(September 4, 2007) Flight to Paris and The Invalides
The idea for this day is
flying to Paris from Girona airport, where we shouldn’t be later tan
10:30h. Once settled on our hotel, the visits for today would be just a
walk to The Invalides and then to Arc de Triomphe. We could see Rodin
Museum and Concorde Square on our way.
Spots marked on map are:
0- Hotel Eiffel Cambronne
1- Les Invalides
2- Concorde Square
3- Arc de Triomphe
We arrive to Beauvais airport with no problems. We’ve eaten our
sandwiches in the plane so we’re done for the lunch at 13:30h and ready
to take the bus to Paris. We purchase the tickets at a box close to the
airport exit by 13€ per person. If we add the tickets we must buy for
returning to this airport, the bus is more expensive than the plane.
One hour later we’re going into this big city and have the first
views of Eiffel Tower. I’m shocked about that metallic red color I can
see on it from this distance.
When we’re delivered
in a small park close to Charles de Gaulle metro station is going to be
15:00h and we cannot do anything else but going on with our trip until
the hotel. Line 6 (soft green) will help us on that: 8 stations until
Cambronne, with no line changes. We don’t buy a regular ticket for
that, instead I show two fingers to the woman in the box and say “du
mobilis” and get my cards for using all public transport in city the
whole day by 5,40€ each.
Our destination station is
not underground, but on a platform over a big roundabout with six
exits. Which of these should we take?. As we cannot identify where is
North or South, we must walk along the circle checking the names of the
streets starting (or ending) there until finding the hotel’s one: Rue
de la Croix Nivert. From there to hotel is about 200m.
This is the way we arrive to Hotel Eiffel Cambronne. It looks simple
and small from the street, compressed between two bigger buildings.
A tiny reception desk and a narrow elevator help us to get our room. Is
not big but, as far as I could read, is bigger than the standard of
this city. The best is outside, though. A small balcony over the street
we were few minutes ago let us have a view of some of the roofs nearby
and, overall, the bright golden dome of The Invalides, which is clearly
We rest a little bit at room before leaving for today’s visits
some minutes before 17h. We start walking to Les Invalides, which dome
showed us the way from our room.
Once taken the correct street on the big roundabout below the metro
station we get the military school, which makes a wonderful picture
with the top of the Eiffel Tower at the bottom and its classic
The street dies in an open area where
the impressive building of Les Invalides appears in diagonal across the
street. We look this façade and its door but it is not still time to go
into it as Museum Rodin is just one block further and is going to be
our first visit in Paris. One sign pointing the right direction is remind us that.
We go to the other side of the street, at the far right if
being in front of Les Invalides, to get the modern entrance to the
museum and, after paying one euro per person, we go into what seems to
be the gardens of a mansion, which is there too. This museum is this: a
nice environment with bronze sculptures around, which makes this visit
a very gentle one. I find the famous “Thinker” in the top of a high
pedestal, rounded by well pruned cypresses, although I find it again in
one hall inside the building. It seems this sculpture is far from being
unique as Rodin made some of them.
Few minutes before 18h we’re looking the place to purchase
the tickets for visiting Les Invalides and find it in a building at
left. We pay 6€ each, as it is the price for the reduced tickets due to
the late time, and go into it to watch the sarcophagus of the most
remarkable military men of this country, emphasizing – obviously -, the
one belonging to Napoleon Bonaparte, sited in the center, just under
the beautiful dome.
You can find several statues here, some as part of tombs
and some apart of them. At the interior of Les Invalides you can see
prized stones as marble or granite everywhere. There are Napoleon’s
objects and clothes too.
The ticket give access to the Army Museum too so we continue our visit
to here to walk between old canyons. We’re alone on these halls we’re
going across until reaching the exit of the complex.
In front, we can see the pillars with golden angels previous to
Alexander III bridge and, behind it, the Grand and Petit Palais.
We drive our feet over there following a path across
the well conserved grass until get into the mundane traffic of the
city. But at this moment, we want to rest for a while and chose a table
outside one of the Paris typical Café.
2,5€ for one coffee! This must be the price for tourists and, comparing
later with other places, it is indeed, although the difference is not
that much as one can think. Paris is an expensive city and the prices
at bars keep a big distance with ours.
We go on our
walk through the beautiful bridge over river Seine, which opens the
city space free of buildings letting us enjoy wonderful views.
I don’t know if it’s allowed to get into Grand or
Petit Palais or not, but if it is, it is not that basic as open door
and go in. On despite of that, they’re offering good pictures from the
We go right from these palaces, out of our way to Champs Elysée at left, just for being on Concorde Square.
On this square you can see a white big wheel – well, not that big – but
you’ll probably will focus on the beautiful Egyptian obelisk in front
of it, with a very bright golden pyramid at the top. I wonder what they
do with the golden objects in this city for reaching such a bright. I
guess they’re not even close of being made in gold, not even the
exterior layer, as I see difficult keeping things like these in the
street for long.
We look at Champs Elysée from its very beginning and
can see, at horizon, the silhouette of Arc de Triomphe over the sky.
But is too far as per going to there by walking all the way, so it is
moment to taking profit of our Mobilis cards. We go to the first bus
stop we can see going up to the avenue and get into the first bus
stopping there, it’s route 42. Two routes are stopping there and we
find out soon one makes all the way to the Arch and the other takes
another street off the Champs Elysée at half the way. Obviously we’re
on this second one, so we must walk the rest of the way. The route 73
had done the work.
It is a broad street and, at this level of it, the sides of it are full
of fashion shops and fancy restaurants and bars with well-dressed
people occupying their outside.
paying more attention to the Arc de Triomphe, which we know is close
although we cannot see it because of the trees bordering the sidewalk.
If we take the head off this line, we can see the impressive monument
there, close to us. But it is not reachable as it is in the middle of
the bigger roundabout I’ve seen in my whole life: the circle has eight
lines of cars as it server to the same number of big avenues. Actually,
there are four big avenues crossing at this point. Then what? You must
look for the underpasses as the only way of reaching the Arch. These
ways are full of souvenirs vendors.
Arc de Triomphe is more impressive when closer, with
all its carving and inscriptions but, overall, because its size. There
is a tomb for the Unknown Soldier here too. Ticket is 8€ each and we
take them knowing this si the best moment to be here. The time when
we’re going to be able of enjoying the views at daylight, at sunset and
at night within the same hour. And 360º!
Both “legs” have a spiral staircase on them; one of them
is only for going up and the other for coming back down. Up inside
there is a big hall with models and information but the reason for
coming here is upstairs, in its large terrace to whole Paris. A
fantastic place where finish this day which is hard to believe we
started at Barcelona.
We already know the way back to our hotel as it is
basically the same we did the first time, as the place we’ve been
delivered by Ryanair bus is close to here. We get some fruit in a store
close to the hotel and dinner resting in our room.