Saturday, December 29, 2012

Paris Day 2

{This group of posts pertains to my Christmas vacation in which my family came to visit me. The posts are based on notes I took during the trip and then wrote up after returning. They are post-dated to reflect the proper sequence of events. This is Part 11, the final installment in this series.}

The title of this post is a little misleading in that, technically speaking, it was our third day since coming to Paris. However I think of it as Paris Day 2 because it was the second day we actually spent in Paris. It was also the last full day of our trip.

We started once again with the Arc de Triomphe and luckily it was much sunnier.

Arc de Triomphe in the sun
The Arc was started by Napoleon but finished after his death by King Louis-Phillipe. Napoleon wanted to make Paris, his capitol, the most beautiful city in the world. I don't know if I'm in a position to judge, but I think he did a pretty nice job.

Eiffel tower as seen from the top of the Arc de Triomphe

Montmartre and the Basilique de Sacre-Coeur
 The views from the top are excellent. If you want great views in Paris, I recommend the Montparnasse, Montmartre, or the top of the Arc de Triomphe. Montparnasse is the one and only skyscraper within Paris proper. Why? Well, basically as the rest of the world was modernizing, someone said "Hey, let's build a skyscraper in Paris. It'll look more modern." And everybody was like "I don't really know...that sounds like a bad idea..." "No, come on, it'll be fun!" "Ok..." *builds montparnasse* "Oh no! No! No, that is awful! We must never do this again. Ban all skyscrapers in Paris!" And they did. Thus Montparnasse is the ugliest building in Paris, but they have a roof top terrace where you can go and take pictures. You may have noticed I didn't include the top of the Eiffel Tower. You have to wait forever, and then the Eiffel Tower isn't in any of your pictures. Speaking of which...

La Tour Eiffel
 Then we wandered over to Notre Dame, which is celebrating its 850th birthday. Happy Birthday Notre Dame!

Then we decided to go over to the Basilique de Sacre Coeur. Montmartre is the hill it is on, by the way. This was a mistake. When I went last time, it was morning and there was no one around. The place was really truly deserted. Not this time. So many people. You could barely get up to the basilica and then there were even more people there. It was so crowded. It's beautiful, and when there aren't so many people the views are great. Moral of the story: don't go to Montmartre on a Saturday afternoon.

We had a nice quiet dinner and then we settled in for the night, our last night in Paris. The next morning it would be back to Caen for me, and back to the states for them. All in all a great trip.

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