris, France 75008

Cathédrale Notre-Dame

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Attraction | "Notre Dame"

Cathédrale Notre-Dame Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
I think I was most looking forward to seeing Notre Dame in person, and it didn’t disappoint. I was an architecture major for a while in school, and we had studied Notre Dame and other European cathedrals – but there’s only so much you can get from a picture book. Seeing Notre Dame up close and personal really drove Gothic architecture home for me. Don’t just see Notre Dame from the front. Take it in from the front, the sides, and the back. The east end of the cathedral is the best for seeing the flying buttresses, while the west, north and south rose windows shouldn’t be missed. I’ve got to say that my favorite part of the Notre Dame tour was climbing up the tower to the...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 6, 2003

Cathédrale Notre-Dame
6, place du Parvis-de-Notre-Dame
Paris, France 75004
+33 (1) 42 34 56 10

Basilica du Sacre Coeur

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Attraction | "Monmartre and the Sacré Coeur"

Basilica du Sacre Coeur Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
If you’ve climbed up the stairs at any major monument to see a view of the city, you can’t have missed the white stone basilica that sits on a butte overlooking Paris. That’s Sacré Coeur, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Christ. It certainly doesn’t hold a candle to the great European cathedrals, but I think it’s worth a visit to the top of Monmartre (the name harkens back to the martyrs tortured and killed there ‘mons martyrium’). The exterior reminds me of a Russian church, or perhaps one of middle eastern origin – certainly not French. But inside, it boasts the same frescos and stained glass that you’d find in the French cathedrals. Its dome is the second highest poi...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 6, 2003

Basilica du Sacre Coeur
35, Rue Du Chevalier-de-la-barre Rue De La Bonne
Paris, France 75018
+33 (1) 53 41 89 00

Musée du Louvre

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Attraction | "Musèe du Louvre"

Musée du Louvre Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
I had heard stories about the incredibly long lines at the entrance under the glass pyramid, but was pleasantly surprised at the lack of crowds when we arrived on a Wednesday in late May around 10am Notable is the fact, however, that when we left around 12:30, the lines were much longer. This museum was one of the biggest reasons that we were told to consider the museum pass. It allows for entry through the Richlieu gate without waiting. Turns out we didn’t need to find that entrance, and we stood in line anyway for about five minutes not knowing that we just needed to show our passes at the entrance into each wing, not needing a ticket. The only reason we’d have needed a ticket is for the special col...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 6, 2003

Musée du Louvre
99, rue de Rivoli
Paris, France 75001
+33 (1) 40 20 51 51

Musee d'Orsay

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Attraction | "Musée D’Orsay"

Musee d'Orsay Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
Of the museums in Paris, I’d argue this is the best one – yes, even topping the Louvre. Good enough to go back three days in a row hoping to get in. The D’Orsay is closed on Mondays, and on the Tuesday morning when we first tried to get it, it was closed due to strikes. It was also closed because of staff strikes Wednesday morning, but I was overjoyed when we tried for the third time on Thursday and it was open. Perhaps it’s because I studied French Impressionism in school, but an entire third floor dedicated to the Monets and Renoirs of the world was very appealing to me. After showing my museum pass, I didn’t even stop at the first and second floors. I just headed straight for the escalator and room...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 6, 2003

Musee d'Orsay
62, Rue De Lille
Paris, France 75343
+33 (1) 4049-4994

Chartres Cathedral/Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres

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Attraction | "Day Trip to Chartres Cathedral"

Chartres Cathedral/Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres Photo, Chartres, France
Quote:
About an hour away from downtown Paris you’ll find possibly one of the greatest Gothic cathedrals in Europe – Chartres Cathedral. My mom and I included a van tour to Chartres in our vacation package for 80€, and we were glad we did. Our driver, Paul, spoke excellent English, and my mom and I sat up front with him, mostly because his driving – along with the other crazy French drivers, was making me car sick in the back. We picked up a few other people then headed down the highway at around 80 mph. We could see the cathedral long before we arrived, as it’s that dominant on the landscape. When we did arrive, the exterior looked similar to that of Notre Dame. However, it’s not the outside...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 6, 2003

Chartres Cathedral/Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres
Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres
Chartres, France

Palace of Versailles (Chateau de Versailles)

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Attraction | "Château de Versailles"

Palace of Versailles (Chateau de Versailles) Photo, Versailles, France
Quote:
Louis VIX started the process of turning this hunting lodge into the present palace in 1668, and Louis VX finished the process and moved there in 1722. The palace tour takes you through the king’s and queen’s apartments -- with gold-leafing and marble inlays that make mere opulence seem ordinary. Feathers adorn the top of the queen’s bed, in the bedchamber where she gave birth in public view (now that sounds like fun, huh?) and the walls are covered in velvety fabrics. Almost all of what we saw was a reproduction – after the French revolution most of the palace was looted, but you couldn’t have proven it by me. After rooms and rooms of decadence – most looking out onto the gardens -- ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 6, 2003

Palace of Versailles (Chateau de Versailles)
20 Km Sw Of Paris
Versailles, France
01 30 83 78 00

Museum and Metro Passes

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Story/Tip

Quote:
I think the best thing that my mom and I did to prepare for our trip was to buy both the Paris Visite pass for the Metro, and the Carte Musées pass for the museums. Although slightly more expensive if you buy them in the U.S. first, it took some of the pressure off of having to find a location that sold the pass. You purchase the passes depending on how many days you plan on using them. They both come in one-, three- and five-day options. The museum pass allows you to enter most of the major museums and monuments without waiting in line for tickets (note, the pass doesn’t work for entry into the Eiffel Tower). Prices range from 12 € to 36 €, it saved us a lot of time and hassle. Plus, we g...Read More