Day 19-21: Paris
Arrival in Paris
Lunch On Our Own
We had lunch next to our hotel, Hotel Beaugancy, in the Rue Cler district. This area has lots of cafes, fruit stands, flowers, cheese shops and more. Very charming!
Metro Lesson and Sainte-Chappelle
Our guide Jennifer gave us a quick metro lesson. It was easy to navigate the Paris metro and reminded us of Washington D.C. metro. It was cool because one ticket (1.40 Euro) allows you to ride the metro for as long as you want. In D.C., you pay a higher fare the farther you travel.
We arrived at Sainte-Chappelle and marveled at its stained glass windows. There were so many fine details in the windows and were glad that we brought our binoculars. Our group was on their own for the rest of the day. They met up later to do a Seine River cruise. We skipped it and did our own thing, but still got to keep the ticket to do the cruise at our leisure.
We walked to the Notre Dame and it was so big! Inside we go to hear a service and part of a sermon. It was a beautiful place.
Ill Saint Louis
We walked to the near by Ill Saint Louis area and got great pictures of the Notre Dame and Seine River. We had dinner at a corner cafe. Summer had boeuf bourguignon and Stephen had croque monsieur. Both were very good. We got to use our French language skills and the waiter really liked it! One waiter volunteer to take our photo when we were leaving because we tried to use their language. They really do appreciate it!
Nighttime Paris Authentic Cab Ride
On our way back to the hotel we stopped in a grocery store and picked up a bottle of wine to take with us on our scheduled Paris Authentic Cab Ride at 10 p.m. This was recommended in the Rick Steves book (and Paris episode) and it was amazing! It was one of our most favorite highlights of the trip! We rode around in a Deux Chevaux that had a convertible top. We popped our bottle of champagne in the car (it exploded all over Stephen) while the driver took us to the Eiffel Tower just in time for us to see it sparkling at the top of the hour. Our jaws dropped and experienced a super exciting “WOW” moment!
The driver gave us a great tour of Paris under the night sky and bright lights. We saw so many popular sights – the Louvre, Opera Garnier, Arc Du Triomphe, Champs Elysees, Notre Dame, Museum of the Army, St. Germain, etc.
Art and Museums
We had a local guide give us a tour of the Louvre, however the artwork that stood out to us most were the ones we saw on our own after the group separated. We say Liberty Leading the People painting, Georges De Latour paintings, Hammurabi’s Code, Winged Victory of Samothrace sculpture, and several paintings of Napoleon.
In the Musee L’Orangerie we saw Monet’s Water Lillies which encompassed an entire 360 degrees of a room. We also saw Renoir paintings.
Arc Du Triomphe
We took the metro to the Arc Du Triomphe and Stephen walked up the spiral staircase to the top to get an amazing view of Paris.
We went to Laudree to enjoy macaroons and coffee. The macaroons we had were strawberry, vanilla, Marie Antoinette tea and chocolate. The inside of the place looked so Victorian and elegant!
This was our final group dinner. After dinner we went to the rooftop terrace and formed a circle to have a final champagne toast. We all talked about our favorite moments of the trip. One aspect in particular that touched both of us was at the very end when our guide Jennifer asked us all to reflect on this question, “In what ways has or will this trip change the way you live your life going forward?” Summer’s father made that same statement to us before we left for the Ricks Steves tour. He knew that this type of trip would change us as people and he was right!
Afterward, we all walked to the Eiffel tower to see it sparkle at the top of the hour. For some reason it did not happen. We were glad we go to see it the night before during our cab tour.
An Extra Day in Paris
At the Musee d’Orsay we saw art by Monet, Renoir and Sisley.
At the Musee Rodin we enjoyed the gardens and ate at the outside cafe. We saw The Kiss statue and The Thinker. The museum was closed due to renovations.
Musee de l’Armee
At the Musee de l’Armee we saw Napoleon’s tomb.
Le Marais District
We took the metro to the Le Marais district and saw Place de Vosges Park. People were relaxing and enjoying the grass and fountains while sipping on beer, wine and having a picnic.
Seine River Cruise
We took advantage of the free Seine River Cruise tickets our guide Jennfier gave us. It was such a pleasant way to end our trip in Paris. It was awesome to see the Seine River lined with thousands of people hanging out and enjoying the evening.
Hotel Beaugancy has a great location. It is next to the Rue Cler area and a short walk to the Ecole Militaire metro station. The staff were very friendly and helpful with anything we needed. Our room was great. Nothing to complain about. The breakfast has good options of breads and pastries, but not hot items. We would stay here again.