150806 Paris France
On the 6th of August I got up just after 3am and walked the 6km to the nearest bus station that was running at that time. During the length of the walk I watched lightning in the distance light up the sky again and again wondering if I was about to get soaked. Once I arrived to the bus shelter the sky opened up and let all the rain come down, I was happy I had made it just it time. From there it was a short bus ride with other travelers off to the airport. A quick recheck of my big bag, carrying everything I would need for the next month and some of Dom's stuff, and through security to wait for liftoff. First stop was Oslo Norway where I would grab a coffee and relax waiting for the next flight. The leg from Norway to France was still on the same Airbus 380 but had only about 30 people total, including crew, on it and so it was a relaxing flight with room to stretch.
The empty plane ride to Paris.
Once I landed in Paris Charles De Gaulle it was off to the train and head into the city center. My first stop after the train was the Luxembourg gardens. This gave me the chance to sit, have some water, and get out my camera. The temperature was about 33 degrees and I had a full day of carrying my big bag all around the city.
After the Gardens it was off to the main attraction the Eiffel Tower. On the way I passed by the Hotel des Invalides, the resting place of Napoleon. At the garden containing the Eiffel Tower I was surprised how busy it was. Paris is like being at Disney World. The amount of people and the length of the line to get into the 'attractions' was mind blowing. I thought that if it wasn't too busy i could run up quick and get a photo and head off to other sights, but the line just to walk up the Eiffel tower was so long that I wouldn't have been able to see any more of the city. So I plopped down in the grass in the shade of the tower and had lunch, snapped a few photos and continued on.
My next stop was the Palais de Chaillot and then the Arc de Triomphe which was always showcased in the 'Tour de France' and so I had always wanted to see it. The Arc is huge and was very cool to see 'in the flesh'. At all of these touristy places there were many people selling water, selfie-sticks and all kinds of souvenirs. It was crazy to see just how many people were selling things on the street.
The Eiffel Tower from the palace.
Arc de Triomphe
By this time it was getting quite hot and I was running out of water so headed dow the Avenue des Champs Elysees looking for some water as I went through garden after garden. In the end I found a small corner store near the Musee d'Orsay and had a break and a drink in the shade of the building. It was good to get off my feet for a few as the bag was starting to get quite heavy. I think it was somewhere near the 20kg mark and it has been a while since I have hiked around with a big bag like that. After my break it was off to the Louvre and then 'Notre-Dame Cathedrale'. Again the lines for these two places were so incredibly long that you would need a day to see each one.
Eiffel from the bridge.
I decided to head towards the train station as I was getting pretty tired from all of the walking I was doing and along the way I stopped at another giant garden which also housed a zoo. From the garden you could hear a lot of the zoo animals and so I say sipping on a nice cold coke while enjoying the animal sounds and wonderful garden sights. The zoo also had a free section featuring animals from Australia so I also got a quick dose of down under before continuing on to the train station.
Once I was checked in at the train station I got a quick sandwich and headed down to the river to eat and enjoy the sunset. At the river I realized that I was right in the middle of a shanty town set up by the locals that were selling wares on the street earlier in the day. I felt a little out of place but the people there were quite nice and even offered to share their drinks with me. Shortly after it was onto the train for my overnight journey to meet Dom in Narbonne.
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