This week, we went back to Paris to share some time with Wesley’s sister, Emily. It is her first visit to Europe and she is oh so excited to be on the vacation of a lifetime. Although our objective was to make sure Emily got to see everything she wanted to see, we still enjoyed the sights ourselves. The train from Breda only took a few hours and we arrived late in the evening for a late french dinner with Emily.
The next morning we took a hop-on-hop-off bus around the city to the centre. We started by taking the bus to the Conciergerie and St. Chappelle. Our first objective was the see the beautiful saint chapelle church, which I honestly think is much more inspiring than Notre Dame, simply due to the stained glass. Emily had learned from Rick Steves that the prison called the conciergerie was just around the corner. Neither Wes nor I had ever been there before, but Marie Antoinette had (it was were she was held before she was killed). Despite it being a prison, there were still beautiful vaulted ceilings, so if I HAD to be imprisioned, I certainly would pick that one. I’m not sure seeing the prison was worth 8 euro, so I was very thankful that because I am now a Dutch resident and still 25 years old, I was able to get into all the (cultural) attractions for free!
We then wandered over to Notre Dame, where a service was going on. A woman sang a beautiful song, and Emily lit a candle for all the homeless animals. We then went to the bus stop and stood in the rain for a half hour and nearly froze, but eventually the bus showed up. Note to self: stick to the metro.
We rode the bus to the the area around Moulin Rouge. After some quick pictures, we enjoyed a bizarrely expensive and bland lunch across the street from the burlesque house and then hoofed it up the hill to Sacre Coeur. What an amazing view! Another first was that we finally went inside the Sacre Coeur. No photos allowed, but we will always remember the beautiful mosaic ceiling with GIANT Jesus and GIANT Pope. To end the day we headed over to the Musee d’Orsay and took a leisurely stroll though the museum. There were a few paintings I found I really enjoyed (le chevalier aux fleurs and Signac’s work), and Wesley even found a few works of art to admire (although I must say his taste is a bit… uhh… creepy). I guess we prefer the Musee d’Orsay to the Louvre, who knew?
The next day we started out by seeing Napoleon’s tomb and the army museum. I had been here before and once again, the army museum was very boring. It was funny that each room had at least two guards. To guard all the nothing they had there. It was strange that they would have more guards at the army museum than at the Louvre. Our second activity for the day was a tour in the cemetery. Yes, the cemetery. I openly questioned the wisdom of this choice but it ended up being the best part of the day, thanks to our guide. She was a funny girl from Pennsylvania and had endless amusing stories about all the famous people buried in pere lechaise cemetery. Apparently, it will cost you € 10,000 per square meter for every ten years you want to be buried there. INSANE. We saw some graves of a few famous people, like Chopin and Jim Morrison.
After having a better than expected time among the dead, we took the metro over to the Arc de Triumph and went for a leisurely walk on the Champs Elysees. We spent our evening dashing though the Louvre for Emily to see the ‘famous stuff’. She promised she would be able to see the Louvre in 45 minutes, and I think it didn’t even take that long. What an efficient traveler! Feeling tired, we decided to take a taxi that was more expensive than it was supposed to be back to the hotel area. We again had a very lovely dinner at a restaurant and enjoyed some french wine. The next morning we grabbed some croissants and headed to our respective travel places and left. Goodbye Paris!