|Apple Store - Opera|
On the walk over to the office, I met another single traveler from Canada. We talked all the way to the office. His wife had been to Paris recently, but he had been unable to go due to work and so was now taking about 10 days to travel some throughout Europe. Paris was the last stop on his trip before heading back to Canada. We ended up in different tour groups for the bike tour.
One of the first things I learned was that the Bike Tour was named after the type of bike we were using - a California Beach Cruiser that has fat tires...for whatever reason I had assumed it was named for the beer. These bikes are heavy and not the easiest to ride through the city. And we definitely had a range of biking ability within our group from experienced bikers from Holland to people who had maybe been on a bike once or twice in their lifetime. People were from all over the world and the tour was conducted in English which was very helpful for me.
The tour was great to get a sense of the layout of the city as well as to snap photos of some of the major tourist attractions in Paris with some of its history. It also gave me some ideas for things I would like to spend more time at later on. In addition, it gave me confidence in being able to bike through Paris. It is a very bike friendly city with a bike-share program called Vélib'. There are stations located within every 300 meter radius throughout the city as well as bike lanes throughout the city as well.
1. Eiffel Tower - built for the 1889 World's Fair in Paris. Very controversial - Parisians did not like it but the temporary structure is now one of the most famous icons of Paris.
2. Napoléon's Tomb - by his instructions, he is buried below the viewing gallery forcing people to bow to him even in his death
3. Musèe d'Orsay - impressionist art museum of Paris within an old train station - houses a collection including VanGogh, Monet, Manet, Rodin, and many others
5. Tuileries Garden - UNESCO World Heritage site - stopped at an outdoor café for lunch and ate with a couple from Holland and our tour guide
6. Place de la Concorde and the Obelisk - this is the site where the guillotine was placed during the French Revolution. Obelisk is one of four obelisks in the world created by the Egyptians and is over 3000 years old!
7. Ecole Militaire - military school where Napoléon was educated
8. Rodin Museum - home of some of the famous Rodin sculptures
9. Grand and Petit Palais - built for World's Fair in 1900
10. Les Invalides - hospital for wounded military
11. many beautiful bridges
12. plus everything in Paris in between biking to all these sites!
|Obelisk at Place de la Concorde|
|Arc de Triomphe|
1. Islands - one of which houses the Notre Dame. Also stopped for Berthillon ice cream. Apparently several famous American actors have multi-million dollar homes on these islands
2. Pont des Arts - the bridge in front of this building contains many locks. People come to the bridge with their names in a lock, lock the lock onto the bridge, throw the keys in the Seine and share a kiss to lock away their love for eternity. One of these lock bridges is also the setting of Big and Carrie's kiss in the final episode of the series Sex and the City.
|Bridge of Love Locks|
|Notre Dame from the Seine|
4. Boat cruise down the Seine with wine - saw the Eiffel Tower light, crossed under many amazing bridges (including one made with the bricks from the Bastille prison), several museums, the Notre Dame
|Louvre - quiet and beautiful at night|