Jane's First Time in Paris
Paris was fantastic, fabulous and amazing!
The city of love and romance was all the things that anybody ever said it was.
We came across a pamphlet offering free walking tours with local Parisian guides at the end of which you give what you think it's worth... how awesome is that!! We landed up doing two of the walking tours - one centred around the City and Notre Dame called 'Murder, Love and Money', and a second in the Latin Quarter. Young Parisians take whoever arrives (3 of us on the first tour, and 18 on the next) for a walk in the locality while talking about the history of the area, pointing out things that you wouldn't notice, and telling stories... they were great! They also gave us a little packet of goodies at the end of the tour with a booklet about their favourite places to eat, shop, and dance.
On the tour of the Latin Quarter, we ended up at the Pantheon - another amazing building where French heroes are remembered - and so we went on in. Their underground crypt houses tombs of heroes, among them two women you'll no doubt notice - Joan of Arc and Marie Curie. Marie Curie's tomb was surrounded by notes and messages written on the back of rail tickets and pieces of paper from people all around the world. Some of the ones I read was from a radiologist and a scientist, women who were inspired to do great things.
Dinner out one night was at the 'Polidor' - an absolute dining highlight for us. It's a traditional restaurant that's been in operation since 1846 and where students eat every night. Two middle aged women who could've been sisters were waiting on rows of tables and you pretty much sat next to whoever was seated at the table you were directed to. We sat next to a couple from Israel. The food was fantastic and the menu unashamedly French, as only the French can be! The comfit of duck was superb! It was noisy, crowded and with a stream of people waiting to get in. And cash only!
We walked and walked, ate heaps and paid to travel the Seine on the Batobus (hop on and off boats). We watched people snog on the bridges and everywhere we turned, there was another amazing building or garden or curious sight or sound or smell! We walked up the steps to the second level of the Eiffel Tower, up the steps to the Arc de Triumph, were overwhelmed by the Louvre but missed out on the Musee d'orsey. Definitely next time!
We loved it... it was all we'd hoped it would be and more. We can't wait to get back.