A Travellerspoint blog

December 2019

Montmarte and Paris by night

Sacre Coeur, Illuminations tour and Seine River cruise

sunny 6 °C
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Mid morning we headed out to try and brave the Metro, big mistake one in three trains are running and only at certain stations- sardines in a tin can. We got as far as Gare de Nord then shanks pony took over - not a dampening for the day though.

Even though it was cold, Sacre Coeur and the streets of Montmartre were jam packed. A service commenced during our visit and the singing acoustics is truly magical. After visiting the back streets we decided to walk home and along the way digressed into some covered passages and window shop like days gone by. After many are we there yet, we arrived back to our apartment.

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Evening saw us head out to ParisCity Vision for the night tours. The traffic was exceptionally bad due to the strikes, so a revised city tour to meet the timing of the boat. The river Seine is exceptionally high, with alerts the last couple of days, so the river tour was unable to travel its usual route, so we got to see more of Paris beyond the Eiffel Tower. A late night, and very cold walk home with the temps in the minus, but there is always many people out and about.

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Posted by bonne vie 02:14 Archived in France Comments (0)

Sainte Chapelle

The King’s Chapel

6 °C
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Walking around Paris in the brisk morning air has become the norm due to the rail strikes. One advantage of the early morning walks is less crowds on the streets and shorter ques for sites. Even on a Sunday morning when most places are closed, an early morning croissant and pain au chocolat can be found on the way.

The Sainte Chapelle is an impressive structure that was built in the 13th century to house holy relics by King Louis the 9th. After walking through the gates the sheer scale of the structure impresses. Walking into the lower level, the wall decorations impress with their opulence, surely fit for a King. However the wow moment must be held till after the long tight spiralling stairway.

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Stepping out from the staircase you cannot help but be awed by the spectacular view of the inside of the chapel itself. Every wall is decorated by dramatic stained glass windows depicting the books of the bible. It is easy to sit in a corner and quietly marvel at the wonder of the interior. After taking a few photos, the realisation hits that they cannot do justice to the beauty of the building.

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Starting the day early was justified upon leaving and seeing the now hundred metre long line to get in. Off to Rue Mouffetard for their Sunday markets, lunch and then a lazy afternoon. Early evening a stroll around the neighbourhood turned up some Christmas markets.

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Posted by bonne vie 01:04 Archived in France Comments (0)

Musee de l’Armee

Les Invalides, Paris

sunny 6 °C
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While the strike action in Paris is impacting the Metro we are resorting to above ground and walking to our destinations.

Les Invalides was a new place to discover and wile away many hours. From the medieval armour, swords, pikes, cross bows, through to the cannons, pistols, Napoleon’s tomb, hats and his white taxidermied horse, musical instruments of war - so much to look at. Magnificent history of armour and weaponary and an exhibition of the wars of the 20th century. Well worth the visit.

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Posted by bonne vie 11:48 Archived in France Comments (0)

Normandie

Mont St Michel

overcast 4 °C
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Heading out and returning in the dark, saw a full day travelling and four hours visiting Unesco site, Mont St Michel. The mist across the plains and Mont cleared up so we could see the topmost spire and was shrouded again as we left.

Many stairs to reach the Abbey and walk around the ramparts. An inspiring place that would have been welcome sight by pilgrims and a strong fort which held against marauders. Many, many people shared the day and at times made it a very slow trek up the winding streets. Fortunate to hear and see a service in the abbey cathedral.

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Posted by bonne vie 09:23 Archived in France Comments (0)

Paris

St Germain - our home base

overcast 8 °C
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Arriving in Paris around dinner time we braved the traffic and caught a cab to the apartment we booked. We were surprised at the size of the apartment, given it is a 17th century building and impressed by the location. The hosts are very very friendly and helpful. It was a delight to unpack knowing we were going to be in one place for a while, something we looked forward to after being on the GoEuGo bus tour.

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After a sleep in on Boxing Day and a few loads of washing we headed out to look around the neighbourhood. We love Paris, being our fourth visit we feel quite comfortable finding our way around the city.

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Posted by bonne vie 04:38 Archived in France Comments (2)

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