On the 8 hours bus journey from London to Paris, it takes:
- 2 hours on the road from London to Dover;
- 1.5 hours on the ferry across the English Channel; and
- 4.5 hours on the road from Calais to Paris.
Once in this city of enlightenment, I am besotted by its beauty, bewildered by its crowds. August is peak tourist season. The queues are immense.
Wisely, I purchase a 4-day Museum Pass, which allows me to skip the queues for numerous sites. I visit as many museums as possible – at least two per day - to make the most of the Pass.
They include the Palace of Versailles, which has far too many people.
Sainte-Chapelle with its magnificent stained glass.
And the iconic, Lourve Museum.
Among the works being displayed is the painting, Mona Lisa. By far, it has the largest audience.
Despite the crowds, changeover is quick. People take photos and leave. Within minutes, I move to the front.
Standing in front of the Mona Lisa, she holds my gaze, looks at me. Her eyes alluring...
The museum that I enjoy the most is the less-visited but worthwhile Army Museum (Musée de l'Armée). It has an interesting exhibition of French military history and includes the tomb of Napoleon I. Highly recommended for the war history aficionado.
Paris is like an open-air museum. I walk for hours admiring the buildings.
Enjoying the views. This is from the top of the Arc de Triomphe.
At the end of each day, I return tired but full to a small, comfy room that I booked through the website, New York Habitat. This is my first time using their website. Their accommodations are worth considering.
Paris has been a whirlwind for ten days. Despite walking aplenty and staying in a local neigbourhood, I have minimal interaction with both locals and tourists alike. Perhaps it’s the sheer number of tourists, or my lack of French but I don't think the people are rude or arrogant. They have an extraordinary heritage. If I was French, I would be proud too.
May we meet again, dear Paris.