We sit here in our lounge on a drab rainy Monday afternoon in January worrying about our waistlines following an overindulgent Christmas getting morose until we decided to think of something to do about it. We wanted to lift our spirits and work out how we can shift a few pounds in the process. Did we think about signing up for a personal trainer or training for the London Marathon? No, instead we have decided to visit one of the glorious European cities that has been languishing on our to do list for far too long.
Paris can be visited any time of the year as there is something to do whatever the temperature or precipitation forecast. We decided to help us shift some of those Christmas treat inches we have piled on and plan a weekend tour of the city doing as many steps as possible. Eschewing the Paris Metro and the above ground public transport we plan to do as much walking as is physically possible as we wander round the Paris highlights.
We started planning our ticket to Paris, France from here, seeing what we could find out and also searching the web for some other biped focussed travel sites to see how much of it we could walk without buying transport tickets. After hours of research we settled on the following busy itinerary for the first day.
You will find lots of helpful companies and self guided ours on the Paris Tourist Information Bureau website if you don’t want to get lost during your stay, but we prefer the flexibility and freedom of planning our own routes. But we used these us to help plan what we wanted to squeeze into the trip. Here is our plan for day one. Other itineraries will follow.
The Monuments and Museums
Despite the fact we have visited over forty countries and spent years travelling we have not yet ticked off the most visited city in the world. So we had to start the first day with a trip around the famous monuments.
Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
The city’s wonderful museum of modern art is a must see for us with the 8000+ works housed in the permanent collections alone this should add a good few thousand steps
Given the height of the Trocadero you get a great view of the Eiffel Tower on the across the Seine and have time to meander along the banks.
We all know what the tower is, but here are some facts to keep you occupied as you approach
- It is 324 metres high
- Contains 10,100 tons of steel
- Which has more than 2,500,000 rivets to hold it all together
- You will need to make 1,665 steps too reach the top
- It took two years for the 50 engineers and 132 workers directed by Gustave Eiffel to raise it from the ground
- It has had over 230 million visitors since its construction
Its not just Tower visitors come to enjoy, but also the huge park below its feet. It was named in tribute to the Roman god of war and the green lawns span the southeast side of the Eiffel Tower. It was opened in 1780 and nowadays you can also find the Mur pour la Paix (Wall for Peace), built in March 2000, in front of the École Militaire.
Finally no trip to Paris would be complete without a trip to church (or cathedral to be precise), France’s most famous.
Notre-Dame de Paris
Notre Dame began construction as Paris was chosen as the French capital and you will find on the front of the cathedral a bronze star inscribed ‘zero kilometre’ indicating the centre of the country in terms of travelling distances.
It is Gothic in style yet many architects have had a hand in the building you see before you today. You can climb the 400+ steps leading to the top and if you like emulate Victor Hugo’s Quasimodo and see if you can pull a face as funny as some of the grotesque gargoyles that will greet you. If you are finished gurning(here is a translation for our international visitors ) just stand and admire the views of the Paris skyline.
So we end our first day at church and amble off to find some of that famous French cuisine.
Getting to Paris
Given that this is the most visited place on the earth you will not be short of options to get you from home to the French capital , but we found flights London Paris could be had with the national carrier for around £75 per person round trip in February. A great bargain when you consider this includes the ability to choose your seat and a get a free snack on board (checked baggage is an additional £15).