Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Views of Paris from the Top ... of Everything

View from Notre Dame

 My introduction to Paris was bleak.

Don't get me wrong -- I was ridiculously excited to see the Paris of my books, movies and dreams. That Paris, however, didn't appear until later, many hours after we had landed at Charles de Gaulle Airport at 6:30 a.m. on a gray and drizzly Sunday morning.

We rented an apartment in the Oberkampf neighborhood, slightly outside of the city center, but we couldn't check-in until 11:30 a.m. We found a cafe near the apartment and leisurely ate a breakfast of croissants and bread under a canopy outside, watching Parisians carry their baguettes home.

Paul fell asleep literally within minutes of collecting our apartment keys, but I was too excited to shut my eyes. I gave him an hour before gently nudging him awake. We were in Paris! Who wants to sleep?

We immediately visited the towers of Notre Dame, which ended up being not only be favorite stop in Paris, but maybe of the entire trip. After climbing a neverending spiral staircase, I was rewarded with amazing views over all of Paris, including my first sight of the Eiffel Tower. Here was the Paris I dreamed of seeing, gray skies or not.

From Notre Dame

From Notre Dame

The view was breathtaking, but it was only the first of many we saw throughout our four-day visit. Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe, the Pantheon, Sacre Coeur ... the number of incredible views became something of a joke. Do we really need to see the Eiffel Tower or the hill of Montmartre again? Ahh, the terrible troubles we faced.

Ironically, the worst of the wonderful views were from the Eiffel Tower. It's easy to understand why. Who wants a view of Paris that doesn't include the Eiffel Tower?

By day three, we were weighing the merits of yet another excellent view with the wear and tear of yet another spiral staircase on our aching feet. But the views were always worth it. Always.

Champs-Elysees, from the Arc de Triomphe

From the Arc de Triomphe

From the Arc de Triomphe

Sacre Coeur, from the Arc de Triomphe

From Sacre Coeur

From the Pantheon

From the Pantheon

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...