A Travellerspoint blog

France

Paris in December

Beautiful in any season

overcast -2 °C

Paris was grey and cold after the sunny heat of Tanzania. But such a beautiful city in any weather. After flying for 14 hours via Doha I arrived at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday morning and immediately jumped on the RER train to the city from the airport. Another European city with an excellent transit system. I was wondering by this time why it was still so dark but sunrise is 8:30 a.m. I walked to the hotel and luckily they could let me check in right away. I slept for a few hours then got up to explore the 17th arrondissement. I made my way past the Moulin Rouge and wound my way up the cobblestone streets of Montmartre to the basilica Sacre Coeur. Very beautiful! Artists in a square nearby were selling their paintings and this was quintessential Paris as we all imagine it. The next day I set off to walk the Champs Elysees, starting at the Arc de Triomphe, following it down to La Place de La Concorde where I rode the Big Wheel (ferris wheel) for a 360 degree view of the city. Then I walked through the Tuileries gardens and into the Louvre. Although you can spend days in the Louvre I was satisfied with a couple of hours. What an impressive place. The museum is housed over a fortress built in the 1200s and you can go into subterranean halls to see the original foundation. As I walked back to the Arc de Triomphe I stopped and indulged in a little Parisienne fashion shopping!

On Thursday I took the RER to Versailles to visit the Chateau. The gardens were even beautiful in their winter state. The palace was magnificent. I headed back into Paris and decided to go to the Musee d'Orsay to see the permanent collection. I was fascinated by the impressionist collection housed there. It is also an amazing building architecturally. After going back to the hotel to warm up (and so thankful I broke down and bought Kashmir pashmina in India) I ventured back out into the cold to meet Emilie for dinner. Emilie was a lovely lady we met in Mongolia on our Gobi Desert tour. She has a very interesting job with French immigration evaluating refugee claims and used to work in the Hague for the international court of justice. We had a very good time talking about our various adventures and sharing good food and wine. Oh by the way, the food in Paris, c'est magnifique! The Parisienne people were lovely and excused my broken French at every turn. One night I had a lengthy conversation with a shopkeeper who spoke no English. Well, she talked, I understood everything she said but my broken and halting replies were in Frenglish! But we talked for 30 minutes. On my last day I went to Notre Dame Cathedral to admire the amazing architecture and stained glass. I would highly recommend Paris. Anything negative I had ever heard was not what I experienced there at all.

I left on Saturday morning for my dreaded WOW airlines flight (Wow, we actually left on time; wow my luggage made it) to Iceland and other than a one hour delay because the cargo door wouldn't close, they were actually a good airline. I did, however, have to pay a lot for my bags online the night before but.... I arrived in Reykjavik, meeting Micah who had arrived early that morning and patiently waited for me all day. So wonderful to see my baby boy! I tried to blog from Paris but for some reason was being told that traveler's point was an unsafe website so not wanting to mess up my only means of communication (Eli's tablet Kellie kindly left me) I decided to wait. Stay tuned for Iceland adventures with pictures care of Micah's phone. A teaser... My fingers have only just thawed out after snorkeling in the Silfra fissure this morning....

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Posted by kelshell 20:52 Archived in France Comments (4)

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