I was fortunate enough to get to go to Paris for work. I attended meetings at L’Ecole Militaire on Monday through Wednesday, but took the train to Paris on Saturday to spend the weekend there. I had only been there once before more than 20 years ago (you should just assume I was a kid at the time; close enough). Since I had been in the major attractions (the Louvre, Notre Dame, etc.), this time I mostly just wanted to walk around and see the city. The weather was amazing, especially for October, and it really is a beautiful city. I noticed a lot more security, such as not being able to walk under the Eiffel Tower without bags being checked.
My hotel was really nice, very small, what someone called a boutique hotel. The room was small, but check out the large painting that served as a headboard. The cafe is around the corner.
The hotel was recommended by the Embassy because it was basically across the street from L’Ecole Militaire. Inside the school I was surprised they had horse stables and a riding area in the courtyard.
The school is across a plaza/mall connecting to the Eiffel tower, so I pretty much walked around that area every night. One morning I even went jogging around the Eiffel tower, and I barely like running, but as I mentioned the weather was perfect and the area was flat so I really didn’t have any excuses. I also learned that after dark, the tower “sparkles” for 5 minutes at the top of every hour (videos are at the bottom of the post because I can’t figure out how to make them smaller). I wanted to go to the top of the Eiffel, but the night I went and was standing in line, there was a sign that said the top was temporarily closed (I don’t know why). I took pictures of the tower from other areas of Paris as I was walking around, so there are tons of them – and trust me, I narrowed them down from the hundreds I took.
The Saturday I arrived in Paris, my train got in at 1400 and I started walking around after 1500. (By the way, I used to think that was just military time; now I know it’s European time as well.) Some of the pictures are above; the rest are below and include the Champs d’Elysee and Arc de Triomphe.
Sunday I chose to do a Hop-On-Hop-Off bus in order to see as much of the city as possible in a short time. My hotel was near the red route, but I wanted to explore the blue route since it wasn’t within walking distance of me. However, shortly after getting on the bus, the recording kept saying, “Due to circumstances beyond our control, we are now on a diversion.” The bus completely missed the stop where I planned to change buses. I picket the next best stop to get off and started walking. Turns out there was a 10K downtown that closed a lot of the roads (and it would have saved me a lot of money if I’d known that before I bought the 33 euro ticket). I did make it to the main places I wanted to see, Moulin Rouge and Montmartre, as well as seeing many other sights by bus when it was time to head back to the hotel.
After I got off the bus and starting walking, I walked past the Louvre and through the Jardin des Tuileries (a garden between the Louvre and la Place de la Concorde).
I’d tried to buy tickets to the Moulin Rouge online before I arrived, but they never came through. I asked about buying a ticket at the ticket office, who suggested the best seats were at the 11 pm show. While trying to decide I walked around the area and saw all the sex shops, and suddenly it didn’t seem like a good idea to be leaving the show by myself at 1 am in my dress.
The area around Montmatre seemed like what I envisioned to be typical Paris. The walk to the top was tiring, but worth it for the beautiful views (although it did seem a little hazy). I could not believe how crowded it was at the top, and there were many booths, which only later did I learn were there for a wine and cheese event or something (I thought they were always there.) The Sacre Coeur was beautiful inside, except for the shameful money makers inside.
Finally, I did some more walking around in the evenings after my conference. One night one of my co-workers joined me for some French wine after I ran into him after eating at a restaurant I didn’t realize was Romanian. The final night there we had a ‘social’ and some of us went to a couple bars afterward.
Alright that’s a lot of pictures, but I swear it’s a fraction of what I took. (Ok, I realize 7/8 is a fraction, but I mean a fraction much less than 1/3.) I’ll end this with a couple videos.