2016 Europe Days 15 and 16

Wednesday, May 11, 2016, Paris

After checking out the hotel, we pull our luggage in a light drizzle to Annecy train station to get on a direct train to Paris, France, our final stop on this European trip.

A four-hour train ride delivers us to Gare Lyon in the middle of Paris and we take the Metro to the St.-Placide Station, three blocks away from our hotel, the Hotel Le Littre. We chose this hotel because it offers rooms that have direct views of the Eiffel Tower, our most beloved structure in all of Paris.

It’s a cool, cloudy, and a dreary day in the city as it rains off and on. This is out fourth visit so we’re pretty familiar with Paris and its metro system. We buy metro passes that would be good for three days of unlimited metro ride.

We head to Trocadero to look at the Eiffel Tower close up and catch a wedding photo shoot right around the Tower near the café where we have coffee. We hit all the familiar sites including the Sacre Coeur Church then have dinner at a Greek restaurant in the Left Bank near the St. Michel Station.


View from our hotel room. Object is actually larger than appears here
Wedding at the foot of Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower on a rainy day
Street of Paris
Bike sharing stations in Paris
Ready to hit the streets
Sacre Coeur
In the neighborhood around Sacre Coeur
Breakfast at hotel
Hotel Le Littre has a nice breakfast spread
Visiting La Defense
Walking up the stairs in Montmartre
Lee in Montmartre
The famous grand arch
The most famous structure in Paris
On Champs Elysees Boulevard
The Louis Vuitton Shop on Champs Elysees
Thursday, May 12, 2016 Paris

Hotel Le Littre provides a great breakfast of hot eggs, sausages, and bacons; as well as cold items including fruits, yogurts, chesses and cold cut, and of course juices and coffee. They have a variety of bread and croissants and those go real well with the French confitures and cheeses.

It is much nicer today than yesterday and this is great because we are going to spend the whole day wandering various Paris neighborhoods.

Our first stop is La Defense, a place we haven’t visited before. The vast complex is northeast of Paris and contains residential, shopping, and office buildings. We take only a few pictures at the famous square arch since they are doing some work underneath it.

Arc de Triomphe
Crowded street
Some of the many pieces of art at the louvre
Pyramids at the Louvre Museum
Lee outside the Louvre
Always magnificent
Hotel Invalides
Walking to Rodin Museum
A labor protest going on 
Notre Dame on a cloudy day
Our next stop is Champ Elysees Boulevard. The street is as crowded as usual. Sidewalk cafes and shops are packed with mostly tourists. Motorcycles, cars, taxis, and delivery trucks run side by side on the wide boulevard and the wide roundabout near Arc de Triomphe and all of them honk as will.
Intricate details on Notre Dame doors and walls
Lee at Army Museum in Paris
We continue hopping on and off the metro stopping at various places including the Louvre Museum, Hotel Invalides, Rodin Museum (closed for the day), Notre Dame Church, the Left Bank, the St Paul area. Near the Army Museum, police in heavy gears are out in force to keep a student protest in check and the faint tear gas smell is hung in the air.

Paris in spring is cool and green and it seems nothing much have changed since the last time we visited the city (over five years ago). The metro is still efficient but unclean, people continue to leisure at cafes in sidewalk facing chairs, and tourism is still a major economic force.

In the evening, we end up in the oriental neighborhood near the Tolbiac metro station and have dinner at a family-run Vietnamese restaurant.

The arch over Notre Dame doors

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