The Eiffel Tower was the tallest structure in the world.

Best Things to do in Paris

Following is a 4-day list  of things to do and historical facts about Paris. When we visited in July, the sun rose at 6:14 a.m. and had set by 9:38 p.m. We had plenty of daylight for exploring.

Day 1

Leonardo Da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa.

The Mona Lisa became famous when she was stolen.

Rive Droite or Right Bank of La Seine

Take a half day guided tour of Musee du Louvre and check out Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa who became famous because she was stolen in 1911 and was missing for two years.

Walk through the Tuileries Gardens that was originally created by Catherine de Medicis in the 16th century.

Visit the Place de Concorde where many were guillotined during the French Revolution. Today, the 3,300-year-old Obelisk Luxor marks the guillotine location.

Napolean's Are de Triomphe

The Arc de Triomphe rises from the west end of the Champs-Elysees.

Walk the Champs-Elysees and lunch at one of the cafes. Work your way to the Arc de Triomphe that was built by Napoleon.

Day 2

Rive Gauche or Left Bank of La Seine

Les Invalides houses Napoleon Bonapartes tomb.

Les Invalides was a former military hospital.

Visit Les Invalides, formerly a military hospital, where Napoleon is entombed. Explore the World War II wings.

Napoleon's tomb is is in Hotel des Invalides.

Napoleon Bonaparte’s tomb rests in Les Invalides.

Tour Rodin Musee and find The Thinker and The Gates of Hell that Dante’s Divine Comedy inspired. The Thinker initially represented Dante who was positioned over The Gates of Hell pondering the chaos of the damned.

Dante inspired Rodin to create The Thinker.

The Thinker is displayed in the Musee Rodin.

Rodin's The Gates of Hell are displayed in Musee Rodin.

The Thinker leans over The Gates of Hell to ponder the damned.

Head to the 6th arrondissement, my favorite, and relax at one of the many sidewalk cafes and people watch while sipping wine or cafe au lait.

Day 3

Visit one of the open-air markets like Raspail organic market, though Raspail is only open on Sundays, where you can buy fresh bread, desserts, a variety of cheese, fruits, vegetables, meat, flowers, and more.

Peruse the multitudes of shops and eateries on the Left Bank.

Dine at Les Deux Magots, one of the oldest Paris cafes, where Ernest Hemingway,  Pablo Picasso, Jean-Paul Sartre and many other renowned figures frequented.

Visit the Eiffel Tower at night when it shimmers in gold.

The Eiffel Tower is 1,023 feet tall.

The Eiffel Tower illuminates the night.

Day 4

Ile de la Cite

Take a half-day tour of the Notre Dame Cathedral and then hop in a cab to Montmartre.

Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, France

The Cathedral of Notre Dame is an example of French-Gothic architecture.

Montmartre

Walk Montmartre where Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gough, Auguste Renoir and many other famous artists had lived.

Montmartre is known for art.

Montmartre in Paris, France offers spectacular views.

Montmartre, or “Mount of Martyrs,” was named because, in the 3rd century, the first Parisian Christians were martyred where the Basilica of the Sacre-Coeur stands today. Walk up the 270 steps to the top for panoramic Paris views.

The Sacre-Coeur offers spectacular views of Paris, France

The Sacre-Coeur is located in Montmartre in Paris.

The Sacre-Coeur basilica is located in Monmartre in Paris.

View of Paris, France from the Sacre-Couer is spectacular.

Hire an artist to sketch your portrait at Place Du Tetre and browse through the local artwork.

A Salvador Dali Museum is in Paris, France

Salvador Dali artwork is displayed in Espace Dali.

Salvador Dali was a surrealist.

Saint George and the Dragon was sculpted by Salvador Dali.

Explore the Salvador Dali Museum that “holds the largest collection of Dali’s art in France.”

Though there is much more to see, these are my top suggestions for 4 days in Paris.

 

 

 

 

 

Bayeux, France

Light Show in Bayeux, France

In response to word prompt: Pink

When we walked the streets of Bayeux, France, we happened upon the light and sound show at the cathedral entitled “RENDEZ-VOUS À LA CATHÉDRALE, LES LUMIÈRES DE LA LIBERTÉ.”

As we listened to ten stories celebrating France’s journey to freedom and liberty,  colors painted the “Tree of Liberty” and the Bayeux Cathedral in iridescent hues of red, pink, purple, green, blue, white, orange and gold.

In the French language, these stories commemorated the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, the Allied landings, the freedom of the press, the freedom to love,” and more.

The show was a pleasant addition to our Normandy trip.  This year’s light show runs from 7/11/17 to 8/26/17.

Normandy, France

Bayeux Cathedral glows during the light and sound show in France.

Bayeux, France

Lights illuminate the “Tree of Liberty” in Normandy, France.

Bayeux, France

The Bayeux Cathedral bathes Normandy, France in color.

 

Bayeux, France Light Show

The lights resemble fire on the “Tree of Liberty” in Normandy, France.

 

Paris 1973

Mistaken for Prostitutes in Paris

When I visited Paris with my high school French class we were mistaken for prostitutes and booked in a brothel by the travel agent. Do you see a common theme?

My roommates in Paris were my friend, Deb, and her mother, June, who chaperoned. June was — still is — very beautiful. She was fun but refined, and she dressed with elegance.

One evening, June wore a chic yellow jacket trimmed in white. She paired the jacket with white slacks and white boots. The three of us took a walk and explored the city. We found a quaint cafe and dropped in for dinner.

As we dined, sleazily dressed women in heavy makeup glared at us. We glanced at them, and we spoke in hushed voices because we felt threatened. I thought they were jealous because June looked stunning.

When we returned from dinner, we told our French teacher about the “ladies” with their angry stares. We learned that we had chosen a restaurant in a part of town known for prostitution. Leave it to us to venture into the wrong neighborhood.

Also, boots were a sign of prostitution in Paris. I suspect that the women in the restaurant thought that we were invading their territory and wanted us out.

During my high school French trip, not only were we mistaken for prostitutes, but the travel agent had booked us into a brothel.

Was someone trying to tell us something?

https://dorothyadele.wordpress.com/2013/06/18/booked-in-a-brothel-in-paris/

 

Eiffel Tower in Paris

Booked in a Brothel in Paris

Our bus driver and tour guide in Paris

Our bus driver and tour guide in Paris (photo by dorothyadele)

My high school French class flew to Paris where a travel agent had booked us in a brothel. The brothel was just the beginning of a stressful but humorous trip.

After about a nine-hour flight, we arrived at Charles de Gaulle Airport with about 25 students and chaperones. We were exhausted and eager to check into our hotel room.

We boarded a bus at the airport and drove to a dingy smog-coated hotel. We saw signs from our bus windows that advertised rooms by the hour.

We left the bus and entered the hotel. We lugged our bags down a dirty, dimly lit hallway and entered our rooms. We noticed that our rooms did not have bathrooms but guests shared a common bathroom down the hall.

My French teacher was mortified and quickly called our travel agent. After several phone calls, we boarded our bus for the next hotel. We arrived and checked in to the beautiful Le Meridien hotel. I suspect that the travel agency absorbed the additional cost.

After an exhausting first day and visiting several tourist sights on the following days, I decided that I needed a day’s rest if I wanted to enjoy the trip. I skipped a midweek tour — which I regretted because I missed a lot. My group left for the tour, and I was the only student who remained in the hotel.

As I relaxed and read my book, someone knocked on the door. I guessed that it was someone from our group. I opened the door and a man stood outside my room. He asked for Madame Bertrand, and in my limited French I told him that she was not in my room, and I politely closed the door.

He knocked two more times about 30 minutes apart, and I did not open the door. I had no way to get in touch with my group, and I was nervous.

Rotary phone in our room

Rotary phone in our room (photo by dorothyadele)

I scoured the room for a weapon. I found a thin stemmed wine glass on our bar that I could break if he barged in.

Someone knocked again, and my heart pounded. I spoke through the door. The visitor was a flower deliveryman who held a large bouquet.

I opened the door and I tried to explain in French that the flowers were not for me and that a man wouldn’t leave me alone. I accepted the flowers and quickly dialed security while the deliveryman stayed.

Within 10 minutes, about five employees, including security and the concierge joined us in my room . In my panic, I must have dialed the concierge too, even though I didn’t need restaurant reservations.

I attempted to explain that a man “un homme” had knocked on my door. No one understood my French and I felt like I lost at a Charades game. I paced, knocked on the door, pointed to the flowers and used the French words that I knew. They laughed, but I was glad they stayed.

While I made a scene for my new French friends, my roommates returned. They were amused, but not surprised, that I disrupted the hotel while they were gone.

My French teacher learned that the persistent door knocker expected to meet Madame Bertrand. I guess he thought that I was hiding her.

During my trip, I nearly stayed in a brothel and played Charades with the hotel staff at Le Meridien. Who knew Paris could be so much fun?