Getting lost in the French capital…

There is a funny fact about Paris metro – as long as you are underground you can make as many journeys as you wish on one ticket. It means that if you are planning to reach a particular site and must change few times it will cost you exactly the same as when doing just one journey. So, every evening in Paris we were sitting on beds in our hotel with travel guide in hands and a map of Paris Metropolitan to make plans for the next day.

zdjecie
Paris underground – Metropolitan – Art Nouveau at its best!

paryż 2012 586

 Our trip was a short one, just 4 days for the French capital, but a special one at the same time as Julia, my niece, would be 16 in just few hours. I suppose the travel bug is going round our family since my father was a sailor and my niece chose a trip to Paris rather than party in Berlin with her friends. She was learning French as well, so it was a great opportunity for her to try it out.

16-stka-julki-w-paryzu
Julia enjoying her 16th Birthday

Our hotel was situated in La Défense – a rather business like part of the capital. 560 hectares (5.6 million square meters) area, with 72 glass and steel buildings and skyscrapers, 180.000 daily workers, and 3.5 million square meters (37.7 million sq ft) of office space might not appeal too much to the tourists. However it might appeal to the budget traveler as it has some nice pluses – a rather well functioning communications links, cheaper food and cheaper hotels. 

paryż 2012 012
La Défense and its amazing surroundings

paryż 2012 014

Situated near by Bois de Boulogne, second biggest public park in Paris, offered a great opportunity for a goodbye picnic, with French wine and baguette.

piknik-w-lasku-bolonskim
Bois de Boulogne – picnic French style – wine and baguette

Iconic feature of La Défense – La Grande Arche – rises hugely in a distance and when you try to reach the building you are under impression that it is not only growing in size but keeping its distance, almost running from you. We spent our first day chasing its mystical appearance and wandering around visiting shops.

paryż 2012 034
La Grande Arche
paryż 2012 036
Chasing La Grande Arche

The architecture of this part of Paris is quite different, as it is in comparison to the city center, quite new. The life here has a different pace and you will feel more like being thrown in the middle of quite busy business place. Everything seems polished and smooth, mirroring the faces of ever busy office worker and businessman, careful mothers with their buggies and few tourists lost between shops and squares of La Défense.

zdjecie (1)
La Défense and its amazing buildings
paryż 2012 019
Glass and metal – this is business in La Défense

Surprisingly this part of Paris is keeping its rush under control, beating in a quite predictable rhythm, as everything was set up before with a delicate but firm precision of living organism, who knows the exact reason for its existence, finding a purpose and never feeling lost. If you jump from there into the city center, between its famous remarks like Eiffel Tower, Champs-Elysées and Moulin Rouge you are for a different treat entirely – no rhythm there, just a flocks of tourists dominating every space and complaining at the small scale of famous Moulin Rouge mill.

tlumy-jak-na-hiszpanskich
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris – Sacré-Cœur – more people than in Rome on Spanish Steps
paryż 2012 159
Louvre
zdjecie (2)
Eiffel Tower
widok-na-wieza-eifla-z-wiezy
Looking at one giant from the other – climbing Montparnasse Tower
paryż 2012 139
Moulin Rouge

Paris is a city of love and chocolate, ice creams and crème brulee, expensive cloths and smell of cheese and wine, slowly reaching your nose when you stick it out in search for a quick bite. It’s a place where a pyramid of Louvre has gained a brother – Pyramide Inversée – sticking its bottom to the sky and top towards Earth, almost kissing the small stone pyramid nicely inserted into the space of Carrousel du Louvre (the inverted Pyramid was added in 1993 nicely complementing a modern addition to the Louvre).

paryż 2012 457
Champagne and chocolates!
paryż 2012 578
Love is around us! The biggest locker I have ever seen!
paryż 2012 455
Creme brulee!

 

It’s a city of a river Sane and many bridges, with Art Nouveau entrances to the metro stations and quite a few fairgrounds offering silly laugh, plays and sweet pink cotton candy.

paryż 2012 624
Enjoying more sweet candy!
paryż 2012 620
You never too old for that!

 

paryż 2012 601
Fairground in Paris!
paryż 2012 606
Colorful and crazy place!
paryż 2012 619
We have been on this on about 6 times!

Notre Dame Cathedral, Arc de Triomphe, Sacré-Coeur, Musée d’Orsay, Louvre are putting Paris in a different contexts, making it more friendly for inexperienced tourists, trying to tick all the boxes in the guide book. And Paris would not be the same without them, beautiful and enormous buildings offering unique experience of submerging into Paris lush history.

zdjecie
Notre Dame Cathedral
paryż 2012 038
Arc de Triomphe
zdjecie (2)
Sacré-Coeur
museum-d-orsay-to-przebudowana
Musée d’Orsay
palac-inwalidow
Dôme des Invalides
paryż 2012 325
Louvre
paryż 2012 157
Pyramide Inversée

Paris is not a cheap place to visit, but the Paris Pass can help. The Passes are still quite expansive and you do need to make sure they are worth your while – so check the details and decide if this is something you might be interested in!

Bois de Boulogne

La Grande Arche de La Defense

Eiffel Tower

Champs-Élysées

Moulin Rouge

The Louvre

Notre-Dame de Paris

Arc de Triomphe

Basilique du Sacre-Coeur

Musée d’Orsay

Hôtel des Invalides

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s