Where do you start when everything is worth seeing once or again? In some cities, sights are concentrated around a specific area, usually the “old town” or a natural wonder, but there are famous buildings, bridges, gardens, streets, historical landmarks, etc. in almost every Parisian arrondissement.
Eiffel Tower? Done. That left us with… well, everything else.
We started walking from Rue de Vaugirard toward the Hôtel des Invalides, a complex of military-related buildings with a church, museums, and most famously, Napoléon’s tomb. We crossed it from south to north and arrived at the Pont Alexandre III that connects the Invalides with the Avenue des Champs-Élysées.
“Arc de Triomphe or Concorde ?”
“This way,” said Mark, relatively unimpressed with Paris’ famous avenue. It’s not as fancy and elitist as it used to be—many luxury shops have been replaced with global, trendy flagship stores. There are car showrooms next to Monoprix, Starbucks or Abercrombie & Fitch, it’s dirty and jam-packed with tourists. By then, we all needed a bathroom break but I refused to pay €2 for “high-tech no-touch germs-free” public bathrooms.
We took a picture of the Arc de Triomphe (built to the glory of the French Army, go ahead, laugh if you want to), a landmark Chinese tourists apparently appreciate given the number of tour buses around us.
Feng and Mark took the subway to the Louvre, I simply turned around and walked down the Champs Élysées all the way to Place de la Concorde, then I crossed the Jardin des Tuileries and found Mark and Feng in front of the glass pyramid.
“Can we ride the Ferris wheel?”
“Mmmm… I don’t know…”
“You gotta be 18 for that?”
“Probably not, but it may be expensive. Let’s check.”
The 60-meter-tall Grande roue is usually Place de la Concorde, I was surprised to see it in the Jardin des Tuileries. It’s a typical French story. The attraction is operated by Marcel Campion, aka the 80-year-old “fairground king,” France’s most famous and powerful carnie-turned-businessman. Apparently, his licence to operate wasn’t renewed by the City of Paris, so he just moved it, somewhat illegally.
The ride was €12, half price for kids.
“Alright, let’s go.”
“ARE YOU SERIOUS?”
I shrugged. I had promised Mark fancy French carousels, and this one looked unique enough for a splurge.
I wasn’t expecting it to be fun as well for me but it turned out the view was absolutely amazing. Perfect opportunity to see Paris from the top without the Eiffel Tower lineups and for cheaper than at the Tour Montparnasse!
After the Grande roue experience, we walked through the Latin Quarter and went to see Notre-Dame, badly damaged but still standing after the April 2019 fire.
Not bad for a day!