After having such a great view of Paris from the tower in Montparnasse last night, I think we were all very ready to get out into the city and get a closer look at the sights. Our first stop on our guided sightseeing trip was Les Invalides. It is complex of buildings that commemorate the history of the French military. It is also where Napoleon Bonaparte is buried which makes it a must-see if you are interested in French history.
We took our time winding through the streets of Paris. For the grand finale, we made the stop everyone has been looking forward to since we arrived in Paris: the Eiffel Tower. From the Trocadero where we got off the coach, the view is amazing and in my opinion the best way to see the Eiffel Tower. I might prove myself wrong on our Seine cruise later this week, but more on that later. Everyone dreams of seeing the Eiffel Tower in person and this angle in particular is amazing.
This afternoon was free for the group but I joined our Tour Director Derek on a walking tour of Montmartre and the Sacré-Coeur Basilica. Montmartre is famous as a place where many famous artists (van Gogh, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec, Matisse and Renoir, to name a few) used to hang out and that tradition continues through to today. On every street corner you can see someone painting a portrait or a landscape.
The Sacré-Coeur is known as one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Europe, and for good reason. Since it sits on top of such a large hill, it is visible all around Paris—but it is something you really have to see up close.
We took a tour inside the basilica and then, we had an amazing viewpoint just outside the cathedral. Leaving the Sacré-Coeur, you can see all the way to Notre Dame and into the Southern part of the city. There is also a great park right in front of the cathedral that has musicians and street performers. It’s a nice place to relax after a long day.
Later this afternoon, I took a ride on the metro. It is such a quick and easy way to get around Paris. I highly recommend taking the metro over taxis. Just get a map, pay a few euros for a ticket and you can be anywhere in Paris pretty quickly. Also, some of the signs for the metro were famously designed in an Art Nouveau style by Hector Guimard—you will know them when you see them.
We have a very busy day tomorrow, among other things we will be visiting the Louvre and going on a tour of the Seine by boat! I’ll have the final verdict on the best view of the Eiffel Tower on this trip in tomorrow’s post.