PACE SETTING IN PARIS
My husband and I are big walkers and it sure comes in handy when exploring Paris. Brent has even downloaded Pacer, an IPhone app, that detects our steps, distances and calories burned, a definite perk that helps justify our intake of croissants.
A Paris Museum Pass opens the door to fifty venues. We look over the choices, put our highlighter to work and over the next five days tromp to our favourites.
If you have the energy, feel free to lace up your sneakers and come along.
DAY 1 - From our Ile St. Louis home-base we're a metro ride away from the trendy Champs-Elysees. Arc de Triomphe, built in 1806 to commemorate Napoléon Boneparte's victorious battles, anchors one end, and from its panorama rooftop we can spot Place de la Concorde that sprawls out at the other.
A 3200 year old Egyptian obelisk erects from this largest public square in Paris (over 23 acres) and nearby Musée de l'Orangerie Museum provides us with a peek at Monet, Cezanne, and Renoir masterpieces. Just beyond is Jardin Des Tuileries where we relax before trekking home.
DAY 2 - We meld with the masses at the gothic marvel of Notre Dame and spiral up its tower to enjoy another view-boasting rooftop. Next is the popular Louvre, where great halls and galleries showcase the world's largest art collection. Overwhelming, but truly a tribute to the arts.
On the other side of the Seine, and in contrast to this classic, is the light and airy Musee d'Orsay, once a railway station, now a fabulous depository and home to a superb display of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings. By day's end we're amazed and museum-dazed.
DAY 3 - From our hotel, it's a short jaunt to Ste Chapelle, a showy double-decker cathedral built in 1239, to house the treasures of King Louis IX. If time allows, you can also pop into its neighbour, the Justice Institute. En route to our next stop, we pass through the Latin Quarter, a quaint bohemian neighbourhood of winding streets, bistros and boutiques -perfect for lunching or munching. Refuelled, we head to the Rodin, a garden museum that showcases this sculptor's famous works like The Thinker. It's impossible to miss our final attraction. The glittering gold dome of Eglise du Dome Church hovers like a beacon over Rodin's roses. The insides shimmer with carvings, etchings, gold leaf. It's no surprise that Napoleon feels right at rest here.
DAY 4 - First stop is Centre Pompidou in the Bourbourg area, touted by locals, as being the cultural pulse of the city. In contrast to the classics, this venue is ultra modern and high tech. We zero in on the upper floors where Musée National d'Art Moderne boasts thousands of twentieth century works by artists like Picasso, Matisse and Kadinsky.
Then, it's off to Sacre-Coeur, the white-domed basilica, that stands proudly on Montmartre, Paris's highest hill. Although some quad power is required, when climbing the heaven-bound stairs, it's worth the workout. Unlike Gothic architecture, this Byzantine-inspired gem sparkles with golden mosaics, bronze doors and stained-glass. Adjacent is a cobblestone-street of shops and schlock, and not too far away is our evening treat, a show at Moulin Rouge. Since 1889, this venue has been entertaining audiences with its stupendous shows and gorgeous girls. And from behind the neon-glowing windmill, we enjoy Feerie, a flawless production featuring eighty talented artists.
DAY 5 - We take a break, save some tread on our sneakers and check out the sights by both bus and boat. The bright green L'Open Tour double-decker offers us a top-notch view and history lesson while motoring by nineteen famous attractions. And during a sixty-minute Bateaux Parisiens cruise, we coast by others that hug up to the Seine, one, of course, being the Eiffel Tower.
A visit wouldn't be complete without ascending this iconic monument that towers three hundred lofty meters (1,000 feet) over Champ de Mars Park. Sure, we could glide up via elevator, but do we? Of course not. It's all about the stairs for us this visit. And after plodding up the seven hundred and four that are integrated into this skeletal structure, we enjoy one last Paris panorama.
So how did you do? Were you able to keep up? If so, over this five-day stint you walked 84,000 steps and 58 kilometres. Now that's worth a croissant or two!
IF YOU GO:
Paris Museum Pass: http://en.parismuseumpass.com/
L'Open Tour http://www.paris.opentour.com/en/
Bateaux Parisiens http://www.bateauxparisiens.com/
Tourism Paris: http://en.parisinfo.com/
Tourism France: www.rendezvousenfrance.com
PHOTOS by Brent and Jane Cassie
1. Brent at the Arc de Triomphe
2. Jane next to fountain at Place de la Concorde
3. Brent and Jane at Notre Dame
4. Jane Gallery Gazing at the Louvre
5. D'Orsay Atrium
6. Pompidou display
7. Sacre-Coeur interior during service
8. Moulin Rouge night
9. Sights by bus and boat
10. Brent and Jane at the Eiffel TowerTravel Writers' Tales is an independent travel article syndicate that offers professionally written travel articles to newspaper editors and publishers. To check out more, visit www.TravelWritersTales.com
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