So, how did my parents and I start our day?
Well, to get to our first destination, we had to take the métro. Here's some history: the métro was inspired by many other cities' train networks in the 19th century. The Parisian métro opened to the public in 1900 for the Pairs World's Fair. There used to be first and second class cars; now, that doesn't exist.
Here is an image of one of the famous art nouveau entrances (this one is for Abbesses on ligne 12) designed by Hector Guilmard. At first, they shocked the Parisians, but now, they are well-known and well-preserved. 86 of the original entrances still exist today.
Montmartre is a huge hill located in the 18th arrondissement. The name comes from a combination of the words "mountain" and "martyr" (St. Denis, to be exact on the martyr). It served as the setting for several movies ranging from An American in Paris to La Môme (La vie en rose) to Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulin to Moulin Rouge. It is also an area known for its artists; Renoir and Picasso are just two of the famous artists who once lived there.
What is a "mountain" without tons of stairs to climb?
Some of the local artists have set up shop.
This is the restaurant where Amélie from Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulin worked. I've never been there, but Axelle told me that the food and the service are terrible.
My dad pointed out these ballerina figures to me. I'd love to have them perched on my dresser.
Every time I climb the stairs, I can't help but think of Sabine who would have requested a few breathing breaks. My family invited her to come, but she was busy. I love my parents, but sometimes, it's nice to travel with a friend. To quote her quoting the Hannah Montana movie, "life's a climb, but the view is great!" That it is.
Here's the Sacré-Cœur basilica. It's situated on the highest point in the city.
Montmartre is one of Paris's ultimate tourist locations, and that poses a problem. Where there are tourists, there are plenty of pickpockets. There are several young girls who shove a paper in your face and want you, thinking that you're signing a petition for a good cause, to sign it. They want you to sign it so that as you're writing, somebody can get into your purse. I do feel bad because these young girls are set up to scam people, but you should never succumb to them. I kept my wallet tucked under my coat. Don't be afraid to push them away, either. I know it sounds bad, and my friends will be the first to tell you that I'm a "doormat". My sweet, reserved, and quiet side disappears around pickpockets, though. It's that "fight-or-flight" reaction, I guess.
There are also tons of creepy men in touristy locations who sell Eiffel Tower keychains for dirt cheap. Apparently, their business is illegal. Sabine told me that they place all of their goods on a blanket and if they see a police officer, they grab the blanket with their goods and run away. Interesting.
We walked down Montmartre and found ourselves in the Quartier Pigalle, home of the Moulin Rouge AND Paris's Red Light district. Fun fact, though: Edith Piaf got her start by singing around Pigalle. Maybe I can convince Sabine, who wants to be a famous singer, to do the same...?
After Montmartre, my dad left my mom and I to do some shopping on the famed avenue des Champs-Élysées. Before the avenue became the street that it as known as today, it hosted several gardens. As you head towards the Arc de Triomphe, you will see...
...le Grand Palais:
...and Ladurée! I had to stop for a macaron.
At the end of the avenue, I posed by the Arc de Triomphe de l'Etoile. This wasn't the first or only arc, but it is certainly the most popular. Napoléon commissioned it, but it wasn't completed until after his death. Underneath, you can find the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier who died in World War I; there is a ceremony for him under the arch every November 11th.
Even though I have several photos like this, I had to take some for my wonderful blog readers. I wonder where I am?
That's right: la Tour Eiffel, constructed in 1889 by Gustave Eiffel (who also helped construct the Statue of Liberty, by the way) for the 1889 World's Fair. At first, the Parisians thought this metal tower was hideous and petitioned to tear it down. This "eyesore", however, become one of the best-known Paris landmarks.
I've been to Paris several times and normally like to do things that aren't too touristy, but I thought it would be fun to capture the big landmarks for my dear readers. Plus, I haven't done touristy things in Paris for years, so it was actually a fun change. (Oh, I also did some mandatory shopping!) Which famous Paris monument is your favorite?