L’Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, la Tour Eiffel, la Cimetiere Pere Lachaise et les Catacombes

L’Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, la Tour Eiffel, la Cimetiere Pere Lachaise et les Catacombes

Another busy yet wonderful few days in Paris.  We’ve been to all corners of the city by foot and by Metro, seen all sorts of things, met interesting people and generally had a great time.  Until we pick up the campervan (tomorrow), we’ve decided that this is our holiday week so we’ve been acting like typical tourists and blown a decent amount of Euro having lunches out, visiting attractions etc.  Going to be quite different when we get into the routine in the campervan…

So we headed to the Champs Elysees to check out the shops and wander up to the Arc de Triomphe.  It seems that Parisians had never seen a pair of shorts before judging by the stares I got – however the problem was I’d only packed one pair of jeans and after a couple of  flights and a few days of wear they were in dire need of a wash.

So we took advantage of the soldes and picked up a new pair on the way.  Plenty of fancy shops with prices to match – 40,000 euro watches and the like.

We got down to the Arc de Triomphe and climbed to the top for a great view of the city.  Aside from the big monuments the Parisian cityscape is rather jumbled but it does have a certain charm.

Later that afternoon we headed to the other side of the city to visit a famous Marche de Puces (flea market) which was pretty underwhelming – just a bunch of stalls selling clothes in a dodgy part of the city.

Next day we headed back to Notre Dame which is only 10 mins walk from where we are staying.  This time we did the tour and climbed up the towers.  Again a great view of the city and a chance to get up close to the gargoyles and, as good timing would have it, hear the bells ring out on the hour.

Next on the list was the Cimetiere Pere Lachaise – a huge rambling cemetery with very impressive headstones, tombs and crypts.  We checked out a few of the famous inhabitants including Jim Morrison, Edith Piath and Oscar Wilde.  James hiding below before he tried to stuff Abbie in a tomb…

Oscar Wilde’s lipstick covered grave

Good luck or bad luck?  I can never remember…

Here’s a cool metro station we changed at on the way somewhere.  Very impressed with the metro – in peak hour the trains come every 2 minutes!  Out of peak they are every 3-4 minutes and they are fast and well appointed.  Giant touch screen maps make it easy to plot a route but best of all the performers everywhere make it a worthwhile visit in itself.

Next up, following on from taking the kids to the cemetery, we thought we’d take them underground to Les Catacombes.  Short history is, in the 18th century, they were running out of room for bodies above ground so they dug up all these graves and stashed the bones underground in these old mines deep under the city.  An amazing 6 million people’s remains are down there today…  This is a must-see in Paris!

Lastly, a quick pic of the Eiffel Tower when we returned last night.  Although raining, it was well worth the trip to see it all lit up

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