16 Dec 83 424km // PARIS // FRANCE
Different from our usual just-the-two-of-us trips, we recently took a Topdeck Travel tour, for a group-travel experience of a lifetime. 16 days, 7 countries, 11 cities, and a collection of 29 strangers who have proven that the best part of travel is the people you meet along the way.
The first city on our Trail to the Alps tour was Paris.
The city of lights, the city of love, or even just Paname…whatever you call it, Paris has always been a city known by everyone. Countless movies, songs, and books have been inspired by the French capital, and we finally got to see what all the fuss was about.
You always have an expectation of a city, and this was especially true with Paris. There was an image that had been built up in my mind of what it was going to be like, and as usual, it wasn’t what I expected. The general theme was OTT — from the Palais Garnier to the Notre Dame, everything was grand and ornate. The city was a lot bigger than I imagined; huge boulevards cut through the densely-populated suburbs, giving the city some breathing space. This also left space for loads of traffic and people to stream out into the roads, making it a busy place to get around by car or bike. With only 28-hours on our side, we caught the metro to give us a speedy view of the city. All the must-see spots were ticked off, but we found ourselves picking up our jaws from the everyday sights of the city. Every corner had something to offer, and when we wanted to just stop and breathe, there was a cafe and patisserie only a couple steps away.
Paris, as we learnt on our tour, has quite an overwhelming history. From revolutions to the Renaissance, the French capital has been through a lot, but being in the midst of the city it felt like the Parisians were always looking forward. Even despite the recent attacks, the people get on with daily life; though we did find that there was a dip in tourist activity, with both the Louvre and Eiffel Tower having short queues, which I thought was unheard of. We felt the huge military and police presence, but this seems to be the theme throughout Europe these days, so not too much of a shock.
The high-light (pun intended) had to be us conquering the 1700 steps of La Tour Eiffel. The views from up top were moving to say the least, and turns out, so was the tower. It’s said to sway up to six meters on a windy day, and that was more than enough to scare us back down to solid ground.
Au Revoir Parie! We will see you again, no doubt.