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deladane

Detailed Photo Review of Paris and London Trip in June 2019

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There are two ways to get from here up to Sacre Coeur.  We could walk up a bunch of stairs, or we could take the funicular.  It was an obvious decision to take the funicular and save some energy.  You can pay your fare on the funicular with a metro ticket, which is why I wanted to buy our carnets prior to arriving here.  What I did not realize was there is a ticket booth right there where we could have bought our t+ tickets so there was no need to buy them in advance.  Oh well, no biggie.  There are two tracks so there was only a short wait for the next car to arrive.

 

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The cars are small, but they are standing room only so they cram a lot of people inside the car.  There were signs everywhere warning tourists to protect their belongings from possible pickpockets.  The steps in front of Sacre Coeur are notorious from scam artists and pickpockets, so we knew to have our guard up while we were here. 

 

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Loving it so far!  People think I'm crazy for doing the research I do but it helps to have info instead of spending too much time looking "lost".  🙂 

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32 minutes ago, Charm2018 said:

Loving it so far!  People think I'm crazy for doing the research I do but it helps to have info instead of spending too much time looking "lost".  🙂 

 

Exactly!  I just said to DH yesterday that I think the trip goes better when I pre-plan most of our activities.  We ended up with close to 2 hours of down time on Sunday between activities and we just spent that time wandering around and sitting in a supermarket drinking sodas.  Had I done a better job of planning, we could have spent that time at the Pompidou but I didn't realize it was so close to where we were!  #fail 🤦‍♀️

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Being that it was a Friday night, it was no surprise to see how crowded it was up here, but that was just part of the experience!

 

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Aside from the Eiffel Tower, this was probably the most crowded attraction we visited in Paris.  It was basically impossible to get a photo of us without someone else getting in the shot lol

 

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Notice how I have my purse swung in front of me for the photo.  It would have been a better photo if I pushed my purse behind my back to hide it from the shot, but I made it a habit to always keep it in front of my body when taking photos, especially in crowded places, because I did not want to be a target. 

 

Looking out in the other direction, there is a great view over Paris. 

 

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As we made our way up the steps, I caught sight of this building sinking down into the grass…

 

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Just kidding!  It was an optical illusion from the steep hills of Montmarte!

 

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It reminded me some photos I have taken in San Francisco.  We continued up the steps and towards the left to enter the church.  There was no charge to enter, and they were about to start the 8pm service so the church was filling up.  We decided not to stay for the service because if we sat down, there was a good chance we would fall asleep haha  Instead, we just walked around the perimeter of the church and took a few photos. 

 

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Thanks for doing this, Dana, as I'm very much enjoying the details and the photos. I had to laugh at your experience with your hotel key. We were in Denmark last month and at a hotel in Copenhagen the room key was huge. We must have looked surprised because the desk clerk informed us that the desk was open 24 hours and we could leave the key with them whenever  we went out. So not just in Paris. 😃

Also, I bought a Travelon anti-theft purse with security features on Amazon;  there are many options available. And like you, I still never put my purse behind me in pictures.

Heather

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24 minutes ago, SenatorsFan said:

Thanks for doing this, Dana, as I'm very much enjoying the details and the photos. I had to laugh at your experience with your hotel key. We were in Denmark last month and at a hotel in Copenhagen the room key was huge. We must have looked surprised because the desk clerk informed us that the desk was open 24 hours and we could leave the key with them whenever  we went out. So not just in Paris. 😃

Also, I bought a Travelon anti-theft purse with security features on Amazon;  there are many options available. And like you, I still never put my purse behind me in pictures.

Heather

 

That thing with the key was so bizarre!  Maybe they should be in the habit of telling non-European guests that they can leave the key at the front desk.  It would never have occurred to me to do that if I didn't see someone else do it later in the trip haha  When we were in London, they gave us 2 keys on a simple key ring- one to enter the building, and one to enter our room.  That made much more sense to me lol

 

I actually bought an anti-theft purse from eBags and never ended up using it!  It is so hard for me to buy bags online because I can never tell how my personal belongings will fit in the bag.  The one I bought was not wide enough for a bottle of water, and even my sunglasses left a bulge in the bag, so it was totally impractical for a summer vacation in a heatwave!  Luckily, I threw 3 purses in my suitcase, so I just rotated between the smaller one you see in this photo (which was 5 inches deep so it had a huge capacity for such a small bag!) and another bigger black purse that you'll see in later photos.  I loved that they were both light weight nylon and had lots of pockets, but I did need to get creative for the anti-theft concerns.  I have better photos later in the review to show you how I rigged the bag against thieves! 🙂 

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We hadn’t eaten anything since the airplane earlier this afternoon, so we were both getting hungry and only stayed at inside Sacre Coeur for about 10 minutes so we could go in search of dinner.  I originally planned for us to eat somewhere around Place du Tertre, a park located two blocks behind Sacre Coeur, but it was extremely crowded and we didn’t want to deal with that mess.  I really wanted to find a crepe stand so we could eat dinner while we continued our walk, but most of these restaurants were sit down with table service, so we just kept walking and figured we’d find some crepes soon enough. 

 

As we kept walking, we found a few other points of interest, like this statue of a man coming out of the wall…

 

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We were walking in the direction of Moulin Rouge, which literally translates to “red windmill”.  In the early days of the city in the 17th century, Montmarte was out in the country and not part of the city center.  There were 15 windmills up on the hill in this area which were used to grind wheat, press grapes, and crush materials needed in factories.  Today, only two of the original windmills remain.  The first was converted into a restaurant, but you can still see the original windmill peaking out from behind the tree:

 

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The second windmill was a bit harder to see, located one block away, up on the hill in this park.  You can’t really see it in the photo, but trust me, it was there!  It was very cool to see these little bits of Paris history that most people never know about.

 

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We continued walking along the narrow streets, making our way back down the hill towards Moulin Rouge.  That was another benefit of doing this walk in the direction we went: it was mostly downhill!  We did have a slight uphill climb in the very beginning, but once we reached the funicular to take us up the steepest part of the hill, it was all downhill after that! 

 

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DH and I have a thing for hot air balloon because he proposed to me in one, so I couldn’t resist taking a photo of the painting on the side of this building.  As I was taking the photo, I noticed the super cute building below it: Le Petit Moulin (the little windmill) with giant flamingos painted on the side!  So cute!

 

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As we were walking down this street, we could see a crepe stand up ahead.  We were starving so we decided to order some chicken and cheese crepes for our first dinner in Paris.

 

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You can’t see it in the photo because it was bleached out from the sun, but when we were there, we could see the second windmill up on the hill at the end of the street behind me.  The crepe was delicious and made for the perfect dinner as we continued walking around Montmarte. 

 

When we finally reached the main road, we could tell it was a busier part of town, with taller buildings and many more cars on the road.  I just loved seeing the Haussmann-style buildings all over the city!

 

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One of the original metro station entrances:

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We finally reached the final destination of our walk… The Moulin Rouge!  I know it is super touristy, but how could I not take a photo outside of this iconic place?  Now all I needed was to see Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor singing from the rooftop haha just kidding!

 

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After all that walking, we decided to stop at a bar for a drink on the way home.  We were totally exhausted, but we needed to toast to a great start to our European vacation!

 

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We got back to the hotel around 9:30pm and quickly unpacked so we could finally get some sleep.

 

Fitbit Daily Summary… Steps: 13,310,  Miles: 6.44,  Flights of Stairs: 3 (remember, that was all in just 6 hours because we were on the plane until 3:30pm!)

 

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Saturday, June 22, 2019 ~ 3-Hour Walking Tour, Seine River Cruise, Eiffel Tower

 

Have you ever had one of those nights where you just can’t fall asleep, no matter what you do?  You lay in bed completely exhausted, but can’t drift off to sleep.  Then you get annoyed at yourself because you know you will be even more tired tomorrow from lack of sleep, and that frustration keeps you awake even longer.  Well that’s the kind of night I had last night, in addition to already being exhausted from not sleeping well on the redeye flight.  It took me until 4am before I finally fell asleep, so when my alarm went off at 7:45am to get ready for the day, I wasn’t such a happy camper.  Then I realized where I was, and that the sooner I woke up, the sooner I could eat a croissant for breakfast!  That was plenty of motivation for me!!

 

Today was our first full day in Paris, so I wanted to get a good overview of the city.  I decided it would be better to save the museums and other attractions included with the museum pass for another day so we could use today to get a lay of the land.  We only had the museum pass for 4 of our 5 full days in Paris anyway, so I knew we couldn’t use it on either the first or last day of our stay as it must be used over 4 consecutive calendar days.  I already mentioned that I found a walking tour in lieu of riding the Hop On/Hop Off bus this morning.  The company is Sandeman’s Tours and they offer a free 3-hour walking tour of most of the main sites in Paris.  You don’t get to go inside any of the sites, but that was fine because we would revisit most of them over the next 4 days and use our museum pass for free entry.  I was just using this tour as a way to learn a bit of history and fun facts about the city, and to get better oriented on where everything is located.  Booking the tour was easy using their website, and I received an email confirmation with directions on where and when to meet our guide.

 

Before going to meet our tour guide, we needed to find something to eat for breakfast.  There was a Marks & Spencer mini-supermarket inside Passage Jouffroy right outside of our hotel.  They are actually a British supermarket chain, but it was very convenient to stop in there on the way to or from our hotel and get something cold to drink, a snack, or in this moment, something for breakfast!  There was a huge display on the back wall of the market with lots of freshly baked pastries, so we each picked up a plain croissant, and we also couldn’t resist getting one chocolate croissant to share.

 

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I’m not sure where exactly these pastries were made, but they were wonderful, and definitely a huge step up from any pastry we can get at our local supermarket in California!!  We ate our breakfast as we walked towards the metro station on our corner.  Each morning while I was still in the hotel and able to access the free WiFi, I used the Citymapper app to plot out step by step directions for how to take the metro to each location we needed to go to that day.  The app claims that it can work offline, but I found it a bit glitchy and that I got the best results when I had a WiFi connection.  The best part about the app is that it gave really specific instructions (ie: take metro line 8 towards Balard, sit in the back section of the train, go 4 stops, transfer at Concorde to line 1 towards La Defense, sit in the middle section of the train, go 3 stops, exit at George station using exit #2).  I took screen shots of the directions to get to each attraction that we needed each day and it really helped alleviate any stress when navigating the public transit system.  Unfortunately, the app did not work on the fly, so if we needed to go somewhere spur of the moment, we had to read the metro map the old fashioned way!

 

This morning, we needed to meet our guide near Notre Dame, so we used one of our t+ tickets from our carnets to take the metro to the Cite stop.  Huge word of advice if you are ever using the metro system in Paris… if you see a working elevator, USE IT!  Especially at the Cite station, since I nearly passed out trying to climb five seemingly-endless flights of stairs to exit the station!  I saw a couple in their mid-20’s get on the elevator and I wanted to get on too but DH said we should take the stairs to get some exercise… he probably assumed it was only one or two flights, but we should have known better to do what the locals do and if they get in the elevator, we should too!  Another little pointer for using the metro system, or anywhere really… the French word for exit is “sortie” and you will see it on lots of signs when leaving the train stations.  Even now, weeks later, DH and I still say “We have to sortie” when it’s time to leave somewhere haha

 

Up on ground level, we walked a few blocks away to meet our tour guide at 10am in a small plaza in front of the Saint Michel Fountain.  Google Maps worked wonderfully for walking directions because the little blue dot could track us using GPS.  When I approached the tour guide, she greeted me in Spanish.  Hmm, am I in the right place??  I was about to reply in Spanish and ask where the English-speaking tour was, but then she realized her mistake and greeted me again in English.  Apparently Sandeman Tours operates two simultaneous tours leaving from the same location, one of which was in Spanish.  They divided us into two groups on opposite sides of the plaza, and once the Spanish-speaking tour left with their guide, we never crossed paths again.  Our tour guide was Harry, who was born in England but has lived in Paris for 7 years.  He was a lot of fun, injecting humor and interesting anecdotes into the history and other information he provided.  We had around 25 people in our group, which can be kind of challenging for the guide because he needs to keep track of everyone in crowded areas and speak loud enough for all of us to hear him.  Harry was great at both of those things, and he made sure to answer our questions and seek out shade when we stopped at each location on the tour. 

 

The first stop of the tour was to visit Notre Dame and observe some of the construction progress to rebuild after the fire.  Harry said that up until one week ago, they had barriers up preventing people from getting this close to the church, but they just decided it was safe enough to let people stand around the perimeter of the plaza in front of the church.  Of course it was crushing that we could not enter the church, but I was glad we could at least get this close and see it from the outside.

 

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We continued walking towards the Palace of Justice and the Conciergerie (a Gothic, riverside fortress & French Revolution prison, housing Marie Antoinette's former cell).  The spire you see on the left of this photo is Sainte Chapelle where we will visit tomorrow with our museum pass.

 

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Next, we stopped to look at the intricate clock face on one of the original towers from the first Royal Palace of Paris.

 

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Harry led us around the corner to Place Dauphine where he found a spot in the shade where we could sit down for a while as he explained the history of Marie Antoinette.

 

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Not the greatest photo due to the angle of the sun, but this was Harry...

 

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We continued our walk up onto Pont Neuf, which literally translates to the 9th Bridge, but that is ironic since this is actually the oldest bridge to cross the Seine.  It was such a beautiful day for a walking tour!

 

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Next, Harry led us over to the Right Bank and along the Seine until we entered the courtyard at the back of the Louvre.  This courtyard was huge (use the people in the photo for perspective) and free to enter, but hardly anyone was here!  Harry pointed us towards a bench in the shade where we could sit as he explained some of the history behind the Louvre.

 

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We then continued through the arches on the left side of the photo, and into the main plaza outside the Louvre with the famous glass pyramids.  Harry explained that these pyramids were only built around 30 years ago, and before that, this whole plaza was used as a parking lot!  While not everyone is a fan of the modern glass pyramid structure given the beautiful classic French Renaissance style and history of the Louvre, I must say it is a huge improvement over seeing an ugly parking lot!

 

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From here, we continued straight through the plaza to see a miniature Arc de Triomphe.  This monument is about half the size of its big brother located at the far end of Champs Elysees, and was built in 1808 to commemorate Napoleon's military victories of the previous year.

 

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We followed Harry through Tuileries Garden to this pond where he ended the tour around 12:45pm.  Overall, the tour was a great introduction to Paris, both for an overview of the history and for seeing some of the major monuments for the first time.  As with all of the “free” walking tours we have taken in the past, Harry explained that he is not paid by Sandeman Tours and relies entirely on the tips he earns from giving these tours, so we thanked him for his time and efforts as we said our goodbyes.

 

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I’m not sure if this Ferris Wheel is always located in Tuileries Gardens or if it was just there for a temporary carnival, but it seemed like Paris’s answer to the London Eye.

 

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Following along and so enjoying!  Absolutely beautiful.  I love walking tours.  And I could use a croissant about now.  

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deladane

This is a great review! Thanks for taking the time to post it.  I have a question;

 

At CDG airport did you happen to notice if there were "mini van" taxis? We will be a party of 4 adults w/luggage.

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deladane

Were you able  to purchase your metro tickets at the station with a regular credit card or a contactless card? I've never heard of a contactless credit card. Could you explain what it is?

Thanks.

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On 7/22/2019 at 11:40 AM, deladane said:

 

That thing with the key was so bizarre!  Maybe they should be in the habit of telling non-European guests that they can leave the key at the front desk.  It would never have occurred to me to do that if I didn't see someone else do it later in the trip haha  When we were in London, they gave us 2 keys on a simple key ring- one to enter the building, and one to enter our room.  That made much more sense to me lol

 

I actually bought an anti-theft purse from eBags and never ended up using it!  It is so hard for me to buy bags online because I can never tell how my personal belongings will fit in the bag.  The one I bought was not wide enough for a bottle of water, and even my sunglasses left a bulge in the bag, so it was totally impractical for a summer vacation in a heatwave!  Luckily, I threw 3 purses in my suitcase, so I just rotated between the smaller one you see in this photo (which was 5 inches deep so it had a huge capacity for such a small bag!) and another bigger black purse that you'll see in later photos.  I loved that they were both light weight nylon and had lots of pockets, but I did need to get creative for the anti-theft concerns.  I have better photos later in the review to show you how I rigged the bag against thieves! 🙂 

When we were in Italy we wore our backpack purses on the front.  We felt silly until we saw everyone doing it.  LOL  Oh and our guide told us to make sure that it was a hard leather, so it couldn't be "cut" easily.  Yikes

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So sad about Notre Dame.  Still breaks my heart to see the pictures of it burning.  😞 

Glad you were able to get fairly close.

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7 hours ago, Walt fan said:

Following along and so enjoying!  Absolutely beautiful.  I love walking tours.  And I could use a croissant about now.  

 

Thanks!  And yes, I miss those croissants every morning!!

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7 hours ago, crusingnut said:

deladane

This is a great review! Thanks for taking the time to post it.  I have a question;

 

At CDG airport did you happen to notice if there were "mini van" taxis? We will be a party of 4 adults w/luggage.

 

6 hours ago, crusingnut said:

deladane

Were you able  to purchase your metro tickets at the station with a regular credit card or a contactless card? I've never heard of a contactless credit card. Could you explain what it is?

Thanks.

 

Thanks for following along!  Yes, there were mini-van taxis and regular sedans.  There's a continuous line of taxis and there was a man assigning people to different sized cars based on the size of your group so he will help you get one that is big enough.

 

We purchased our first 2 carnets from the man at the ticket window in the metro station.  Later in the week, we used the vending machines to buy tickets to Versailles and then another carnet.  We had no trouble using a regular credit card with a chip, and did not need to enter a pin.  The contactless card is a regular credit card with an extra feature where you can tap it to the machine instead of inserting or swiping it.  Your credit card might have that feature and you don't even know it... look on the back of your cards for a symbol that looks like the wifi symbol turned on it's side (4 concentric curved lines that get progressively smaller).  Hope that helps!

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5 hours ago, Charm2018 said:

When we were in Italy we wore our backpack purses on the front.  We felt silly until we saw everyone doing it.  LOL  Oh and our guide told us to make sure that it was a hard leather, so it couldn't be "cut" easily.  Yikes

 

Oh yes, we saw LOTS of people wearing front-facing backpacks.  I thought a backpack would be too bulky, and some places don't let you go in with a backpack, but a purse is okay everywhere, so I just made sure to bring purses with a large capacity that didn't look very large.  Crazy about the leather, but I know what he meant because a lot of the anti-theft purses have metal woven in the fabric so they are slash proof.  I didn't want the added weight so I just hoped for the best and kept a close eye on my purse and luckily no one cut into it.

 

5 hours ago, Charm2018 said:

So sad about Notre Dame.  Still breaks my heart to see the pictures of it burning.  😞 

Glad you were able to get fairly close.

 

We got better photos of the exterior of Notre Dame on Sunday, but I'll save them for when I get to that part of the review 🙂

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Our next mission was to find somewhere to eat lunch.  We wanted something quick like a sandwich, so we just started walking east along Rue de Rivoli, but all the restaurants were fancy, sit down places and looked very crowded.  We moved one block further away from the Louvre and found a small boulongerie with several people standing outside eating sandwiches.  Perfect!  We went inside and found a bunch of pre-made baguette sandwiches with meats and cheeses.  There wasn’t anywhere to sit inside the restaurant (hence all the people standing outside), but they did have a narrow counter along the wall where we could stand and lean while we ate.  Sometimes these little hole in the wall restaurants turn out to be the best finds!  Bellies full, we continued walking to our next destination: a tourism cruise along the Seine River!

 

There are several companies that offer 1-hour cruises along the Seine River with a guide to explain the buildings and bridges as you sail passed them.  Most of these companies leave from docks closer to the Eiffel Tower, but one company leaves from a dock under Pont Neuf, so we decided to use that company because it was close by where our walking tour ended.  Vedettes du Pont Neuf sells tickets on site for €14, but if you go on their website, you can buy discounted tickets for €12 for an anytime pass available for all departures on a specific day, or for €10 if select a specific departure time.  Always eager to get a good bargain, I liked the idea of the €10 tickets but I wasn’t sure exactly what tour time to book since I didn’t know exactly what time our walking tour would end, how long it would take to find and eat lunch, and how long it would take us to walk over to Pont Neuf to the dock.  I erred on the side of caution and booked our tickets for the 2:30pm boat tour so we would definitely have enough time, and if we were early, we could always relax in the park nearby. 

 

As it turned out, we were finished with lunch and walking across Pont Neuf by 1:30pm. 

 

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We walked down to the dock and spoke to the lady in the ticket booth and she said it was no problem to take an earlier tour!  The 1:30pm boat had just left, so she gave us tickets for the 2pm tour, which gave us just enough time to use the restrooms before lining up to board the boat.  I have a feeling not many people know about this boat company because there were less than 50 people on the 2pm boat, but it could probably hold 250 people or more!  Had the 2pm tour been sold out, I don’t know if we would have been allowed to change our tickets, so I’m glad it worked out.  The boats have 2 levels, so we went to the upper level and had our choice of seats outside.  It was starting to get quite hot in the mid-afternoon sun, so we put on extra sunscreen since there is no shade at all up there.

 

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The boat left the dock promptly at 2:30pm.  As we made our way down the river, we had a live guide who explained each monument, museum, or bridge in both English and French.  After all the walking we did this morning, it was just nice to sit down, relax, and ogle at all the marvelous sights along the Seine!

 

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We were seated in the front row of the top level of the boat, which seemed like a great idea when we sat down.  Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that white antenna and the roof of the lower level would be an ugly eye sore in all of my photos!  Perhaps the view would have been better at the front of the lower deck on the boat?  I’m not sure, but it was definitely more fun to sit up on top, especially when going under the bridges!

 

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It was so exciting to make our way along the Seine, watching as we got closer and closer to the Eiffel Tower.  We had been in Paris for just about 24 hours at this point, but this was our first time seeing the famous monument up close and in it’s entirety (we had seen it peeking out above the trees and buildings earlier this morning, but that just felt like a tease until we could finally see the whole thing now from the boat!).  Seeing this iconic structure up close, in person, was definitely a bucket list moment for me! 

 

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We continued down a little further past the Eiffel Tower, and then they turned the boat around.  I could see the Pont de Bir-Hakeim up ahead and I hoped we would get closer to it as it was the famous bridge featured in the movie Inception.  We would be near this area again later tonight so I made a mental note that we should try to walk down there.

 

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After turning around, the sun was shining at a better angle to highlight the Eiffel Tower.  I just can’t believe I’m finally here!!

 

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The guide stayed pretty quiet as we doubled back towards Ile de la Cite.  We just sat back, relaxed, and enjoyed watching the beautiful buildings as we passed by.  The benches down on this walking path along the water looked so inviting.  We even saw some locals sitting on blankets and having a picnic, with their feet dangling over the edge. This was that charming Parisian scene I was longing to see!

 

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Soon we were approaching Ile de la Cite, the bigger of the two islands in the Seine, so the boat veered towards the right and we continued along towards Notre Dame.

 

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This gave us an interesting perspective to look up at some of the construction on the exterior of Notre Dame.  I would have loved to see the inside of the building, but since that won’t be possible for at least the next 5 years, it was cool to sail around the perimeter of the building and see it from the outside.

 

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Looking back towards Notre Dame, we could also see Pont Saint-Louis, the bridge connecting the two islands in the Seine, Ile de la Cite and Ile Saint Louis.  This photo also shows how few people were on the boat tour with us.  Only about a third of the seats were occupied upstairs (and there were only about 10 people sitting on the entire lower level!), and everyone had lots of room to spread out.  Throughout the week, we saw other river cruises that were jam packed with every single seat occupied and it looked very crowded!

 

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The cruise continued down to the end of Ile Saint Louis, then double back up the northern side of the islands to the dock at Pont Neuf.  The tour ended at 2:50pm, so it was just under one hour long, but I think that’s how all of the boat tours are.  Overall, I would definitely recommend using Vedettes du Pont Neuf if you want to take a cruise along the Seine River.  It was the least expensive and least crowded of all the tour boats, so that is already a win if you ask me, but on top of that, they had great customer service in allowing us to board an earlier boat from the tour we originally booked.

 

After being out in the sun all day, we wanted to go back to our hotel to get changed before our evening plans.  The Pont Neuf metro station for line 7 was conveniently located on the Right Bank side of the river, and we could use that line to get within a few blocks of our hotel.  The station had a cute decoration with giant coins cascading down the walls…

 

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When we exited at the Le Peletier station, we could hear some commotion coming from the major intersection behind us.  We walked up the block to see what was going on, and found ourselves right in the middle of a Yellow Vests march!  There has been a lot of coverage about these Yellow Vest protests in Paris since December.  In fact, I remember hearing about it back then and worrying it may impact our vacation, but then realizing it was several months away and hopefully the protests would settle down in that time.  Sure enough, the protests have whittled down to just one event per week, held on Saturdays, and the location is posted on a website so you can easily avoid it.  While lots of people still attend the events, it is no where near as many people who attended it back in December and it presents more like a peaceful march as opposed to a rowdy, potentially dangerous protest.  When we realized what was happening, we felt perfectly safe standing on the sidewalk as they marched passed us. 

 

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