Wow, is it really time to leave Paris already?? It can’t be! It’s a little weird – as I was getting things cleaned up around our apartment and getting stuff packed up, I got that end-of-vacation feeling. But then I realized that we have three more cities to see and I felt a lot better. 🙂
Today may have been our last full day here, but we still had stuff to see and do! After looking for a quick bite on Rue Cler, we didn’t come up with anything, so we hopped on the Metro to head to the Arc de Triomphe. To be honest, we weren’t sure what to expect to see there, other than the monument itself. Based on the description on our Paris Museum Pass, we assumed we could get to the top of it somehow and it turns out we were right! Of course, that could only mean one thing – MORE STAIRS! The Arc has one main staircase (about 200 stairs) to reach the small exhibit and gift shop and then another 46 stairs to reach the very top, so yes, that’s about another 250 stairs we had to climb. My calves were definitely feeling that today! I did see that there’s an elevator and a quick internet search told me that elevator takes you to the gift shop level (though it seemed to be out of order today), so if you’re lucky, you could get away with only climbing 46 stairs here. As I’ve said before, do your research and find these things out ahead of time if you have any mobility concerns!
After the Arc, we had some lunch (I continue to love the French obsession with ham and cheese!) and then made our way to Sacré Coeur. This was another relatively quick Metro trip – we just hopped a train to Anvers and then walked up Montmartre to the basilica. Please know that there are a LOT of people in this area (or at least there were today) and it’s also very touristy, so be extra aware of pickpockets here. Also, women should be particularly aware of the “bracelet guys” because they tend to target women and young couples. No one approached us, but I did see a group of guys watching people go up the hill and I saw the discarded bracelets all over the place. The walk up the hill isn’t terrible, but it’s a bit steep, so my already-tired calves didn’t love that. However, seeing the basilica and the views of the city from just in front of it MORE than made up for that. There were so many people there today that we opted not to actually go inside, but we’re both very glad we made the trek up (Scott even said that the view from the top was his favorite of the trip so far).
From the basilica, we wandered back down the hill and caught a train to the Latin Quarter. We didn’t have any specific plans there – we had just been told that it was a cool part of the city. We wandered around a bit, got some ice cream, and eventually found our way to Saint-Étienne-du-Mont and the Pantheon. I hadn’t heard of Saint-Étienne before, but it’s a beautiful church! The Pantheon in Paris is actually very similar (at least on the outside) to the Pantheon in Rome, but we didn’t go inside this one, so I’m not sure how similar the interiors are. By this time in the day, we were ready to head back, so we snapped some pictures of the exterior and made our way to the nearest Metro station.
Ready for the photo recap from our last day?? Here ya go!
Our view of the Arc de Triomphe after exiting the Metro.
Panorama shot from the top of the Arc (click for larger version).
Me at the top of the Arc with the Eiffel Tower in the background.
Our first glimpse of Sacré Coeur from near the Metro station.
See why I said it’s extra important to watch for pickpockets here? SO MANY PEOPLE!
It’s a pretty amazing building to see in person!
A much better shot of the full exterior.
The awesome view from the steps of the basilica.
A panorama of the area just in front of Sacré Coeur (click to see the full version).
I loved the way the church looked through these trees.
Another beautiful church – Saint-Étienne-du-Mont.
It’s equally beautiful on the inside!
I wish the Pantheon wasn’t covered in construction stuff, but that’s the only way these great old buildings can be preserved and maintained.
I think we managed to do quite a bit during our last day! Aside from all that, we got packed up, cleaned the apartment a bit, had some dinner, and have been going through pictures and blogging since then (okay, the blogging part is only applicable to me :)). Our flight to Madrid tomorrow isn’t until 130p, so maybe I’ll sneak in another post before then. Otherwise, look for the next round of updates to come from España!
4 thoughts on “Paris – Day Five”
SSSoooo – is Paris a city that you guys will want to return too????
I would come back, yes! There’s a lot to see and do here and we by no means did it all. 🙂 I’d love to see more of France as well though.
The churches look absolutely beautiful (both inside and out). It’s amazing to me when I think about how many millions of people have been in them, over hundreds and hundreds of years…. incredibly spiritual.
As for the bracelet guys – they are a little less spiritual. I did read the post you linked to about them; it’s similar in India (especially when one visits big monuments like the Taj Mahal.) Yet another reason to do a wee bit of research on the destination, and then keep your head up and be “smart” about who you engage with. Sad that a certain level of personal “guarding” is necessary – but it is…
Yes, it’s sad but true. Good research always helps though!