Our second full day in Paris was when we saw most of the city. We walked from Notre-Dame to Cleopatra’s Needle, the Arc de Triumph and the Eiffel Tower, with the most delicious bakery stops on the way. And I when I say walked, I mean walked. The metro was great, but we wanted to be out and wander the streets of Paris. Plus the weather was lovely, so why not be outside.
The day started with some fresh bread and cheese (yum!), and then off we went to Notre-Dame.
The cathedral is widely considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture, and it is among the largest and most well-known church buildings in the world. The architectural detail was unbelievable.
We then took to wondering the streets, and picked up some food and pastries to enjoy on the walk.
We eventually made it to Cleopatra’s Needle. Cleopatra’s Needle is a giant Egyptian obelisk decorated with hieroglyphics exalting the reign of the pharaoh Ramesses II. The ruler of Egypt and Sudan, Muhammad Ali, presented the 3,300-year-old Luxor Obelisk to France in 1826. King Louis-Philippe had it placed in the centre of Place de la Concorde in 1833 near the spot where Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette had been guillotined in 1793. Given the technical limitations of the day, transporting it was difficult — on the pedestal are diagrams explaining the machinery used for its transportation. The red granite column rises 23 metres high, including the base, and weighs over 250 tonnes. Missing its original cap, believed stolen in the 6th century BC, in 1998 the government of France added a gold-leafed pyramid cap to the top of the obelisk. The obelisk is flanked by two fountains constructed at the time of its erection on the Place.
I also had a much closer view of the Eiffel Tower, which we’d be visiting later in the day.
Not to far away was the Arc de Triomphe. It’s one of the most famous monuments in Paris and honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. Beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. You can climb approximately 206 steps to go to the top to see views but I didn’t feel like paying the 6 euroes or climbing that many steps. There’s a lot of detail on the arch itself, so I was able to keep myself occupied on ground level.
And then it happened. The moment I had always been waiting for. I was going at the Eiffel Tower!
The view from the various levels. As we got higher it got progressively colder, so more and more layers were added as necessary.
From seeing the sites to getting lost wondering the streets of Paris to spending time in Sephora’s flagship store (sorry Ryan and Cam!), it was just the perfect day.