Alex’s sightseeing tour of Paris

Our last day in Paris! How could we not be a little sad? This is a special place. Though the sights are uncountable it is the experiences that make Paris what it is. We could easily spend a month here, doing very little, just soaking up the atmosphere.
Unfortunately, it is not to be on this trip, so we had to make this last day special. I was originally planning a day trip out to Vitre, a medieval castle town in Brittany, but we couldn’t stomach six hours in a train. So instead we decided to take Alex on a sightseeing tour of Paris.
During our three previous trips here we have visited many of the popular tourist destinations. You might think Alex is too young to do the same, but he has books on Paris that he can relate to, most notably Masumi’s Paris Hide and Seek where you have to find Theo and his dog Potchi in various locations around the city (thanks Nanna!).
The previous night we had visited the Eiffel Tower and Alex had spotted the lifts going up and down. Of course he wanted to give them a go and what better lifts could there be? We tramped up the Parc du Champ de Mars, stopping to watch one gang of illegal souvenir sellars scare another gang away and to let Alex play on a playground. Then we joined the ticket queue, not having been able to buy them online the night before.

The queue was long, over an hour, but eventually we made it to the double decker lift that rises up the leg at two different angles before reaching the second floor. Then another elevator took us vertigously up through the centre to the top of the tower. Alex was in his element. Furthermore, when he got to the very top he was taken to the toilet. Toilets and lifts, his two favourite things.

The views from the top are simply spectacular. Everything looks so tiny! The Sacre Coeur, which features so prominently when atop other landmarks was quite difficult to distinguish. And the city was framed by an amazing cloudscape.

After all that waiting, our stay was relatively short, but well worth the experience.
Hungry, we took a train to Blanche station, where we emerged to see the Moulin Rouge. Sight number two for the day. During our honeymoon in Paris we were based in the Pigalle and on our first morning took a walk up to the top of the nearby Montmartre, the old artist’s quarter. We followed a similar path today, up the steep slopes to the Place du Terte where the artists had their easels setup. To recall our first proper meal in Paris we had lunch in Chez Eugene on the Place du Terte. The hot chocolates weren’t as good, and the pizza and crepes didn’t taste the same, but we still enjoyed it, as did Alex who ate a lot of my beef stew in addition to his crepe.

Then we took in the beautiful evening views around the Sacre Coeur, trying to keep a protesting Alex silent as we walked inside. He enjoyed the rather pointless funicular ride down to busy Anvers metro, where we caught a packed train to Belleville, recalling our first ride in the metro, then changing to Rambuteau, where we emerged outside of the Centre Pompidou, home to a huge collection of modern art. No trying to view that today. Instead Alex got excited about the crazy fountain sculptures nearby.

From the Pompidou, it was only a short walk to the Hotel de Ville and the Notre Dame. How much he will remember, I don’t know, but Potchi and Theo were in all these places and we enjoyed seeing them again.

It was now dark and Alex wanted to return to the hotel, as did we all. A direct metro ride took us there. We had packing and washing to do, and I made us a dinner out of the remains of our market trip: sausages, prosciutto and leeks in an orange, clementine and cream sauce. Pity we weren’t that hungry after our big late lunch.
Tomorrow marks our final stop in Europe before we head out to Malaysia. We are already fantasising about a return to here. Not homesick one bit.

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