We spent most of Friday on the train traveling from Milan to Paris with a quick stop to change trains in Zurich. Yes, we were in Switzerland, but not for long! It was difficult to get decent photos from the window of the train, but here are a couple that turned out well.
By the time we arrived in Paris and found our way to our hotel via the metro, the day was nearly over and we were tired. We enjoyed a delicious dinner at a little restaurant just down the block from our hotel, but our first real glimpses of Paris would wait until we’d had a good night’s sleep!
We spent most of the day yesterday getting an overview of the city and seeing some of its most famous sights via the Big Bus Hop On, Hop Off tour. The commentary was excellent and gave us lots of interesting background information.
We first hopped off close to Notre Dame Cathedral. It’s inaccessible, of course, as a result of the devastating fire of April 15th that left the city in shock. Though it isn’t what it once was and it will likely be several years before restoration is complete and it’s open to the public again, it’s still a very impressive structure.
We managed to get ourselves a bit lost and ended up on the wrong side of the river to hop back on our bus, but getting lost just means you have to find yourself again and you might just see something unexpected and interesting along the way! Parisians are friendly and helpful, so it didn’t take long for us to get our bearings and find our way back to the bus stop.
We hopped off again at the Arc de Triomphe, another one of Paris’ most famous monuments and took the obligatory photographs.
At the Trocadero, just across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower, we left the bus again. After taking in the view we enjoyed lunch at a nearby sidewalk cafe before rejoining the bus tour and continuing on.
Of course, we had to get off the bus again for more photos closer to the tower!
The Eiffel Tower was built for the 1889 World’s Fair. When it was inaugurated, it was the tallest building in the world. Amazingly, the original plan was to allow it to stand for 20 years and then tear it down! Only the fact that it could be used as a telecommunications tower saved it from destruction. Apparently two and a half million rivets were used in its construction. That’s not at all difficult to believe when you take a close look at it!
I took the next photo of the church at Les Invalides, Napoleon Bonaparte’s final resting place, from the bus. Its glittering golden dome is an unmissable landmark in the Parisian landscape. I love the sky in this shot!
We next hopped off the bus at the Palais Garnier, probably the most famous opera house in the world and the setting of Gaston Leroux’s 1910 novel, The Phantom of the Opera.
Our bus route was altered somewhat yesterday and we were unable to visit a couple of the areas that are usually included because of the “yellow jacket” protesters, so called because of the fluorescent vests that they wear. Yesterday marked six months of weekly protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s policies. We didn’t see any of the protesters or the destruction that they have caused, but we certainly saw a strong police presence when we got close to the parts of the city where they were gathered. For the most part though, Paris seems to be going on with life as usual. Apparently, tourism is down, but there were certainly lots of us hopping off and on the Big Buses yesterday!