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Our second destination was Paris, France where we stayed for 3 days. I was excited about Paris because the last time I went when I was 16, I didn’t like it very much. That opinion didn’t change much. I guess I’m just not a fan of the city. The sights were nice enough, but overall I preferred the other cities of our trip to Paris, especially Barcelona and Amsterdam. But anyway, it was still nice to see it again.

The 27th was mostly a travel day, leaving Barcelona in the afternoon and arriving in Paris late afternoon. We took the train from the airport to our hotel, and WOW Paris trains are gross! Taking trains throughout Europe really made me appreciate Japanese trains! We checked in, and then got a late lunch/early dinner at a random restaurant, which wasn’t very good. After that we walked around (got lost) and eventually found our way to the Louvre area for some night pictures, before going back to the hotel to get some sleep.

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The not-very-good-actually food at our first restaurant

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I think this is the Opera building? I dunno, we were pretty turned around at that point…

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Around the Louvre at night

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Day 2 saw us hopping the metro to go to the Catacombs. We had breakfast, then waited in line for awhile, since they only allow 200 people down at a time. It was worth the wait, although my knees didn’t like the many stairs much. The catacombs were definitely the highlight of my Paris trip, I really liked them!

In the afternoon we went back to the Louvre area, but decided the museum was too crowded, so we walked down the Champs Elysees to the Arc d’Triomphe before heading back to the hotel. It was a long walk, and I was pretty exhausted, so we took a break, before heading out a third time, this time to see the Eiffel Tower at night. We had dinner around the tower before calling it a day.

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Map of the Catacombs at street level

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Numbers lining the 2+ km walk

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These cool models were at the beginning

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A well

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Some fossils found

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Walking through

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Getting to the bones

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And the main event!

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Bones and plaques

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The famous room you see in a lot of catacombs pictures, but it is really hard to get good pics with the lighting

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Heading back up

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Quick bite at the Louvre

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Walking towards the Champs Elysees

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Obelisk

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I forgot what this building is

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Aaaand the Arc!

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Going out later in the evening

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Eiffel Tower at night


Video of the special sparkly light show the thing did at 9pm

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And dinner

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Day three in the morning we went to Rue Cler for breakfast and a bit of shopping, and to see the market area. In the afternoon we headed to Ile de la Cite and Notre Dame. After walking around a bit and seeing the inside of the Cathedral, we waited a long time in line to go up to the top of the Cathedral to see the gargoyles and view.

Unfortunately, that was the death knell for my knee… I had to hobble around and get a knee brace and rest it while Kenji decided to take advantage of the late hours of the Louvre and finally see the museum proper. Since I’d been before, and felt it better to rest, I stayed at the hotel. That night we packed up and got ready to leave as well.

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Rue Cler

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Markets and shops

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breakfast

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Ile de la Cite

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Notre Dame

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Sitting by the water to enjoy a snack before seeing the Cathedral

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Cathedral inside and out

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Gorgeous stained glass windows

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More inside

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Waiting to go up to the top

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Getting inside before heading to the top

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Gargoyles looking over the city

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Us and a view of Montmartre

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I like this picture

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The next day we checked out of our hotel and headed to the train station to catch a train to Reims, the capital of the Champagne region of France. I was excited to go since, of course, I love champagne and was excited to visit some of the chalk cellars to see where it was stored and sold. We visited two champagne houses, Charles de Casanove and G.H. Martel. We wanted to see Veuve Cliquot, since that’s Kenji’s favorite, but they were closed. But I was still happy to see any!

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On the bullet train TGV heading to Reims, and the highest speed I saw it go, 317 kmph!

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We had lunch at a really good restaurant, and also checked out the Porte de Mars, a bit of wall leftover from the Roman age, before heading to our first champagne house for a tour and tasting

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Our first House, Charles de Casanove

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We took a tour of the cellars, which wasn’t chalk but just a normal building, and saw the barrels and giant bins where the champagne is kept and aged, as well as where it is bottled and the bottles stored to age more. It was really interesting!

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Then we got to try three glasses of yummy champagne!

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After that we walked to the second champagne house of the day

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Meanwhile passing by the famous Notre Dame Cathedral of Reims, but unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to explore it since we had to meet our appointment time.

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G.H. Martel

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G.H. Martel DOES have the traditional cellars, so after a short video we went on a tour with the guide.

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I thought the cellars were really neat, full of stuff illustrating the old ways they used to bottle and make champagne

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And then of course, another tasting of champagne!

At that point we were a bit tipsy, so we headed back to the hotel with a quick pitstop to get some food for dinner.

And the next day we continued on into Luxembourg, so that will be for next post!