Paris – 15th Jan

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Day two in Paris was much better – we both felt so refreshed and more energetic after a long sleep!  We missed breakfast but got a delicious toasted baguette on our way to St Michael’s fountain where the meeting point for the walking tour was.  It was about 4 hours in length and we had such a lovely French guide called Camille – she was so funny and vibrant.  There were 18 people on our tour and it was nice talking to them as we walked around.  Camille took us around the river like we had done the previous day but it was so different having someone tell us what exactly we were looking at and funny stories associated to the monuments etc.  We walked over a few different bridges – one was covered with locks people had attached to the sides and written their names on – was very cool!  We also went to the little island on the river Seine, hear about Notre Dame, the Oblix, the different arcs, the Louvre etc. We had a hot chocolate break in the middle and at the end we all went to a restaurant that had a special deal for us on the tour and I had salmon and white wine.  We decided to sign up for the night walking tour of Montmarte because Camille was also taking it and we had really enjoyed it so we bought tickets there.  We had 2 hours before we had to meet up again so we went to look at the Arc de Triomphe.  It was unbelievable!!  We had seen another arc near the Louvre but this one was so much bigger – again it was difficult to get a photo with it all in it!  But I really loved it – it was beautifully designed and the carvings were so detailed.  The sculptures at the front were so big as well.  Underneath was the grave of the Unknown Soldier and the eternal flame which was continuously guarded by soldiers after it had been extinguished on two separate occasions previously and (the people who had done it were flown back to their home country immediately!)  The  arc is on such a busy roundabout – 12 entrances/exits and 6 lanes with no lines on the road!!  It goes without saying that we walked underground instead of trying to cross!  We walked down the Avenue des Champs-Élyséeswhich was just so busy!   We walked down the expensive side!  (we didn’t buy anything)

We got the metro to Montmartre and came out right in front of the Moulin Rouge!  It was all lit up because it was dark and looked so cool!  After a coffee we met up with our walking tour – about 80% were people who had been on the morning walk!!  Montmartre is on  big hill so the tour was spent walking up the winding cobble streets past houses that artists such as Van Gough and Picasso lived in to the top of the hill where the big white church – Sacré-Cœur stood overlooking Paris.  As we walked around Camille showed us these alien murials in the street – it became a game – who could spot it first.  Aparently they are all over the world but Paris has the greatest number of them so they think the guy who is putting the up lives in Paris (stay tuned for my Rome posts as I spooted on there!!)  We went inside the church and it was another spendid church with decorated murials and stain glass windows.  At 8pm we went outside and saw that the Eiffel tower had begun its light show (lasts about 10 mins on the hour every night) We were so high up it and everything was small but you could still see the tower above everything else.  The light show was so cool – it looked like it was shimmering and sparkling and there were laser light beams off the top.  Camille told us that the man who designed the light show for the Millenium still receives royalties whenever it is on – so if people take professional photos and sell them he gets a share!!  Crazy!  Afterwards we all went to the bottom of Montmartre to a terribly stereotypical australian bar.  It was nice chatting to the people on the tour – stayed there for a couple of hours and got lots of good travelling tips.  Got back late but totally in love with Paris!

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