The Big Bus: Paris

“Whenever in doubt take the Hop-On/Hop-Off Bus,” is my new motto. It was the saving grace for the trip.

With the Paris transportation strike the bus provided the needed way to get around. While waiting for the bus was lengthy due to Paris gridlock associated with the strike I met many fascinating tourists from India, South America, and Africa. Always good to chat with other tourists as you get the “dirt” on what to do, see, and a varied point of interest. I got a belly laugh when the South American gal told me I spoke good English. I politely thanked her, and wondered what nationality she thought I was. 🙂

There are two routes for this bus:

  • Blue Route – travels Montmartre area, Gare Du Nord , and Place Pigalle. This tour gives a feel for the shop area and a few landmarks. Doing the entire route takes a little over an hour, but take the plunge.
  • Red Route – travels the circuit with Eiffel Tower, museums, Arc de Triomphe, and Louvre. Drop offs and pick ups are frequent.

They also have add on trips with Versaille, DisneyLand Paris, river cruises, and night tours, but enough commercial for non-compensation.

All that said, let’s soak in some of the sites:

The Eiffel Tower was built for the Paris Exhibition of 1889, (World’s Fair). It towers over the Paris skyline and lights up nightly, even twinkling. She’s a heavy gal at 7500 tons of iron and is the most recognized man-made structure worldwide.

A few other oddities:

  • There is a private apartment at the top.
  • A post office is in the tower.
  • Radio, Telegraph transmitters, and a meterology lab were installed inside. This is why it wasn’t torn down post-exhibition as planned.
  • Hitler ordered it destroyed, however his orders were never carried through as French militants cut the elevator cables.

Rainy Day for Booksellers Along the Seine River
Notre Dame
Notre Dame Under Construction

April 15th, 2019, was a sad day for the French when their beloved Cathedral burned. Caused by a cigarette or electrical malfunction, this treasure trove of French history built from 1160-1260 was gone. As of this writing there is a 50% chance of saving the fragile Church.

Place de la Concorde – this is the largest public square in Paris. During the French Revolution over 1200 were guillotined here.

Champs Elysees, which means Elysian Fields, is one of Paris most glamorous streets with its monuments, landscaping, famous expensive shops, restaurants, and a few museums. Simply walking it makes one feel rich.

And at the end of the Champs…

Arc de Triomphe was built to recognize those who fought and died in the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. French victories and generals names are inscribed in the Arc. It also holds the Tomb of the Unkown Soldier from World War I.

Free to walk around there is a charge to climb the 280 stairs to the top which holds impeccable views of the City. To get to the monument there are underground passages with entrances on the Champs Elysees.

Paris Opera House – is probably the most famous opera house in the world. Holding 1979 patrons the structure was built in the 1860’s and commissioned by Emperor Napoleon III. Tours are given and it is a must see.

The Ritz Hotel decorated for Christmas. This was the final hotel of Princess Diana.

The Flame of Liberty has become the unofficial tribute to the Princess of Wales after her untimely death in 1997 in the tunnel beneath the torch. It represents an enlightening of the world. Appropriate tribute to one who touched so many.

Tuileries Gardens at Christmas.

And let us end our Paris tour with Locks of Love on a fencing at Sacre Coeur..

Au Revoir Gay Paris!

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