To make the most of our few days we bought a Paris Visite transport pass. For £30 each we had unlimited travel by metro, bus or train anywhere in the city....and trust me, we certainly got our money's worth. If we couldn't decide where to go or what to see we just jumped on the nearest metro and let that decide for us which way we were going. Most Metro trains are every 3 minutes and are very clean and not overly crowded except in rush hour.
Our first monument was the Arche de Triomphe. Last time we went the traffic was just grid-locked all around it but this time it was much better.
The Arch is being cleaned, not a job you'd want unless you were OK with heights!
It was a bit surreal seeing these Buddhist monks being normal tourists and photographing everything. They were having a great time.
The weather was glorious all the time we were in Paris and the recent smogs had thankfully cleared. Last week the pollution had been so bad that the government waived Metro charges in an attempt to get commuters to leave their cars behind.
We spent a pleasant couple of hours chilling out in the Luxembourg Gardens one afternoon.
One area was cordoned off with warning signs to stay away as there were several bee hives with swarms of bees buzzing around.
The bees were there to pollinate the specimen apple trees in one section of the park. There were many different "heritage" varieties some of which were just starting to blossom.
Last time we visited Notre Dame it was far to busy to go inside but there were no queues this time so we went for a look around.
The outside of the building is very ornate and has actually been cleaned since our last visit.
Inside is just as spectacular.
You can't go to Paris and not visit the Eiffel Tower now can you?
We didn't bother going up but we did come back at night to see it illuminated and watch it "flash & sparkle" for 10 minutes on the hour. I prefer it at night. It's absolutely spectacular!
Wouldn't you think we'd have enough of canals and boats here in England? Not so, as usual we ended up walking along the Canal St. Martin which is wide and has huge staircase locks but there was a distinct lack of boats.
We also walked along the "tow-path" beside the River Seine. This river cruise ship came past and tried to get under the bridge beside the Eiffel Tower
but got stuck!
The skipper had to reverse out
while crew members removed the railings from the roof
15 minutes later it just squeezed through.
I think if we ever move our boat to France I'd like to moor here.
One of my favourite things to do in France is browse the markets. I'm not interested in the tat that some of the stalls sell, just the food!
individual salad leaves, not mixed pre-washed packs....and check-out the white asparagus!
fresh pastas and gnochi
pigeon and quail legs
and the most beautiful tomatoes you've ever seen......and they smelled pretty good too.
We couldn't resist and had ourselves a little picnic in the park.
One day we ended up at the Pere-Lachaise cemetery. This is the final resting place of many famous people, both French and foreigners.
It's a huge, weirdly beautiful place set on a hill with spectacular views over Paris. At 116 acres it's easy to get lost so local shops sell maps showing where the "celebrities" are buried.
Amongst the ancient tombs we found this new and unmarked one which looked really out of place.
The composer Rossini has his own memorial although his remains have been returned to his home in Italy.
Chopin is buried here but we couldn't find his grave. Amazingly there was quite a crowd around this one. It belongs to the ex-Doors lead singer Jim Morrison who died in Paris in 1971 aged 28. The area around his grave is fenced off in an attempt to stop fans defacing the neighbouring graves with messages of love for the singer.
That's enough for today. If you're still interested join me again tomorrow for part 2.