I first visited Paris with my husband in the July of 1984 shortly after we had moved to Braunschweig in northern Germany, where my husband worked on a railway project.
About three months after our move we booked a 6 day bus tour to Paris, and were surprised to see that we were the only youngsters and also the only non-German speaking passengers on the bus. Anyway that was actually to our advantage as everyone was quite curious about us and very helpful during our trip.
We stayed at the 3 star Hotel Ordener at 131 Ordener st, on the 17th arrondissement, now known as Hôtel Les Jardins de Montmartre. The decor looks so much better now...
Our days were mostly free to roam around at our pleasure and we would get together for dinner with the other passengers, as dinner was included in the ticket.
|In front of the Church of Sacre Coeur and Eiffel Tower|
The other highlights were a visit to a show at the Moulin Rouge, a bit naughty to our young and naive minds and a visit to the beautiful gardens and Palace of Versailles.
|My husband and I at Versailles|
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In November 2011, en route to Lisbon I returned to Paris, landing at Charles de Gaulle airport on a very cold -5C (23F) day, to meet up with my daughter Karina who was living and working in Paris at the time.
After finishing her Chemical engineering degree in Lisbon, Karina had gone to Nangis, about 80km south west of Paris to work for 6 months on a graduate program with Shell.
After those 6 months she went to Paris to do a specialty course and lived in a tiny 30sqm (322sqf) 6th floor apartment on Rue La Fayette, 10th arrondissement, not far from Gare du Nord.
Because Karina went to college during the day I did most of the sightseeing on my own, catching the underground at either of the two stations near the apartment - Louis Blanc or Jaures - to the areas I wanted to visit.
I revisited a few of the monuments I already knew, and others that I didn't, such as the Musée Rodin and the Musée D'Orsay.
The Musée D'Orsay, on the Seine's left bank is housed in the former Gare D'Orsay railway station that was built between 1898 and 1900.
It's an imposing building, no photos were allowed inside the museum, but I saw a lot of people taking photos of the big clock/window on one of the side towers of the building and also sneaked a photo.
|The D'Orsay Museum with an elephant statue facing it|
|The famous window/clock also photographed from inside and other statue a|
The Musée Rodin was housed in the former Hotel Biron, that was at some stage put up for sale, but several artists including Auguste Rodin took up residence there until the build was sold to the French Government in 1911..
Rodin negotiated to live in the building for the rest of his life and in exchange donated all his works - statues, drawings and antiquities to the State. He died in 1917 and as per his wishes the hotel was opened to the public as a Museum in 1919.
The manicured gardens with lots of rose bushes are also very special and a few of his well known works of art such as "The Thinker" are displayed in the gardens.
|Les Invalides to the left and the Eiffel tower in the far end, with the Thinker in the middle of the cone bushes|
|The Thinker and I, The Kiss (white statue) and Rodin Museum and gardens|
And here are the other monuments I visited during my 5 day stay in Paris:
The Louvre, where I was in awe of the talented artists that painted all those masterpieces, and the sizes of some of the paintings.
|The Louvre and the glass Pyramid|
|Ceilings, paintings and sculptures at the Louvre|
I visited the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, climbed over 300 steps to reach the Basilica du Sacre Coeur, stood under the Arc de Triomphe at the Place Charles de Gaulle from where 12 avenues radiate from, with mind boggling traffic flowing by...
|Notre Dame Cathedral (top photos), Sacre Coeur Basilica and Arc de Triomphe|
Crossing from the Louvre Museum to the other margin I walked across the pedestrian Pont des Arts and still saw the thousands of love locks that tourists would attach to its railings. Due to their weight that was unfortunately ruining the bridge structure, they were removed in 2015.
|The Louvre and the Pont des Arts, love locks at the bridge, the Hôtel de Ville (Paris Municipality ofices), Arc du Triomph du Carrousel|
|A cold winter's day with the tower in the background|
Located just a 30 min walk to my daughter's apartment, the Galeries Lafayette, an upmarket department store, deserved an evening visit when we went in to buy macaroons. I had never seen so many spices like they had at the spice bar, and the macaroon bar was a paradise for anyone with a sweet tooth, with macaroons in every colour.
The store was all set up for Christmas with a giant tree and all the levels decorated and the outside of the building was covered up in lights.
|Galeries Lafayette ready for Christmas, the spice bar and the macaroon bar|
|The famous Moulin Rouge and my daughter's cat Cusca (a 3 legged cat who died in 2015) who used to sit inside the suitcase whenever she packed|
The visit didn't end on a high note though...
On my last day in Paris, I was to meet my daughter at an underground station after her class in the late afternoon, where we would catch a bus to Orly Airport for a flight to Lisbon.
Armed with my suitcase I caught the underground having to descend stairs with it as old stations don't have modern facilities.
Halfway there the train stops and stays there for a while and I can see everyone is wondering what is happening. A few minutes later something is announced over the speakers. At the best of times I don't even understand what they say over those loudspeakers in English, so you can imagine I didn't understand a single word that was said in French!!
The doors open and everyone starts rushing out and I'm there wondering what is going on.
I get out and stop a young man who I though might speak English and ask what is happening. He tells me someone threw themselves on the line further down and the train can't carry on, so the other alternative is the bus. I tell him I have to get to a specific station and he tells me to follow him across the road and onto the bus.
The bus is now crowded and he's inching forward and I stay at the back as my suitcase doesn't really allow me to move much. I keep on looking at him to see if he signals me where I should get off. Eventually he makes a sign I should get off the next stop.
Phew, I'm out the bus, but I can't see any station on that corner. I go inside a restaurant and ask where the station is, and they indicate that it's across the roundabout.
I reach the station, I'm late already and look all over, indoors and outdoors, but I can't find my daughter. I'm in a panic by now and I imagine she's too as we have no way of communicating.
After walking up and down for 10 minutes I approach a lady at the bus kiosk where I see buses departing to Orly. I must be in the right place I thought!!
I ask her if she could call my daughter on her French mobile, she's a bit reluctant at first, but I'm almost crying by now and I think she realizes it's important.
She rings Karina and when I speak to her she says she's at the station. I'm also at the station with the same name, so I come we haven't seen each other?
All of a sudden she figures she's at the Underground/subway station where I was supposed to come out of , while I'm at the RER (regional trains) station of the same name!!
Puzzle solved, she rushed to where I was which was just across the roundabout and we caught the bus to Orly.
Of course we arrived just a few minutes after check in ended and had to pay a penalty to fly on the next flight 2 hours later.
Karina then contacted my brother in law who was meant to pick us up from the airport in Lisbon to tell him we would be arriving 2 hours later and to tell the family not to wait for us to have dinner either as we would be arriving at 11pm!
Of course I was unimpressed that neither at the restaurant nor at the station where I had asked a couple of people if that was the correct station, no one bother to mention that there were 2 stations with the same name just 300mt from each other!!
Enjoy the rest of the week.