May 13, 2016
We are in Paris! After an early morning flight on EasyJet (a really great airline for in country travel) we made it to Paris and set up our new base of operations at our new address in the Montmartre district (18th Arrondissment) on l’Abbe Patureau. It is a little out of the way from the big tourist sites but this address offers much in the way of normal quiet neighborhood Parisian living. With easy access to two subway stations, we can pretty much be anywhere in Paris in a very short time frame (at least the areas we plan on visiting). Our leasing agent at In.Beau.Paris was very helpful during out stay. (A quick note on renting apartments in Paris…don’t worry about it. Do your research and you’ll be fine. We have rented through various companies and have never had a bad experience.)
After unpacking in our very comfortable apartment (100 sq meters!) we hit the exploration trail and made a short trek (uphill!) to one of the local restaurants for lunch and the nearby Sacre-Coeur Basilica. The Basilica was having a service while we visited so we got to experience the gigantic organ at full volume. I’m not a catholic, but the experience was very humbling by the shear beauty of the building’s architecture, art, music and light.
From the experience of the Basilica for the living, we went to the other extreme and visited the most famous cemetery in Paris, if not the world. Pere Lachaise. This involved diving into the world of the subway system which was a good introduction to reading the signs of the underworld. (Sorry…:)) And you cannot go to Pere Lachaise without searching out one of the most infamous American residents, Jim Morrison. Since 1971, Americans have made the pilgrimage to his tombstone (for what reason I can’t imagine) but so did we and I’m glad we got to see it. Of course in searching for his grave site, you can also come across other notable musicians like Chopin. But, it started raining (which is a daily occurrence in Paris) so our stay was cut short both by the rain and the fact that we had pre-purchased tickets for this afternoon to visit the top of the Eiffel Tower to watch the sunset.
So, if you come to Paris and you have never been to the top of the Eiffel Tower, I would recommend it…at least once. And go to the very top. It’s crowded, busy with street vendors selling miniature Eiffel Towers that light up, champagne, roses and other romanticized trinkets to get you in the mood with your lover…very French. It’s easy to avoid the hard sell by saying “merci non” and keep walking. The spectacular views will reward you (if the weather permits) for making the trek to the top. You should pre-purchase your tickets which makes it somewhat of a gamble–as it was today with the rainy weather–but we lucked out as the clouds cleared and the views were as advertised–spectacular.
So, our first day in Paris was truly on par with what we were expecting. I have left out many details of our day but here are a few pictures to show you some of the fun.
P.S. I’m experiencing some technical difficulties so as soon as I can post more photos, there will be more to see from today.