Paris Journals

A New Year's Holiday in Paris

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A December 2000 trip to Paris by Lisa MacDonald

Eiffel Tower Photo, Paris, France More Photos
Quote: This is the story of 6 days and 7 nights in Paris over the New Year's holiday. Hopefully, this journal should give you a good idea of what to expect in Paris on a winter holiday.

A New Year's Holiday in Paris

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Overview

Eiffel Tower Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
Our Parisian tour was filled with museums, museums, and more museums. We also made sure to hit all of the tourist hot spots: the Eiffel Tower, the Pantheon, Les Invalides, Shakespeare and Co., Notre Dame cathedral, and Pere Lachaise cemetary. It's impossible to pick out highlights without just saying "everything". The most memorable moment for me was when we first arrived. It was later at night and we decided to take a walk to see the Louvre. When we got there, my boyfriend turned me around to see the Eiffel tower lit up in the distance. Seeing the tower for the first time "in real life" was both a surreal and awesome moment. It's something you see so many times in pictures and films that ...Read More

Hotel Baudelaire Opera Paris

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Hotel | "Hotel Baudelaire Opera"

Quote:
This hotel gets its name from the fact that Baudelaire once stayed here. Situated near metro Opera and Pyramides, it''s a short walk to the Louvre and many other points of interest. The rooms are very clean, comfortable, and quiet. It''s nothing fancy (your basic double bed, desk, small television, and en suite bathroom with shower), but it''s more than adequate considering that we were only here at night to sleep. We enjoyed the fact that we could watch Sky news (UK) and keep up with any events from home. The room tariff included a light breakfast (a basket of croissants, pain au chocolate, and baguettes) served with beverages of your choice. You can either have breakfast brought to your r...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 6, 2002

Hotel Baudelaire Opera Paris
61 RUE SAINTE ANNE
Paris, France 75002
00 33 1 42 97 50 62

Musee d'Orsay

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Attraction

Musee d'Orsay Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
The first thing you may notice when you visit the Musee d'Orsay is the incredibly long queue leading to its entrance. While we didn't have to wait an unreasonable amount of time to get in (in Parisian terms), it's wise to bring warm clothing and an umbrella during winter months - this is not a wait you'd want to endure in the pouring rain. The Musee d'Orsay picks up where the Louvre stops - at the Impressionist and post-Impressionist period. It consists of several levels of long corridors lined with paintings and sculptures. The museum is housed in an old train station, which becomes apparent when you view it from the second floor. After the train station's demise, it was used ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 6, 2002

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

Pantheon

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Attraction

Pantheon Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
Just past the left bank is the Panthéon. The Panthéon was originally a church, transformed by the Revolution into a mausoleum for people like Voltaire and Zola. This was back in the days when your fans and loved ones would pour into the streets upon your death, write lines from your books on banners and wave them around, and carry your coffin to your swanky burial place like the Panthéon. Alternatively, you'd get dug up years after your death and relocated from your original cemetery to get a 5-star room at the Panthéon. The tombs of the Panthéon are the main attraction, where you can visit the likes of Victor Hugo and the Curies. It’s dark, cold, and quiet – pretty much what you’d expect...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 6, 2002

Pantheon
Place Du Panthéon
Paris 75005
+33 (1) 44 32 18 00

Les Invalides/L'Hôtel National des Invalides

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Attraction | "Hotel des Invalides"

Les Invalides/L'Hôtel National des Invalides Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
A short walk from the Rodin museum is the Hotel des Invalides, a home for wounded soldiers built under the orders of Louis XIV. It became more of a shrine to Napoléon and those he was close to, complete with a massive tomb containing the remains of Napoléon himself. Napoleon is encased Russian doll style, in seven separate caskets made of various materials. I read a quote from a writer saying that some Parisians felt that the seven caskets were constructed to ensure he never gets out again. It's an obscenely large tomb (42 feet high) for a man of such small stature. Also buried in Invalides is his son (with the epitaph "King of Rome"), his brother, and assorted other military people tha...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on January 6, 2002

Les Invalides/L'Hôtel National des Invalides
Esplanade Des Invalides
Paris, France 75007
+33 1 44 42 37 70

Musee Rodin

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Attraction

Musee Rodin Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
The Musée Rodin is a small museum that houses the works of Auguste Rodin (along with a few other artists). Everyone I know who has gone to Paris has been pestered by me to get a Camille Claudel souvenir from this museum for me. After seeing the film "Camille Claudel" in 1989 (I strongly recommend you rent it if you don't mind 3 hours of subtitles), I became fascinated by this artist. She was a student of Rodin's and subsequently, his lover. In a nutshell (and according to the film), she became a respected sculptor in her own right and eventually she ended up in a mental institution partially due to Rodin's influence over her. Now, the irony is, the Rodin museum has a room dedicated to Camille Claud...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 6, 2002

Musee Rodin
77, Rue De Varenne
Paris 75007
+33 (1) 44 18 61 10

Musée du Louvre

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Attraction | "Louvre"

Musée du Louvre Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
The Louvre is probably the best-known art museum in Paris, and if the queues to get in are any indication, every tourist that comes to town goes here for a visit. There are two entrances: one above ground by the enormous glass pyramid, and an indoor entrance in the Carrousel du Louvre. I recommend the latter entrance simply because it’s the lesser of two evils – both queues will be massive, but the entrance in the Carrousel is usually slightly shorter and is indoors (a big bonus if you’re visiting in the winter). You should invest in a Carte Musees et Monuments, as this will allow you to bypass yet another lengthy queue to purchase tickets after you’ve gone through the first lengthy queue just to g...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 6, 2002

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

Shakespeare and Company

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Attraction

Shakespeare and Company Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
Shakespeare and Company is an incredibly cramped bookshop just oozing with books from every direction. There's an upper level accessible by a very narrow and steep staircase that I didn't dare attempt to climb. I decided to buy a new copy of James Joyce's Ulysses to replace my dog-eared copy from my university days. On our visit, the shop was run by an older man who had previously smashed into me with a box of books. Being the polite Canadian that I am, I patiently waited with my book in hand for him to stop ignoring me. Finally, I managed to get his attention, and he seemed perplexed as to why there's a person standing in front of him holding a book even though he's sitting in front of a cash regi...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on January 6, 2002

Shakespeare and Company
37, Rue De La Bûcherie
Paris, France 75005
+33 1 43 25 40 93

Pere Lachaise Cemetery

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Attraction | "Cimetiere du Pere Lachaise"

Pere Lachaise Cemetery Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
There's not much open on New Year's day, but you can start your day on a bit of a sombre note at Pere Lachaise Cemetery. Pere Lachaise is like an abandoned town with tiny little houses along cobblestone roads. The Rough Guide describes it as a "miniature city devastated by a neutron bomb", which is quite fitting. It’s full of the who’s who of expired Parisians, which can seem morbidly fascinating or pointless, depending on your point of view. Its narrow, twisty roads are a bit confusing, particularly if you don't have a very detailed map of the cemetery. We came across several people who seemed equally lost, some even crossing tombstones to get to other roads. Each road has a name, which...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 6, 2002

Pere Lachaise Cemetery
16, Rue Du Repos
Paris, France 75020
33 1 55 25 82 10

Eiffel Tower

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Attraction | "Up the Eiffel Tower"

Eiffel Tower Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
Seasoned travellers may turn up their noses at the thought of going up the Eiffel Tower, but if you’ve come all the way to Paris to do all the touristy things anyway, why not see it while you’re here? It’s a long and annoying queue to get to the lifts of the tower. It can get very cold and windy in winter months, and countless vendors trying to sell you something cheap and tacky will approach you non-stop while you’re waiting. The queue doesn’t move very quickly as there are limits to how many people they can put in the lifts at one time. Bundle up, take a book, and be prepared to wait a while unless you’re one of those people who’d rather take the stairs - not surprisingly, the queue for the stair...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on January 6, 2002

Eiffel Tower
Champ De Mars
Paris 75007

View from La Samaritaine Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
La Samaritaine is a typical department store located at 19 rue de la Monnaie. What’s unique about this store is the fact that it has a magnificent viewing point from its rooftop that’s completely free of charge. Although it's not entirely unknown to other tourists, you can avoid the mayhem (and the cost) of a trip up the Eiffel Tower if you're not too fussed about being as high up. We went up to the top of La Samaritaine on a day when the Eiffel Tower was more crowded than usual. A colleague gave me the scoop on this lesser known viewpoint, so we headed over to take a look. You take the lift to the top floor (and be prepared for a bit of a wait as it can only take a certain number of peo...Read More