March 6'th to March 21'st 2008

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Monday, March 17’Th

Farewell to St-Malo. The weather is dry, but it’s freezing cold today.

My TGV-train takes me to Paris at 12.13. It’s fast, but for some reason the seats in TGV’s are pretty uncomfortable. I arrive at Paris Montparnasse 3 hours later.

From there it’s a 10 minute walk to my Hotel Petit Palace. It’s chosen because it’s close to Montparnasse where my train arrives, and because there’s a good connection from a local RER-station when I have to go to the airport.

Cafe at Les Halles

Notre Dame

Well – this is not my first visit to Paris – so I have seen most of the sights. So I’ve made no particularly plans for the next few days. 

I start by going downtown to Les Halles, just to feel the city. From here I take a walk around, before heading for Ile de La Cité, for at least seeing one sight today.

In the Notre Dame Cathedral the 6 o’clock show is underway. The congregation doesn’t seem to mind all the tourist walking around. And the tourist sees this as an extra bonus to their visit.

After this I cross to the left bank, walks along Boulevard St. Michel, and some small streets behind Jardin de Luxembourg, before I find myself in a nice neighborhood at Rue Vavin. From there I cross some avenues before I’m back at Avenue de Maine, where my hotel is located. Dinner is at a local, empty but pretty nice Chinese restaurant, just beside my hotel.

6 o'clock show at Notre Dame

Tuesday, March 18’Th

Grand Trianon

I spend this day at Versailles. That’s a major mistake.

I’m leaving by train from Montparnasse at 9.30. It only takes about 15 minutes on a local train to Versailles, so I’m at the castle at about 10.

There’s a long line at the ticket-office, so it takes about ˝ an hour before I get my ticket to the castle. But that’s not enough. Now you have to wait in line for the castle. And that line is even longer, and is not moving at all, since it is overtaken by the tour-groups that pass on the inside.

So I skip this for the moment and head for the park instead. The park is very nice. The huge Grand Canal is in the middle. It is 1.6 km long. I head for the north side of the park, and the smaller castles of Grand Trianon and Petit Trianon. The latter was Marie-Antoinettes. She was a bit on the eccentric side, and also had a replica of a small village called Hameau de La Reine in her backyard. She used to dress up as a milk-maid when going there.

Now it’s back to the castle then. It was built in the 17’Th Century by Louis XIV – The Sun king. It’s very luxurious. There were about 30.000 people called in to build it. But it has to be huge, since the king had to employ 6.000 people in order to live a decent life. Later Louis XVI and Marie took over, until they lost their heads in 1789.

Grand Canal

Church of the Invalide

The queue is still long, but at least it is moving now. But inside the castle it’s all hell. There are way too many people for not enough space. There’s no chance of seeing anything. And you have paid 13.50 Euro to see nothing. So I head out again as quickly as I can and head back for Montparnasse as soon as possible. This has been the worst tourist-trap ever.

Montparnasse is the target for the second tour of the day. Tour de Montparnasse is 210 m high, and from the top there’s a great view across Paris, and especially the Eiffeltower. Here at sunset it’s very nice.

Wednesday, March 19’Th

There are 2 nice walks today. The first is partly inspired by a famous book.

I start at the Madeleine-church. From there I head over for Place Vendome and Hotel Ritz, where the book starts as well. It’s a filthy rich neighborhood. There are no price-tags in the jewel-shops around here. As the main character in the book – who stayed at Ritz – I then head for the Tuilleri-gardens and Louvre. I don’t get inside, even though it is open. That means that I can’t jump out the windows to Quai de Louvre, but have to take a route round the museum instead. But we can follow each other across the Seine – on Pont de Arts.

Springtime in Paris


From here I walk through an artist-area with galleries etc. before finding the old church of St. Germain. What part it played in the book I can’t recall. From here it’s a short walk to one of the most important places in the book the church of St. Sulpice. I can’t get inside today, since a funeral is going on, so I don’t have the chance to meet Silas or find the rose line.

Enough with this book-thing, as I head for one of my Paris favorites – the Luxembourg-garden. Unfortunately it’s to cold to sit outside, so I take a RER B further on to Denfert-Rochereau. Here I will try to visit the catacombs, but they are closed for repair.

Instead I take a good lunch at a local brasserie, before walking back to my hotel via the nice Rue Daguerre.

After a few hours rest, it’s time for my second trip of the day. First I take the metro for Arc de Triomphe. It’s not even closed, but we get kicked out after 20 minutes because some celebrities are coming because of the anniversary of the French retreat for Algeria.

Then I continue down Champs Elysees. Here you find Cartier side by side with McD. I turn left at the Elysee-palace hoping to get a glimpse of Monsieur Sarkozy and Mademoiselle Bruno. But I don’t. Instead I continue towards the Opera, before taking a RER back to Denfert-Rochereau and a short walk to the hotel.

Champs Elysees

Thursday, March 20’Th

As usual – 2 walks today.

First I take a metro to La Defense to see Le Grande Arche. It’s almost in line with its brother at Champs Elyssee and the tiny one at Louvre. The trip to the top is spectacular in a elevator made of glass. The view from the top is nice as well, and they show a nice little movie about the making of the Arche. After that I take a walk around La Defense, before heading back to the hotel.

I’m pretty tired of being a tourist, but I still have metro-tickets to use, so I have to continue. Second tour is a kind of weird figures tour. First the weird figures at the fountain right beside Centre Pompidou. I always try to visit this place when I’m in Paris. The next figures are the one placed on Pont Neuf, which is crossing the Seine and has done so since 1607. These are pretty dramatic and quite funny. There are barbers, dentists, pocket thieves etc.

Se the thing turn around here

Strange picture from La Defense

The fountain at Centre Pompidou

But now I’ve had enough. I’m heading back to my hotel, only with a stop for a good dinner on the way.

Friday, March 21’St.

It’s time for my last cup of coffee and my last baguette at the hotel. Then I check out – walk to Denfert-Rochereau – take a RER to Charles de Gaulle – check in – get on board my Sterling-plane – flies to Billund – wait a little – and take 907X to Vejle.

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