11 November 2000
As a birthday gift for my Mum, I treated us all to a day trip in Paris.
We took the 07:38 Eurostar to Paris (first time any of us had been on it) which got us into the Gare du Nord at around 12:10. We ate some sandwiches on the train to save some time.
We went down to the Metro and bought a carnet before heading off to Anvers station. This involved changing lines at BarbËs-Rochechouart. From Anvers it was just a short walk to la Butte de Montmatre and the Sacre Coeur. The sun was shining and the sky was blue and we felt very fortunate that it was such a lovely day. We climbed the steps of the hill and enjoyed the view before going into the church itself. After our viewing we left and walked through montmatre and the square where all the artists were busy. It was a very pleasant place to wander through.
L’Arc de Triomphe
We returned to Anvers station and noticed one of the information monitors displaying that the station we wanted had restricted openings. Of course, this was November 11th and there was the Armistice remembrance being held by the tomb of the unknown soldier at L’arc de Triomphe. We decided to try and get there as the monitor seemed to indicate that one of the exits was open. In actual fact we had missed the service and so were able to get out of the metro without problem. We stood on the Champs Elysees admiring L’Arc before using the subway to get closer. Because of the service there were a lot of people and also soldiers stood next to the grave of the unknown soldier with wreaths on it. A huge tricolor hung from the centre of L’Arc and others were around too.
We crossed back through the subway and walked along the Champs Elysees stopping only for a drink in a cafe. We were quite taken with the vivid gold colour of the adornments on the Alexander III bridge.
La Place de la Concorde
We continued along the Champs Elysees until we got to la place de la concorde with it’s obelisque, statues, fountains and a big wheel (we weren’t sure how permanent an addition this was). We spent quite a lot of time just looking at the different styles visible in the surroundings. We also took a look through the gates of the Jardin des Tuileries towards the Louvre before crossing the Seine and looking along the river towards L’Ile de la Cite and Notre dame.
As we crossed the river we had the National Assembly building in front of us and the Dome du Eglise visible to the right. This is where our next port of call was. We walked along the banks of the Seine, stopping only to view the Pont Alexander III a bit closer, along with the Grand Palais to the left of the bridge before walking towards L’Hotel des Invalides. After walking through the gate we walked past several cannons and several trees before entering the courtyard. As it was approaching 5pm by this stage entrance to either the MusÈe de l’ArmÈe or the …glise du DÙme was out of the question and so we just looked around the outside of the buildings.
Le Tour Eiffel
The final stop on our short but full tour was to see the Eiffel tour in closer detail. We approached it through the Champs de Mar which is a really pleasant environment to view it from. Due to the lateness of the hour it was starting to get dark and so the tower was starting to light up which was really impressive. I stood under the middle of it and looked up at it which is an unusual viewpoint on it.
Our day in Paris was coming to an end and so we headed back to the Gare du Nord and had a meal at one of the brasseries opposite the station. The brasserie was full of french rugby fans warming up their voices for the France v New Zealand rugby match to be held that evening. The menu was good value and the wine we chose was very good. Unfortunately we didn’t get around to dessert as it was getting close to check in time
We got to the Eurostar at around the time we should have been boarding only to discover there was a 15 minute delay – we could have had dessert after all. We got back into Waterloo shortly after 10.30pm, after a thoroughly enjoyable day.
- Metro – a program which helps you to get from one metro station to another. See Metro website for more details
- CitiKey – a program containing Parisian information (Other cities are available). See CitiKey website for more details.
- CitySync – a Lonely Planet palm publication. See CitySync website for more details