Paris - Day 17July 16, 2017 in France ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C
This morning we went on a morning city tour of Paris by bus with a local expert. The first stop was the Place de la Concorde, which we had visited earlier in the week, but today it was still being packed and cleaned up after the Bastille Day celebrations.
The next stop was the Jardins du Trocadero outside of the Palais de Chaillot for an iconic view of the Eiffel Tower across the river.
After this we were taken to the Esplanade des Invalides in front of the Hotel des Invalides for a tour group photo. This building was built in the 1670s to provide housing for infirm veterans returning from war. Today it houses a military museum and underneath it is the final resting place of Napoleon, the man many French people consider to be the nation’s greatest hero.
We then headed to Montmartre, the bohemian quarter of Paris, for a walking tour, commencing outside the red windmill, Moulin Rouge.
We stopped at Le Bateau Lavoir, where the artists Modigliani, Picasso, Kees Van Dongen and Max Jacob lived in an old piano factory.
We visited a house (in rue d’Orchampt) and heard the tragic story of Dalida, one of France’s most successful and famous singers. Born as Yolanda Gigliotti to Italian parents in Egypt she took on Dalida as her stage name and had a career spanning 30 years from 1956 to 1986. Four men in her life committed suicide, and in 1987 she took her own life, leaving a note saying "Life is unbearable for me...Forgive me." Following her death, a square was dedicated to her (Place Dalida) with a bust of her on a pedestal which we also visited.
We passed Clos Montmartre, a tiny vineyard that produces around 800 bottles of wine a year, which are auctioned off for charity in October.
We next visited the Basilique de Sacre Couer (the basilica of the Sacred Heart), which was built to atone for the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1) but not consecrated until 1919. Our guide took us around the rear of the basilica for a unique view away from all the tourists.
The guide told us that many of today’s inhabitants of Montmartre are known as bobos, which stands for bourgeois bohemians. Bobos are people who make a lot of money but who pretend to live the philosopher’s life.
Later in the day we took an evening cruise on the river Seine from the Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame and back, after which we ascended the Eiffel Tower to the second level for a stunning night view of the City of Lights.
All in all a pretty full day!Read more