Paris! {Part 3}

Remember how I told you about the “mini” Arc de Triomphe located in front of the Louvre?  Well here is the real one!  {It is SO big, but you can see how it looks from the top of the Eiffel Tower in this post.}

This monument honors those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.  The main avenues of the city radiate from the roundabout surrounding the Arc de Triomphe.

{Tip: If you stand on the Louvre side of the “mini” Arc de Triomphe de Carrousel and look through its arches down the Champs-Elysees, you will see the main Arc de Triomphe; they are lined up perfectly… AMAZING!}

Speaking of the Champs-Elysees, that was the mister’s favorite part of the trip.  He is a huge cycling fan, so the main thing on his to do list was to ride bikes along the Champs-Elysees between the Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre; this route is the finishing leg of the Tour de France every year.

So, that is what we did!  There are bike rental stations all over the city which were super convenient.  You can create a short term account for about a Euro per day and you can rent an unlimited number of bikes from any station and return them to any other station in the city.  The first half hour after you leave each bike station is free, and beyond that it is still really reasonable in price.

If you’ve ever watched the Tour de France, you know that typically the crowds flood the streets and then suddenly spread out at the last possible second, letting the bikes speed through.  They cut it so close sometimes you think they are going to get hit!  {And sometimes they do.}

Anyways, this happened to us while we were riding on the Champs-Elysees!  There was a huge crowd of teenagers standing in the middle of the bike lane, and we were speeding along right at them.  I was ringing the little bell {like a dork} to make sure they saw us coming.  The mister had a feeling of what they were doing, so he sped right along at them and at the last possible second, the crowd split and they started cheering us on!  The mister says it’s his favorite “sports moment” ever, and is kind of shocked that his favorite sports experience occurred while riding a bike with a basket on the front… Ha!

Besides being known for the Arc de Triomphe and Tour de France, Champs-Elysees is the most famous shopping area in Paris.  It’s store after store up and down the entire street.  There are lots of great restaurants as well.

We visited Notre Dame as well. The architecture was absolutely amazing.  {While we loved St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, we both ended up liking Notre Dame better because everything was so old and original and it felt a bit less like a tourist attraction.  It was free to enter as well, while St. Paul’s charged admission.

If you visit Notre Dame, it’s definitely worth taking the short walk over to the Latin Quarter.  This area is known to be more where the college locals hang out.  We stumbled upon this crazy church…

I have no idea what it’s called; I just know that it was the creepiest church I’ve ever seen!

It had demon like creatures hanging off around the entire building…

And, in case you are wondering, it was just as creepy on the inside.

I found an awesome clothing boutique in the Latin Quarter, called Promod.  I literally could have walked out with everything in that store, and it was actually affordable!  The mister’s favorite store there was this bookstore that was stacked floor to ceiling with books.  It was straight out of a movie, and I’m sure if you asked the owner about a specific book he would have known exactly which stack to look in!

We passed through Luxembourg Gardens…

And the Pantheon as well…

Well, I think that’s about all of our favorite photos from the trip.  I have one more post planned with some tips for traveling to Europe, because there were definitely some things that I wish I had known beforehand!  After that, I promise I’ll stop with the travel photos for a while… 🙂

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