Saturday, 20 June 2015

Paris Day 1-Using the RER into Paris and visiting Notre-Dame

We were a bit apprehensive this morning about getting the train into Paris from Joinville-Le-Pont, having never took a train in France before is was a bit nerve racking!! We had printed off the RER map and worked out that we were in Zone C, I had read quite a bit about the train stations here but was concerned when it said that the machines didn't except cash! We generally take our holiday money in cash with us, as we try and stick to a budget it helps to have cash on us. But we needn't have worried at all because we found the ticket machines had an English option and did after all accept cash notes! We bought two cartel's of tickets (a cartel is 10 tickets for 22 euro's) for Paris City, the tickets are really small and the machines are just like the ones at London Tube stations. We got up to the platform and the train arrived after only a few minutes, they were really regular into the centre. You have to keep hold of your ticket until you get back off the train and through the train station. We worked out the best train station for us was Auber, it was only about 8 stations in and took 25 minutes. When we came up out of the train station we found we were right in front of the Opera House!

I can't shake the feeling that I have seen a very similar building some where else but for the life of me I cannot remember where!! It was a stunning building..

From here we walked down to the Louvre, it is closed on a Tuesday but we weren't planning on going inside as I knew it would be a bit too busy for the children and I think something for a return trip. It was so much bigger than any of us thought it was going to be, its one of the largest buildings I have ever seen!!! We could walk through the entrance and straight through to the back..

The famous glass "triangle"

We sat here for a bit, soaking up the atmosphere and taking in the view:

Hubby left us for a bit to find some lunch whilst we headed to the Jardin Des Tuileries. We had our first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower!!! The kids got so excited it made me jump!

Hubby came back with fresh baguettes and we had a very pleasant lunch sat on the green chairs whilst watching some resident goats nibble at the grass. Such a beautiful park. We wandered down towards the Islands over the Seine, where we spotted the tower again!

It was pretty hot but we found some shade sat opposite the Palais de Justice/Conciergerie (where the word concierge is derived from!) in the beautiful Place Dauphine with its white stoned houses shaped into a triangular courtyard. I'd definitely like to go inside and see the crucifix Marie Antoinette prayed over whilst imprisoned here and the guillotine blade.

We wandered round past the Sainte-Chapelle, which was built in the 13th century to house holy relics including Christ's Crown of Thorns.

Then followed the huge crowds across the road for the beautiful site of Notre Dame!

Spent a bit of time sat outside people watching before walking around the side to see all the brilliant gargoyles:

And then the view from the back! I thought it was really pretty but I think after seeing Lourdes in 2013 it takes such a lot to wow me with Cathedrals now! I'd love to go inside and climb up to the bell tower but no one is really keen on heights and they were all a bit tired plus the queue was pretty big too! The park at the back was lovely though and we crossed over to the smaller island Ile St-Louis and wandered around the tiny streets with all the beautiful little shops, was lovely and quiet round there with hardly any tourists. We sat again for a while over looking the Seine.

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