Traveling: Free People in Paris Feeling Unfettered and Alive

We exited the Louvre with no plans. Our last afternoon in Paris and we didn’t have anything to do. Now, this was probably the best planning we had done. Paris wants you to walk aimlessly around.

But first, we had to eat. We were famished. We stopped at an outdoor café in the Jardin des Tuileries. We ordered steaks. They were very good. Looking back on this meal, I realize that I do have one regret about our Europe trip. While the restaurant was very good, we really didn’t research restaurants. We basically ate when we were hungry at the nearest restaurant to us. This often turned out to make for very good and in some cases, though not this one, adventurous eating, I feel we did miss out on something. Maybe on our next trip we will do more restaurant research.

Now, what to do? We had plenty of time on our hands and lots of Paris to explore. We started walking away from the Louvre and the answer was stretched out right in front of us: the Avenue des Champs-Élysées.

Obelisk of Luxor

Obelisk of Luxor: The starting part of wandering down the Champs-Élysées

The Fountain at PLACE DE LA CONCORDE

A beautiful Paris day at the Place de la Concorde

Views from the Champs-Élysées

The problem with writing a journals of trip 10 months later is you can’t remember what every building is

Louis Vuitton

I read this was the largest store devoted to one brand.

We just walked. Stroll might even be a better word. We sat on park benches and people watched. We visited some of the shops. We bought tickets to Disneyland Paris. We admired the architecture while refraining from entering the Louis Vuitton store. We had an Extreme Shake at Quick, the biggest European fast-food chain. We took pictures of multinational companies and street names. We took our time until we got to our next adventure: the Arc de Triomphe.

Arc de Triomphe

Best way to get there is not to cross the traffic but to go underground

The Arc de Triomphe was included on our museum pass, but I almost chickened out. Why? I hate heights. I know I’m clumsy enough to fall over a fence that is taller than me. Also, 284 steps in a spiral seem quite miserable just thinking about. However, I knew the views would be worth it. We walked then kind of rambled up the steps. I had to sit when I got to the top due to the dizziness. Once, I could see straight we went through the brief museum before climbing the six extra steps to the roof. While I was still scared, it was worth getting to the top.

Underneath the Arc de Triomphe

Underneath the Arc de Triomphe

The Avenue des Champs-Élysées

The Avenue des Champs-Élysées from atop the Arc de Triomphe

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

Cristina on top of the Arc de Triomphe

What a beautiful view

Panoramic view of Paris

Panoramic view of Paris: Sacré Coeur to The Eiffel Tower

When we returned to ground level, we happened upon a ceremony at the French Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Old men were dressed up with their medals and saluted while school children in their uniforms sang La Marseillaise. Not a moment you can plan for, but a lifetime memory nonetheless.

After visiting the Arc de Triomphe, we wondered what to do next. We both wanted to do something relaxing. The most relaxing thing we could think of was a river cruise down the Seine. Again, another great choice on our part.

Views from a Seine River Cruise

A cruise down the Seine was a great way to end our stay in Paris

Views from a Seine River Cruise

Palais de la Découverte from the Seine

Views from a Seine River Cruise

Pont Alexandre III

Views from a Seine River Cruise

Ah, French Architecture

Views from a Seine River Cruise

Notre Dame from the River

After the river cruise, we were spent. We were heading out to Disneyland Paris the next day to meet our goal of visiting every Disney park before we die. Yes, we are big Disney nerds. However, Disneyland Paris almost cured us of this…almost.

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