Romantic Paris, a different type of destination for this solo traveler. My travels usually take me to far off mountains and hidden waterfall locations. But, the draw of Paris pulled me to this major metropolitan. What’s a hobo to do in a place like this? I wander, from one attraction to another and Paris has multiple places of interest, and that’s what I did. In late September, I took a short flight from Lisbon and arrived in the rain. I feared that the rain would affect my visit here and I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the sights. I had heard that the weather changes often in a single day in Paris and that’s what exactly happened. By the time I reached my hotel and unpacked, the rain had stopped. I grabbed my backpack and camera and proceeded to wander around the neighborhood. I had booked this hotel because of its vicinity to the Eiffel Tower so I walked toward the famous landmark.
Within minutes I was at the park of Champe de Mars and viewed the tower for the first time. It captured my complete attention more than I thought it would. I couldn’t stop looking at it. I walked toward the Eiffel Tower, taking multiple photos and video on the way, until I got to the street near the tower and took more photos. Daylight was fading so I walked back to my hotel and visited some shops on the way. As I walked pass the lobby, the hotel attendant asked if I was going to the Eiffel Tower tonight to see the lights? I didn’t know about it but I definitely was going to do that now. I’m glad I did it that first night because it rained the last two nights I was there. The light show was beautiful and I’m glad I didn’t miss it.
My plan to see the city was to use one of the hop-on hop-off tour buses. I purchase a two-day pass and on my second day in Paris I used the bus and stopped at multiple locations. I spent lunch at the Luxemburg Palace and had a wonderful meal in the Luxemburg Gardens. The restaurant had outdoor tables and I picked one under the trees. The beautiful garden was a great place to relax and take a break from my wanderings.
On the third day I visited Notre Dame and braved the long queue to enter the church. The line extended to the end of the courtyard but it moved quicker than it appeared. I was in the church in less than 20 minutes. The interior of the church is magnificent and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Paris.
I also wanted to see the gargoyles and the bell tower of the church and I knew it would take some work ascending up the hundreds of stairs to the tower. To visit the bell tower, you must wait in a separate queue at the side of the church. I suggest you go there first to reserve your entrance time and then enter the church. If you don’t do this, you’ll have to wait 40 to 60 minutes for the next available time so make use of your time wisely by getting a ticket first and then see the inside of the church. The iconic gargoyles are amazing and if you continue to the top, you’ll be rewarded with an incredible view of the city.
My next stop was the hub of the city, Arc de Triomphe, which is the center of twelve radiating avenues. The monument was built to honor those who fought and died in the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. The design is inspired by the Roman Arch of Titus. The Arc is in the center of a round-about and traffic is quite busy with cars quickly buzzing by. Visitors walk along the center divider hoping to take that special Instagram worthy photo. And some risk their lives by crossing the street, hoping they timed it perfectly and aren’t hit by an on-coming vehicle. There’s no need to do that, there’s an underground walkway that will get you to the Arc safely. In the tunnel, you can purchase a ticket to ascend to the top of the Arc.
Paris is a vast city with multiple attractions and my short time here didn’t allow for more in-depth visits to more points of interests. I knew it would take the whole day to visit the Louvre so I left that for another time. Some of the other locations I made quick stops at were the obelisk, Pantheon, Hotel Deville, Bastille, and Avenue des Champs-Elysees.
I knew I wouldn’t have enough time to see all of the city in three days. Iceland was my primary focus on this world wind expedition through Europe. This quick visit gave me a glimpse of this wonderful city and I’ll be better prepared the next time I return to Paris.