Paris: 13 November 2009

Day two of my Paris trip, and we start at Liège metro station, changing trains at Champs-Élysées – Clemenceau station, before exiting at Châtelet station, which is a short walk from the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris, famous as being the focal point of Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel, ”The Hunchback of Notre Dame”.

Across to the left bank the river Siene is the Quartier Latin. This is a lively area with lots of bistros and bars, and in the area are many educational institutions, including the Université de Paris, which was founded in the mid-11th century. Today, it is actually 13 autonomous universities.

The Pantheon is a neoclassical building, the façade of which was modelled on the Pantheon in Rome. It contains the remains of distinguished French citizens.

The Jardin du Luxembourg is a large park in the 6th arrondissement of Paris. It is the Garden of the French Senate, which itself is housed in the Palais du Luxembourg. This is one of my favourite parks in the world. It is absolutely beautiful and so calming to walk through. There are tree lined walkways, statues, a lake, and lots of activities like tennis and basketball courts and merry-go-rounds.

A bronze model of the Statue of Liberty used by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi as part of the preparatory work for the New York statue is in the park.

Leaving the park, we walk along Rue de Rennes towards Gaite Metro Station. I cannot remember the name of the little street with all the shops, but there were a lot of varied shops as you can see. One of the things that I love about Paris is that they appreciate good food. Quality and taste is important, and there are independent stores all over the city, selling specific types of produce and products.

Pont Alexandre III is an amazingly ornate, grand bridge across the river Siene. It was built between 1896 and 1900 and named after Tsar Alexander III who concluded the Fraco-Russian alliance in 1892.

Across the bridge on the northern bank of the Siene are the Grand Palais and Petit Palais. They were built at the same time as Pont Alexandre III, and are of the same architectural style. The Grand Palais was built as the exhibition hall for the Paris exhibition of 1900, and the Petit Palais was built for the Universal exhibition of 1900.

The Avenue des Champs-Élysées is arguably the most famous avenue in Paris. It is full of luxury shops, cinemas and cafes and is quite amazing. It is one of the most expensive streets to rent along in Europe and runs for 2 kilometres, from the Place de la Concorde in the east, to the Arc de Triomphe in the west.

The Place de la Concorde is the largest public square in Paris and contains many statues. The obelisk in the centre was donated by the Egyptian government in the 1833, and used to mark the entrance to the Luxor temple in Egypt.

To one side of the Place de la Concorde is Rue de Rivoli, another famous street in Paris, which is home to some of the most high end brands in the world.

Le Marais has a strong Jewish population, and more recently has become known for its gay community. It’s quite a vibrant area, with lots of cafes, restaurants and bars.

As I mentioned in my last Paris update, I love getting food from this part of Paris. This roast beef was simply divine.



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