Ah, Paris so full of charm!! There is something very special about this city, so beautiful, so chic and so interesting. Our visit this year was a reprise of last year’s, this time taking in some more sites and with the added bonus of meeting up again with a friend of ours, Delphine and her mother, Soizic who go to Paris each year to share a weekend together. Friday 17th November
Our visit again started with a train journey from our nearest station, Valognes to Paris St -Lazare. It was fast, efficient service and very comfortable arriving exactly on time three hours later. We made our way via the Metro to our bijou Hotel St-Germain where we deposited our bags before setting out to soak up the atmosphere!
We walked among the familiar streets around our hotel and as the dusk descnded we found a bar where we ordered a delicious beer while making a plan for the following days!
Time to find dinner and then an early night ready for the next day to make the most of our time here!
Saturday 18th November ~ Sightseeing!
L’Hôtel des Invalides, la Musée de L’Armée and Napoleon’s Tomb!
Having walked past this imposing building on several occasions, including last year we decided that we needed to have a look inside! The Hôtel des Invalides was originally built to be a hospital and retirement home for wounded servicemen. It has evolved over time and now houses the Musée de l’Armée. This museum has many sections and was really interesting with artifacts from wars over centuries beautifully displayed. We could have spent all day here!
The fabulous interior of the Dôme des Invalides – Beautiful!
The Dôme des Invalides is a large church and is separate from the museum.
Here we discovered the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte and other war heroes of France. The inside of the church is spectacular with its incredibly ornate altar and cross to the wonderfully painted ceiling high in the dome and which is directly above Napoleon’s tomb!!
I have to admit that I was slightly disappointed with the actual tomb? Amid all the beauty of the surroundings and the statues I found it ugly and looking rather like a lump of chocolate?
I hope that doesn’t sound sacrilegious, just my opinion!
Notre-Dame Cathédrale ~ on Île de la Cité in the heart of Paris!
Another sight which could not be missed! So beautiful and entrancing, we loved it and all it contained. The intricately carved internal and external wall freizes, the stained glass windows and the wonderful nave of the cathedral with it’s high up subtly purple lighting. Notre-Dame de Paris is one of the largest and well known churches in the world, and is considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. Each year around 14 million visitors from round the world visit Notre-Dame!
Interior views of Notre-Dame
By the time we emerged from the cathedral the afternoon was beautiful, far too nice to return to our hotel yet and so we walked on further to beyond the tip of the Île de la Cité. We admired the architecture of the buildings, especially the beautiful Hôtel de Ville which houses the city’s local administration and stands on the place de l’Hôtel-de-Ville. It has been the headquarters of the municipality of Paris since 1357. The buildings extend along side the Seine and are truly magnificent!
As we turned to go back to our hotel evening was decending rapidly and as we walked back across one of the many bridges over the Seine I couldn’t resist taking this photo of the other side of the Notre-Dame, against the evening sky.
Sunday 19th November ~ Le Tour Eiffel!
I imagine that many of you reading this will have visited this amazing tower which is synonymous with any thoughts of Paris?! Both Alan and I had been here years ago and long before our own paths crossed and so we really wanted to go up to the top together!
Actually we wanted to do it last year but the queues were so enormous we gave up and saw other lovely sites instead! This year however we were determined and so had booked tickets enabling us to ‘jump’ the queues and head straight for the lifts!
While the Eiffel Tower is not the tallest in the world by a long chalk, it is still an impressive 324 meters at the very summit, however, the highest stage it is possible to access is the panoramic platform at 276 meters! Probably high enough for most people! Some other iteresting facts are the 20,000 bulbs used to illuminate the tower at night, 120 antennas and probably the most mind focusing are the 1,665 steps to the top!! Because of this last fact, and probably unsurprisingly, we decided to take the lift to the top!
At the top the views are simply stunning! It was great to look down on the Are de Triomphe which we had visited last year and whose 284 steps we did actually climb! At the second stage, on the way down we got out of the lift and I took this photo of L’Île aux Cignes where one of the three replica’s of the Statue of Liberty to be found in Paris sits. Both the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty were designed and engineered by Gustave Eiffel. This statue faces directly towards it’s ‘sister’ and much larger statue which sits on Liberty Island in the Hudson river, New York city.
All good things must come to an end and it was time to return to the Hôtel St-Germain to pick up our bags and head off to the station for our journey home.
We had thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Paris again. The city is charming, buzzy in a very classy way with beautiful buildings and scenery and so much space all around. No wonder it has the acronym “Gay Paris”, so suitable and well deserved!
I think this photo of the shop window in one of the Louis Vuitton stores in Paris, this one at the top of the Boulevard St-Germain encapsulates another word which describes this beautiful city ~ CHIC!
I rather liked this bag!