Bonjour! Greetings from the City of Lights. Paris is the top destination of France’s Seine River. The Seine flows lazily through the French countryside for 486 miles before
emptying into the Atlantic. In addition to a heavy commercial workload, the Seine is home to a multitude of tour boats. Boats depart hourly for excursions that show off the city’s main attractions. The river is spanned by 36 luxurious bridges. The Eiffel Tower and Cathedral of Notre Dame sit right on the water’s edge. The best time to take a cruise is in the evening. That’s when the city comes alive. The City of Lights earns its moniker when the sun sets and the city is illuminated by a billion watts of fluorescent wonder.
The streets and cafes are jam-packed and the vibrant nightlife engulfs the city. The Moulin Rouge is the most popular cabaret to take in risque French theatre. Dinner and a show here is like none other in the world. Our favorite spot to dine is Altitude 95 inside the Eiffel Tower. The restaurant is 95 metres above sea level, hence the name. It offers brilliant views of the city along with spectacular cuisine. We had a sampler of Foie Gras, Rabbit Quiche and sauteed Escargot along with a traditional serving of local breads and wonderfully smelly cheeses. The red wine in Paris is the best on the planet. Period. It goes down like water and you feel great the next morning. There’s nothing like it in the world. The Eiffel Tower is the height of an 81-story building and was completed in 1889 by designer Gustave Eiffel to celebrate the World Fair. My favorite Eiffel Tower story is how it has been sold twice by con artists who convinced private buyers it was actually for sale. The victims were too embarrased to report the crime to the police – unbelievable!
The Louvre Museum was a must-see attraction for us. Cass and I both read “The Da Vinci Code” and we gained a new appreciation of Dan Brown’s book after the tour. It would take days to see the entire museum’s exhibits. You can rent headphones in any language and go on a walking tour of the complex. We opted for the “Louvre Lite” tour. We made sure to see Alexandros of Antioch’s “Venus De Milo” and Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Madonna on the Rocks” and “Mona Lisa.” The lobby of the Mona Lisa was swamped with tourists from around the world. The only way to get a photo was to raise your camera in the air and shoot. None of our pictures came out, though we found out later that the Mona Lisa was encased in a specially designed protective case designed to protect the painting from flash photography. Oh, well.
Paris can be reached from BWI with a 9-hour flight. Paris is 6 hours ahead of Ocean City. Most French know basic English, but they will go out of their way not to speak it. The chain-smoking locals are terrible about helping tourists with directions, but, hey- that’s part of the France experience. The currency is the Euro and the cost of living is much higher than in the states. Gas goes for about $6/ gallon. The metro system is fantastic and trains run all across the country. The Chunnel has been huge for tourism and connects from London to Paris (or Euro Disney) in about 2 hours. It is one of the coolest modes of transport ever built! Au revoir! – Sean Rox