Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Symphony of Sights and Sounds

Jennifer and I are a little overwhelmed with all of the sights and sounds that we've taken in since arriving in Paris yesterday. Around every corner, the architecture never ceases to amaze us and there are so many famous landmarks to discover and explore that this is truly a city built for adventure. We walked around the city for about eleven hours today before returning to our hotel room this evening, stopping only briefly for a bite to eat or an espresso :-)

While the Metro system here in Paris is very straightforward, we decided that we'd also take advantage of the boat tours that are available. We bought a two day pass for the 'Batobus', a tour boat that stops at about eight points along both shores of the Seine River. We hopped on and off the tour boat at many popular destinations, including the Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral and Musée d'Orsay.

As much as we've enjoyed all of the sights along the way, the sounds that we've been bombarded with also lend the the charm and ambience of this amazing city. From the little boy who hopped onto our metro car to belt out a karaoke version of La Bamba before passing his hat around, to the sirens and scooters, to the trumpet players walking down the sidewalk past all the outdoor cafes, there is no shortage of stimulation in Paris.

Another thing that has amazed us are the scam artists who try to take advantage of all the tourists. Last night, we were approached by a gentleman who bent over and picked up a gold wedding ring at our feet. He insisted that we keep and told us that it must be our lucky day... Thirty seconds later, he was tapping me on the shoulder asking if I could spare some euros to buy a sandwich. I politely turned him down and returned his ring, suggesting that he find somene else to give it to. This afternoon, near the Louvre, we saw a well-dressed woman pulling the exact same scam on several other tourists.

Tomorrow's our last day in Paris, and we'll be returning to Brussels for a late dinner with Greg and Ross. Thanks to all who contributed their favourite sights in Paris. We'll try to cover even more of them tomorrow before we have to leave :-)

Thanks for reading,

Preparing to hop on our 'Batobus' cruise boat, with the Louvre in the distance.

Passing the Notre Dame Cathedral from our boat tour on the Seine River.

A quaint flower market that we stumbled upon near Notre Dame Cathedral.

A view of the front of the Notre Dame Cathedral...

There is a tonne of incredible stained glass inside the Notre Dame Cathedral.

A grand exhibit hall featuring paintings at the Louvre.

There were just a few people crowded around the Mona Lisa, the star attraction at the Louvre...

A thriving district just north of the Hotel de Ville, where we stopped for dinner.


jd+hj said...

Did you walk around the Mona Lisa with your Dan Brown books? I hear that that really brings out the loonies.

Anonymous said...

Looks like you had a very full day in Paris. We were amazed at how much walking we did and how close in proximity a lot of the major sites are. Your picture of the Mona Lisa made me laugh, it is exactly as we remember it...hundreds of people with cameras up in the air trying to capture the shot of this tiny picture you can barely see behind glass! Enjoy the rest of your trip :) Maggie

Anonymous said...

I am really enjoying your daily travel commentaries.Thanks to the internet I feel as if I am standing in Paris right beside you. All you would need to have your Mother-in-law accompanying you on your first real vacation in years! Grannie Thompson would be telling you to beware of the professional pick-pockets in the Paris train stations. She & Grandpa observerd them while they "worked". Obviously you have to be pretty fit to travel so I had better hit the treadmill. Give my best to Greg & Ross when you see them tonight. MJ

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