Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Paris Walking Tour

On our first day in Paris, Jamie and I headed over to Place Saint-Michel to do the Sandeman's New Europe Free Walking Tour. I had wanted to do this tour the last time I was in Paris in March but my mother and sister were very tired and we decided to do our own walking tour. This time around we were tired after an early flight into Paris and lack of sleep but we got it done. I am a big fan of Sandeman's tours. I always enjoy learning more about a city and to get a feel for them.

I've done tours in Barcelona, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Lisbon, and London. That's seven tours. In Barcelona and in Lisbon I went on their other paid tours as well. I feel they give great tours and haven't been on a bad one yet.

Starting in Place Saint Michel, we were lead by our guide Alberto, a lovely transplanted Mexican who had a love for France and its history. He told us all about the history of France and its Kings while guiding us through Paris. Our group was rather large but with the help of a mic, we were able to hear him quite well.

Leaving Place Saint-Michel, we walked over to Notre Dame where we learned a brief history of how it came to be its amazing self and how at one point the people of Paris wanted to destroy it and build a new church but Victor Hugo saved it by writing about the Hunchback of Notre Dame. I am not sure if this is true but it sounds nice enough.

We walked along the banks of the Seine, admiring the fluffy white clouds and blue sky above. We had really lucked out with the weather.

We reached Pont Neuf, the oldest standing bridge across the Seine and learned a bit about its history from Alberto.

Alberto told us about the love lock bridge in the distance and how it had to be dismantled because the weight of the locks was destroying the bridge. It lost its status as the international love lock bridge. People have been placing locks on Pont Neuf as well. Alberto told us that French men who date international girls use combination locks so when they break up, they can use the lock again. Not sure if this is true but it would make sense. Locks are expensive.

Alberto talked to us about King Henry IV and how he was a happy king and the people liked him very much until he was murdered. He talked to us about equestrian statues and the way the hoofs of the horse represents how the rider died. With one front hoof raised and one back hoof raised representing that King Henry IV was murdered. Wikipedia says the hoof position symbolisms are just myths so I'm taking this with a grain of salt but King Henry IV was assassinated.

The tour led us to the Louvre where we admired the glass pyramids and learned how the French were not too pleased about these modern structures being placed amongst their beloved Louvre museum. We learned how the Mona Lisa became a famous painting after it had been stolen from the museum in 1911.

The tour ended in the gardens of the Tuileries near the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. It had lasted around three hours and I found the pace to be quite good. We had chances to rest our feet on several occasions. I'm very glad I finally got to do the Paris tour and enjoy a nice walk around the city while learning about its past and history.

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