Sunday, September 30, 2007

We'll Always Have Paris

Three basic things I learned during our recent trip to Paris:

First important point: If you want to travel around Paris, this thing is very useful. If you stay on the outskirts of the city, it's absolutely essential!

Second important point: Forget Eiffel Tower. More precisely: Visit Eiffel Tower but don't climb it as every other pathetic loser. If you don't pay for the mega-expensive restaurant at the top, you can only climb as high as the second "level", approximately in the middle of the tower (i.e. not very high), and feel like a prisoner behind the steel mesh, amongst hundreds of screaming tourists. Instead, go to Montparnasse 56 Tower which is almost exactly the same height as the Eiffel Tower and you can either take lift to 56th floor where you find observation deck, souvenirs and two restaurants, or take short stairs from 56th floor to the roof and see whole Paris, including the Eiffel Tower. It's breathtaking and it's far less crowded:


This video is taken shortly after the photo above. Stormy night after the dark 200 meters above Paris is amazing experience (although the video is rather shitty):

Third important point: The Louvre is vastly overrated. All the accompanying texts are only in French. Mona Lisa is small and probably a replica (bored guards did nothing when hundreds of visitors photographed her using flashes from 2 meters away, which was supposed to be "strictly forbidden", according to the nearby signs). The three most important paintings in The Louvre are:
  1. St. Franciscus of Assisi (i.e. me!) and paragliding Jesus in laser beam shoot-out.
  2. A zombie (???) with saw in his head.
  3. An early portrait of Jigsaw from the "Saw" movies.

UPDATE: It seems I am completely wrong about the Eiffel Tower and you can take a lift to the very top for 12 Euro...? Whatever. It's many years since I was there and Montparnasse Tower was better...


Michal Sänger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michal Sänger said...

Spring 2006, I've been on Eiffel tower, first and second level by stairs for maybe 3 EUR, from second to the third level only by elevator for maybe 6 EUR. Elevator from ground to top was for 12 EUR and mega long FIFO.

Restaurant is on first floor and on second.

Anonymous said...

And the most important thing: is Paris really so romantic for first time visitor or absolutely not?

Arkady said...

Hmm, když jsem byl o velikonocích v Paříži tak v louvru teda ochranka docela před Monou Lisou řádila, asi jiná směna.
S těma popiskam jen ve francouzštině to je fakt děc, naštěstí jsme měli alespoň anglického průvodce.

Jinak další, velmi příjemné místo v noční Paříži je na Montmartru, v okolí Sacre Coeur a u kabaretu Le Lapin Agile

Unknown said...

btw FF - the title of this post reminds me of something. Could you give me some clue please?

František Fuka said...

h-cz: Sure, certainly...

Unknown said...

FF: thx, i should have known. I remembered "we'll always have...", but thought that Casablanca terminated that sentence with either the name of the bar or a name of some song. well thanks anyway

Anonymous said...

Well... I have been thrice to Paris, even on the outskirts, and I didn't need the RATP page. I was satisfied with the paper map.

I agree that the sight from Black Tower may be even more breathtaking than from the Eiffel Tower - especially at dusk. Nevertheless it has not Eiffel's "ground presence".

The turists used to flash Mona Lisa for years... it has been prohibited some years ago, but... Hopefully it is really a replica.

The French signs in Louvre are direct evidence of French arrogance. Buy yourself an English guide (A Guide to the Louvre) _before_ the visit (or you will be tempted to go back there). It's worth even to have it in the bookshelf :)

And yes, I think Paris is romantic every time you visit it.

Nice photos!

František Fuka said...

Taurus: That link isn't about the online map but about "ParisVisite" travel card!