We needed a sleep in, so at around 10am we left our apartment and headed out. Grabbed a baguette and cafe au lait and walked 50 mtrs to the Le Open Hop on Hop Off Bus Stop in Bastille. Once again, I had pre booked these tickets and planned it for the first full day in Paris, as a way to get our bearings. The tickets are about $70p/p and you can ride for a full 24hr period. Hopping on and off as you desire.
With 4 lines to choose from, and each line passes through a different arrondissement. (district) There are also headphones for the audio guide which is helpful for the historical references. So, sitting in the sun, taking in the amazing surroundings, buildings and atmosphere, you are reminded of what an infant country Australia is. Our history is new and shiny, and France is old and weathered. Polar opposites.
After cruising through the Bastille district, and sighting the famous Hotel de Ville, we switched lines and headed down to the famous Musee D’ Orsay and past the Eiffel Tower. We then jumped off to stroll the Champs-Elysées.
The Avenue des Champs-Élysées, with its cinemas, cafés, luxury specialty shops and clipped horse-chestnut trees, is arguably one of the world’s most famous streets, and is also one of the most expensive strips of real estate in the world. Several French monuments are also on the street, including the Arc de Triomphe and the Place de la Concorde. The name is French for Elysian Fields, the place of the blessed dead in Greek mythology. According to a much used description, the Champs-Élysées is la plus belle avenue du monde (“the most beautiful avenue in the world”)
Once again, a typically sunny, romantic stroll in Paris…until we walked past the Marriott Hotel and there was a large crowd gathering. A lot of people looking upwards to the open balconies above. Somebody famous perhaps? We stopped and asked…Who?….One Direction…And that was the end of our stroll. The kids stopped. Iphones ready to capture Harry, or Noel or Jack..or whatever their names are… The kids waited. We shopped. We waited. We waited. We then decided enough was enough and we left the crowd to wait and wait. A quick glimpse of the Arc De Triomphe and then walked over the Seine to catch the bus through St Germain.
The Boulevard Saint Germain is one of Paris’ most famous streets, situated on the left bank of the Seine River. The Boulevard starts from the Pont de Sully and curves into Pont de la Concorde, passing through 5th, 6th and 7th arrondissements. The shops, cafes and bars seem a little more opulent than Le Marais, and I am pretty certain this is the district to stroll wearing white jeans, the classic navy and white striped t-shirt, loafers and a pastel jumper tied around your shoulders. Tres Chic. Tres French. Tres st Germaine. Last time I was in Paris, we stayed on this side of the river, and I think…I prefer it.
Dinner was early for European standards, (8pm) at Bistro St Andre, and then we were ready to call it a day. The Boulevard St Germaine, takes you straight over the Seine and into Bastille, and then it was a quick walk back home to the apartment. Being a Saturday night, and apparently the longest day of the year, the cafes and bars were jammed and every corner had bands and singers performing. The sun set at around 11pm, but the partying in our district did not stop until the early hours of the morning.
What wonderful sights and sounds from our balcony window. Paris went all out to impress us tonight.