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Monday, 5 November 2012

« BONJOUR PARIS » Day 1

I went to Paris with Nef. It was wonderful and I enjoyed myself immensely. Naturally we went to all the iconic sites of Paris --- as did all the other trillion + tourists. I took so many photos in three days so I think I will write about it in sections.

Let's start with the basics. Nef and I went to Paris by bus via The Euro Tunnel. Pretty cool really; what happens is that the bus drives into a narrow train (kinda like a horse carriage) where it parks and twenty minutes later...

VOILA!

You've crossed the channel. It's really quite anti-climatic because you can't see anything. Bit of advice, it's probably not the best method of transport if you're claustrophobic.

We arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport where we got the RER Metro to Val d' Europe in South East Paris, Zone 5. It was actually quite a long trip. We were smart (thanks to Nef's French housemates advice) and bought a five day tourist ticket that gave us unlimited transport round Paris using whatever method available. And it was only 50 Euros each!

We stayed in an apartment in Val d' Europe, which was pretty sparse and rather uninteresting to talk about but here are the pictures anyway.




These are just pictures of the living room / kitchenette which were the most exciting parts of the apartment.

Onto the trip or I'll never get this published!

First day we went to the Catacombs. It's free entry, of course this was too good to be true, as there was a massive queue all wanting to see. Nonetheless we persevered. Here are the photos, bear in mind I tried to avoid flash photography so they may be wobbly / not perfect / grainy. 


Following Nef. I did use flash for this photo. In reality the corridors were very dark and a little rough to walk down.
 So here's a little summary about the Catacombs, courtesy of Wikipedia.

The Catacombs of Paris or Catacombes de Paris are an underground ossuary in Paris, France. Located south of the former city gate (the "Barrière d'Enfer" at today's Place Denfert-Rochereau), the ossuary holds the remains of about six million people[1] and fills a renovated section of caverns and tunnels that are the remains of Paris's stone mines. Opened in the late 18th century, the underground cemetery became a tourist attraction on a small scale from the early 19th century, and has been open to the public on a regular basis from 1874. Following an incident of vandalism, they were closed to the public in September 2009 and reopened 19 December of the same year.[2]

The official name for the catacombs is l'Ossuaire Municipal. Although this cemetery covers only a small section of underground tunnels comprising "les carrières de Paris" ("the quarries of Paris"), Parisians today often refer to the entire tunnel network as "the catacombs".
There were a few miniature models in the Catacombs, I wasn't really sure what they were there for, but they were super pretty and detailed.

Bones in the ossuary. Os / oss is the Latin word for bone.

There were a lot of old inscriptions around the place.






For six million people in the Catacombs, I was surprised how little space they occupied. Of course, that was one of the main reasons the bones were exhumed and re-laid to rest underground.


After that, we were famished so we attempted Parisian food. I can honestly say, I did not enjoy it. Notice, the word not was bold, italicized and underlined.

We went to this cute looking Brasserie near the Catacombs -- Omen perhaps?



Food was very average, decor was frighteningly frightening (I couldn't define it unless you experienced it yourself). Top it all off, Nef found a hair in her food after she'd eaten everything. Yuck.

I hate eating out.


Yes, we had steak. Call me boring. It still ended up being more eventful than anticipated and I mean that in a negative way.
 So, then we got the Metro towards Notre Dame.

Siene River and Notre Dame.
Looking the opposite direction.
 The Notre Dame square was packed. My photos might not portray that because I purposely cropped the tourists out.

Note! Paris is probably the most tourist infested city in the world.




I loved the door way. It was so detailed.






Nef and I also paid four euro to go see the treasury, so enjoy the bling.
 

This stand was wicked with weird heads all the way round.


Can you see my reflection?




This calligraphic board was so pretty.


Someone's thigh bone.

Mother Therese
Jeanne d'Arc.
 Next we went to see the iconic Eiffel Tower. Like the rest of Paris, it was crawling in tourists, but no worries -- my trigger finger went mad so I have more than enough photos to make up for the fact we didn't climb it. Maybe another time.


The park beneath the Eiffel Tower is really pretty.




Me posing with my new jacket.

We did the cliché tourist hold-your-camera thing.


Then we needed another snack because Nef was determined to fill our faces with as much French food as possible.


I should just start a blog documenting Nef eating all over the world.
Okay. We'll leave the Eiffel Tower with this final picture.
Next we went to Musée de l'Armée because we simply stumbled upon it.
The Musée de l'Armée (Army Museum) is a national military museum of France located at Les Invalides in the 7th arrondissement of Paris. It is served by Paris Métro stations Invalides, Varenne, and La Tour-Maubourg.

Originally built as a hospital and home for disabled soldiers by Louis XIV, Les Invalides now also houses the Tomb of Napoléon and a military museum as well as the Musée des Plans-Reliefs . The museum's collections cover the time period from antiquity until the 20th century.
Once again summarised by Wikipedia -- couldn't have done it better myself.

We could only do a quick visit because we were tired and also have limited time left. I still managed to get a pile of photos.



The gardens were super pretty.


Lots and lots of cannons around.


The Chapel.


These flags were literally so old they had rips in them.


I really really like the typography on this.

Napoleon!




Then we took another gander across the Seine. This time we went across Pont Alexandre III, which is an arch bridge. It's a very pretty historical monument.



It is a tradition in Europe to put padlocks on bridges -- they call it Love Padlocks to symbolise everlasting love.
Quite appropriate because we saw a wedding photography session on the go.



We saw this statue and car when we were passing the Grand Palais and Petit Palais. Unfortunately we didn't have any time to explore either.




This is the Petit Palais, so you can imagine what the Grand Palais looked like!
Statue of Charles de Gaulle.

Then Nef and I went to the supermarket and pigged out on French sweets.

Almond cracker biscuits.

Macaroons.


I'll update the next part of our journey when I can. This post has taken me aaagggeeessss!!!! I can't take any more. Night.

3 Comments:

Stefanie said...

Well done Iona! I enjoyed reminiscing.

Sammy said...

Haha I just saw Stef's comment.

I'm glad you posted about the Catacombs because that was the one place I didn't go in Paris that I really wish I could have gone. I miss Paris. I too, enjoyed reminiscing.... :(

Marta said...

Oh wow, those catacombs must've been wonderfully grim.
Really like that stand with the weird heads haha.

Excellent post, the photos are great.

3 Comments