je t’aime Paris!
The last full day of our Contiki tour was packed full of events and amazing locations!
Our first stop was Fragonard perfumery. We were educated about the history of perfume making, proper application and the difference between perfume, eau de toilette and cologne. We were able to sample different types of fragrances and buy perfumes at a reduced price. It was really fascinating.
Our next stop was the Eiffel Tower. As a tour group we were able to skip the lines and go right up to the top. The view was pretty awesome. I was glad we had a bus tour the day before because I was able to look out at the city and spot the different sites. The Louvre is HUGE!!
Once I spotted different highlights, I made my way to the second level, spotted them again and went back down.
At the bottom, I had some time to kill so purchased some cotton candy and did people watching. There was a whole heck of a lot of kissing going on!
Our next stop was at the Arc de Triomphe, the starting point of the Champs-Élysées.
Because of the huge traffic circle around the arch, it’s much safer to go under the road than across it.
The arch was built by Napoleon for the troops to walk under whenever they came home from battle. There are names carved into it of different military leaders. Under the arch is also France’s tomb of the unknown solider.
Myself and some of my new friends from the tour then made our way down the Champs-Élysée. The stores, the glamour, the Parisian life… It was all on display on this avenue. Sephora’s red carpet, the macarons, the tents from fashion week… It was more than I realized in the moment.
While on the avenue, I needed to find a bathroom. What I found was actually kind of funny. It is a store that sells bathroom fixtures but has numerous bathrooms installed for the public to try out. It’s like taking a bathroom for a test drive! Each washroom is cleaned between uses, so it does cost 2 euros.
Right before we reached the Place de la Concorde, we stopped at a crepe vendor to curb our appetites. We got to watch the man make our crepes, slather them with our toppings of choice (Nutella for me) and enjoy the warm tasty oozy French treat. It was extra amazing as it was a little cold outside. The warmth sunk right in.
We decided that our next stop should be the Notre Dame Cathedral. We knew from the night before that it was on an island on the Seine. We walked down to the river and followed along the river to the Pont des Arts. This is the bridge that is covered with padlocks.
Couples will write their names on a padlock and attach it to the bridge. Unfortunately, the weight of the locks is taking a toll on the structure and city workers have to cut them off. While walking across the bridge, pedestrians are faced with plywood covering all the rails to prevent more padlocks from being installed. It’s kind of sad that the location where couples come to leave a token of their love in the city of love is now getting weak.
We made our way along the other side of the river until we could see the towers where Victor Hugo’s famous character Quasimodo rung the bells.
We went inside the famous church. I was actually surprised that it wasn’t bigger. I had always pictured it to be much larger than it actually is.
It is a beautiful church. The stain glass windows, the gargoyles, the many statues inside. I am glad that I was able to go and take a walk inside. There was also a mass taking place while I toured around the outter interior.
Once back outside, we walked back to the Louvre where we met up with some others from our tour group. I know that I mentioned it before, but holy moly is the Louvre ever enormous. We walked through the centre courtyards until we reached the main courtyard. You know the one with the giant glass pyramid.
We didn’t have time to go inside so we made our way through the Tuileries garden. I bet that this garden is very popular in the summer. There are lawn chairs around the fountain that would be ideal to sit in and read.
Once back at the Place de la Concorde, we met up with the Contiki coach and went back to our hotel to prepare for our last night together: the Moulin Rouge.
It is my opinion that the Moulin Rouge is heavily over rated. It is nothing like the movie, not even a little. The main performers were tacky but perhaps that’s part of the appeal. The performers between acts however were what made the show worth seeing.
If you yourself are on the fence about going to see it if you’re ever in Paris, don’t let it haunt you to miss it. I have seen much more entertaining shows for much less money.
I was glad that I went and spent our last tour night with everyone all dressed up. There was wine and champagne which made it a bit of a celebration.
The next day we would all go our own ways home.