Paris

Picture of gare_du_nord In transit from Eastern Europe back to North America, we had about an 18 hour layover in Paris. Rather than do anything practical, like sleeping, we spent nearly the entire time wandering past everything we had enjoyed on our last trip to Paris. Of course, on the last trip we spent four days in the city so it was a lot of ground to cover. This was our starting point, the Gare du Nord - primarily because the RER comes here directly from the airport.
Picture of sacre_couer One curried chicken crepe later we found ourselves at Sacre Coeur which was just a bit more crowded than the last time we had visited. Not only were the grounds around the basilica crowded but the surrounding streets were packed as well.
Picture of opera It's a long walk down from Montmartre to the banks of the Seine and the Opera. Luckily we had some roasted chestnuts to keep us company. Roasted chestnuts were in fact a critical part of re-enacting a visit to Paris for us and they seem to be most common on Montmartre.
Picture of dusk They can also be found near the Place de la Concorde but you'll probably be killed in traffic trying to get to them. Getting nearly killed in traffic at Concorde was not a vital part of our Paris re-enactment so we skipped it this time 'round.
Picture of pastries There are fantastic bakeries all over Paris, but the 1st arrondissement seems to have the most spectacular. This is what one particular display case looked like - before we made our purchases anyway.
Picture of eiffel Once we were happily full of pastries (and everything else we had eaten on the way), we spent probably a good half hour just after twilight taking pictures of the Seine and the Eiffel Tower. It was sort of tricky to get the exposure time right since it was actually far darker than it appears in this picture.
Picture of pont_alexandre In our previous trips to Paris we had never actually walked across the Pont Alexandre. This is hardly a crime but we had actually bought a painting of it on a previous visit. No - not one of those paintings, a real one. Anyway since we were now headed towards St. Germain it seemed like a good place to cross.
Picture of assembly The national assembly building is the last real picture we took for the evening. From here we walked the left bank to St. Germain where we picked out some sidewalk cafes at random and started drinking wine. Drinking wine on a sidewalk in St. Germain is also a critical part of a Parisian visit in our opinion. Paris never really closes but eventually it was time for us to head back. We took the metro back towards Gare du Nord wherein we learned two important things. First, metro ticket technology is vastly improved since 1998. Secondly, bringing used cat litter on the metro is not really a good idea but apparently it does happen from time to time.

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