Tourism in Paris

Marie Damman / http://mcdamman.tumblr.com
Marie Damman / http://mcdamman.tumblr.com

I use to go to Paris, to see part of my family, and now, I am having more and more friends there too.

I take the occasion to make some touristic stuff. This year, I went to the Eiffel tower, to the flyboat, Grand Palais and to the Marais neighborhood.

Eiffel Tower

I wanted to try the new glass floor. It is quiet impressive even with its golden stripes on it. Tourists like to take pictures on it or try to step on it right in front of the entrance. Actually, you can find the glass floor all the way around the center of the tower.

This touristic attraction is the most famous in France. So, if you want to get it, you’d rather try during a weekday while the kids are at school, and on the morning. I tried a Friday morning around 10-11 am and we had no lines.

Also, pay attention to which line you’re getting into. There is one for the elevator and another one for the stairs. When it is crowed, two of each is open.

Down the Eiffel Tower, there are many touristic tricks such as the black street sellers. There are also the small shops right down the feet that are really expensive. If you walk a bit further, on the side of the tower, you can find a shiny souvenir shop, and a coffee shop next to it. I compared, prices are a bit cheaper there.

Flyboat

We tried “Vedette du Pont Neuf” which was 14 euros per person. This was for the basic tour. What was nice with them is that you can upgrade your flat fee by adding a snack time for 6 euros. They also have dinner boats.

On the boat, they have a recorder speaking in Spanish, English and French. It is quiet a lot for one touristic attraction you see, so sometimes you hear an announcement to another one, because the interesting buildings are next to each other.

At the beginning of the tour, before to start on, a photographer takes photo of you, the group and each. Of course you always think “I am not going to buy it is going to be expensive”. Well, at the end, you buy one for 10€, because it does look good even though the hair fly with the wind.

Grand Palais

It means Big Palace. It is right in front of the Petit Palais, the Small Palace. It hosts many big exhibitions. When I went, we had the possibility to see Hokusai and Niki de Saint Phalle.

If you want to see one of those, you’d better book your visit. It is really crowded otherwise. You can wait up to three hours against 20-30 minutes when you previously book.

We only saw the exhibition of Niki de Saint Phalle, which was really interesting. That artist knew the incest by her father. She expresses the power that women should take in the society of 20 years ago with her Nanas, and the dirt side of her feeling. She could predict the September 11th and the death of Kennedy in huge shot-painting.

Inside the exhibition, you cannot see the glass roof. The rooms for Niki de Saint Phalle seemed pretty small too. In 30-50 minutes, we were done looking.

Marais neighborhood

This Jewish neighborhood feels a bit hippy and comfy. You can hear, and see people on a terrace, throwing their cigarettes under the table, or watch a band playing capoeira while playing guitar.

The place is really animated. There’s always something happening. With the walking tour, led by Charlotte, we discovered the place where Parisians like to go. Our guide showed us the hidden parks, surrounded by beautiful frenchy building.

Charlotte also told us part of history of her neighborhood. She really knew things and when she didn’t, she said so. She is young and dynamic, also fast-talker but her English accent was really good for a French (They all improved their English since few years ago.)

Once the tour was over, we were in a park, a bit hidden. The guide helped us once again to steer us to our next destination. She always advises to get lost, as we all do as travelers.

So we did.

And at some point, we met Brad Pitt, presenting his new movie Fury, at the Invalides. He waved a couple times to its fan –mostly groupies- and left. Again at the Invalides, we met war veterans walking into the court. The whole site was closed. The place is tribute to French soldiers.

Paris is a nice place to go, where more and more people speak English, sometimes automatically even though you are a French-speaker. Though, waiters & waitresses always forget something and you have to call them over and over again before to be well served. On the other hand, they are nice, especially waters, smiling, apologizing, explaining what went wrong and sometimes joking. Once I told one of them that my mom was gladder to come here than me, because the waiter was my age.

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