we tried to see all the main sites, and do a good job of following the "must see while in paris" lists. We walked ourselves tired each day, got to know the Metro system fairly well and shivered in the non-Socal weather. There will be a Paris part II posting later, when Sarah gets back from the germany/work part of the trip.
some of the highlights were going to the palace and gardens of Versailles, the Eiffel Tower (of course), the Louvre, the Musee D'Orsey (probably our favorite museum of the trip), Sacre Couer Basilica, the Arc de Triumphe, the Pompidou Centre, Cathedral of Notre Dame, St. Sulpice chapel and too many more to keep track of.
The collections of the museums in Paris are just stunning. For example; in most museums, of they even have a Van Gogh painting it is a star of their collection and is called out in all materials. At the Musee D'Orsey, there is an entire gallery of Van Goghs, 4 of which would be considered some of his key works, included in about every article written on him. Kinda blows your mind.
I had collected and downloaded a bunch of audio walking tours and audio guides of things in Paris for our iPods before we left. I had done this before for some walking tours in Sydney, and I thought it might work well for Paris. It really is a nice way to be a tourist.
- It's cheaper & faster than getting audio tours everywhere you go.
- You look less like a tourist, but you do look like some sort of aloof american who wants to listen to their iPod more than see the sites.
- The walking tours bring you to places you may not have visited.
- It gives you some additional flexibility when touring: you can go in whatever order you want, people can navigate at their own pace... all good stuff.
Some of the tours we enjoyed were:
- Rick Steves audio tours - free! for both France & Italy
- Tourcaster - the Rick Steves guides were a bit more polished, but there is a far larger selection of the tours on Tourcaster... and they are worldwide. These are what I had picked up for Sydney.
and fyi - the Paris Playlist worked well... Sarah was less excited about the Jimmy Buffett inclusions, but overall it was good.