Americans in Paris

In April 2010 while in London on assignments for world missions we took some vacation time and went on a two-day tour to Paris. Now I find, to my surprise, that this draft was never published, so here it is, six years late!

We went to Paris by Eurostar, the “bullet train,” which travels at 120 mph and goes under the River Thames and the English Channel. Travel time from London to Paris is three hours.

We arrived in Paris on April 8 just before noon and had a bus tour of the city, including a stop at the Eiffel Tower and a river cruise on the Seine.

We took the crowded elevator (holds 80 people) to Level 2, seeing, as we rose, what makes the elevator work.

The views are spectacular. Looking west…

And east…

Next we took Batobus for a river cruise. There are 37 bridges over the Seine in Paris! Here is a partial view of one of the beautiful, the Alexander III Bridge. The limitations of the boat prevented my getting a full view, but you can always check it out online!

At the end of the afternoon the bus returned us to the railway station Gare du Nord. From there we set off for our hotel, choosing to get exercise and save money by walking instead of taking a taxi. The hotel was a few miles away, a walk of about an hour and twenty minutes, taking us past the famous Moulin Rouge (Red Windmill), location of lavish show girl perfomances – or so we are told!

Our hotel was Pavillon Villiers Etoile, 6 rue Labouteux.

Next morning we had a generous buffet breakfast at the hotel, part of the room fee. The rest of the day we had to ourselves.

Off to Notre Dame Cathedral, by Metro, not walking.

On a street beside the cathedral we had tea and crepes at a restaurant. The crepe preparation is done outside in the open air with a nifty machine that spreads the batter evenly and thinly along a stainless steel grill.

Here is the National Academy of Music, which, if I heard correctly, was formerly the place for operas but now features ballets.

I find fountains fascinating. This one is at the Place du Chatelet.

Next, we wanted to walk the boulevard Champs-Elysees, which they say the average tourist does twice during his visit to Paris. We started at the famous Arc de Triomphe at the top of the hill.

I thought the pharaohs were all in Egypt, but here was one at the Champs-Elysees!

Some advertizer has clever ideas.

We sat in the sun in the park known as Tuilieries and then walked the few blocks to the Louvre Museum (one of 132 in the city).

In the plaza stands a smaller version of the Arc de Triomphe.

Also, the modern pyramid that serves as the entrance to the Louvre.

Inside, at another part of the building is another marvel, an inverted pyramid.

From there we walked again to the Place du Chatelet and had dinner at Au Vieux Chatele. We sat at a window and had an incredible view.

We were on the Right Bank (north side) of the Seine, but the river, bordered as it is by walls, was not visible. Straight ahead we saw the wall, with bookstalls and vendors and street traffic, and beyond that part of the Conciergerie, formerly a royal palace, then a prison, now a judicial center. To the left were the two towers of Notre Dame, and to the right, far away, the Eiffel Tower. “Can you believe we are actually here?” we said.

Finally, back to the Gare du Nord, and the Eurostar back to London, with so many memories of two special days in a beautiful city.

Paris is a delight.

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