We arrived in Paris Monday evening after taking the Eurostar from London. The train speed changes enormously after it crosses the Chunnel (from around 100 km/h to over 200 km/h.) This really serves to highlight the sorry state of the rail network in England.
After arriving we made our way to the Subway to catch a train to our hotel. Since it was late afternoon, there were no people in the ticket offices and we were forced to use an automated machine. These machines do not take any non-Parisian cards; visa or otherwise, which proved to be a problem. Whilst we were figuring out what to do, a man approached us an told Nicole that he would pay for our 3 3-day passes with his card and we could pay him in cash. The warning lights in my mind went off, but I ignored them and to make a long story short we paid 45 Euros for 3 single journey tickets (worth about 4 Euros.)
After eating a decent meal at a café we decided to go see the Eiffel tower that evening. This is when we realised that the tickets we had were crap. Since we had no change, the tower was postponed for a day.
The first day we walked around Paris and took a bus tour. Before we hopped on the bus we checked out the Notre Dame cathedral. It like most European cathedrals is spectacular, the stained glass was amazing. The tour was ok, but the commentary was recorded, difficult to here and not very good. Nevertheless, we got to see all of the big sites. After the tour, we ended up at the Sacré-Coeur. And had a look around. Next was the Moulin Rouge and some food. As we planned out journey to the Eiffel tour, I received a call from my dad saying that the tower was on fire! Sure enough after finding a tele, we saw the upper part of the tower covered in smoke. Once again our visit was postponed.
The next day we woke up early to take in the Louvre. What a great place! It is like the National gallery and the British museum all in one. We split up an spent hours in its dazzling rooms. It took quite a few pictures and if you go to Paris, this is a must see. Next were the Catacombs. This is an area that was built to relieve the overflow of dead in the cemetery’s. Basically it is a underground network where the dead bodies that were exhumed were placed. Once you enter the burial area, all you can see are bones. The path is linear, and takes about 30 minutes. Another really cool place to see in Paris.
Next we decided that since we needed to get up at 5 the next morning, we should go to the Eiffel tower during the day. The line-ups were insane, and the upper deck was closed till right before we finally got our tickets. The tower provides some spectacular views of the city, and that’s about it. Something that everyone needs to do in Paris, but overall nothing much to do than to go up an take a look.
Overall I enjoyed Paris. The food is ok and really expensive (especially for the quality.) The people are more-or-less what you expect: mostly rude to tourists, even if you speak French. If fact I don’t think that they are picking out tourists, it is probably the way they act towards everyone. The city is beautiful for the most part, and there does seem to be a romantic air drifting around (not very useful when travelling with you sister.)