I love Paris in the winter…

by sam on 12/28/2006

Although I admit that it would probably be more pleasant to actually visit in the spring.

Pictures are being uploaded now.

Here’s a breakdown of my weekend.

I landed on Saturday afternoon, and immediately upgraded my room to one with a view of the Eiffel Tower. Unfortunately, the fog was pretty thick and it made actually seeing the Tower a bit of a challenge (it shows up less well in photos than it did in real life). and took a quick walk around the Saint Germain neighborhood, down to Les Deux Magots. It’s a spot I remember from my trip ten years ago, and back in my scrapbook buried somewhere in NY (back in the dark ages before websites and digital cameras), I’ve got a photo of myself, backpack and all, standing out front. All in all, a good way to orient myself for the first day (and confirmation that my decision to stay in the same neighborhood was a good one).

Sunday morning I woke up with my grand plan to go to the Musee D’Orsay. I’ve mentioned in previous entries the trials and tribulations I’ve experienced in the past with this museum, but this time? success! The Orsay was open, and I probably took more pictures than I really needed to. Here’s the entrance, and here’s some highlights…the building itself is a work of art, having formerly been a railway station…scale models of the Opera GarnierDegasMonetVan GoghCezanneToulous-Lautrec…and Gauguin. Just for a few.

After I was done with the Orsay (and I’m pretty sure I missed stuff, but that just gives me an excuse to go back again, right?), I walked all the way over to the Eiffel Tower (starting here), passing the National Assembly, a whole bunch of bridges, Les Invalides (where Napoleon is entombed), the Tsar Alexander III Bridge and finally hitting the Tower. Once there, I picked up one of the NY Times recommended boats run by Bateaus Parisiens, and took a whole bunch more pictures, starting here, and which took me past the Louvre, Ile de la Cite, Notre Dame, and the smallest house in Paris. Exhausted, I hit dry land back at the Eiffel tower, and took a cab back to the hotel in time to actually see the light show at sunset from my balcony.

Monday was Christmas, and, not surprisingly, everything was closed. So I took another walk, this time to the Louvre grounds, and wandered through the Jardin des Tulieres, where I ate a crepe and got stalked by some seriously aggressive birds, who finally won. At the other end of the Jardin des Tulieres, is the Place de la Concorde, where they used to behead people and now there’s a ferris wheel. I’m not sure this is progress. From there, I trekked up the Champs-Elysees to the Arc d’Triomphe.

Tuesday was my departure day, but I thought I could squeeze in actually going inside the Louvre before I left. Unfortunately, the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays (I am happy to say that I did get in 10 years ago, so I’ve already seen the Mona Lisa), so I resigned myself to wandering around Saint-Germain some more (and admiring how Paris makes even the subway seem pretty). Compare the hotel I stayed in 10 years ago with the one I stayed in now!

So that’s it. I didn’t take pictures of things like the hotel bar, even though i managed to have at least one drink there every day, or the craziness that is flying EasyJet (unassigned seating by group doesn’t work so well when you all have to take the same damn bus to the airplane way out on the tarmac, yet people still all push to the front of the "line").

All in all, I admit to only seeing a fraction of the city, but it was a good fraction. I enjoyed myself, drank some champagne, saw some pretty things, and managed to make that first trip (oh so many years ago) a bit of nostalgia rather than the city-souring experience it had previously been in my head. I’d definitely go back. But next time I’d go in the spring, when the trees and gardens are blooming. That would only make it better.

[Update 2015] In an effort to reduce the number of holdover pages on the blog, I am slowly (very slowly) integrating these albums into the appropriate historical posts on the blog itself. As such, all photos now appear directly below.

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