Paris Day 2 – Luxembourg Gardens, Opera House & Arc de Triomphe
My Flight To Paris
Hotel Cardinal Rive Gauche
We slept in a little to recover and headed out to Luxembourg Gardens around 10am. We asked for directions at our hotel before leaving and they gave us a much better route combining bus and metro than we had originally planned. So we walked down the street and hopped on a bus.This is where our Paris Visite Pass came in handy – because we totally hopped on that bus in the wrong direction. We decided to just take it the entire route and see what we discovered. It was fun, but they did make us get off and wait at the end of the stop, then swipe our pass again to get back on. Having the unlimited metro pass was very handy. We eventually made it to the gardens and walked around a while. They were very pretty, with several flowers and statues.
We had read online it was possible to see inside the Palace between 10:30 and 2:30 on Mondays when the Senate isn’t in session. But apparently the site we had found was entirely wrong and it is only with a senator’s invitation. So we only got to see the gardens. After the gardens, we headed to the Paris Opera House. This was a “maybe” on both of our lists of what we wanted to see, but it seemed to fit into our plan for the day so we went ahead. Very glad we did! It was incredibly gorgeous.
We spent most of the time walking around with our mouths hanging open. It was €9,50 for admission – and worth it.
After the opera house, we headed to check out Galleries Lafayette nearby. I had read online that the rooftop was free to access and had a good view of Paris. We shopped a little and grabbed lunch in the cafeteria. The place was huge, seven floors of different stores to get up to the rooftop. The view was nice, but not a must check out location.
After Galleries Lafayette, we walked up Champs-Elysees and checked out the Arc de Triomphe. We intended to buy our Paris Museum Pass here. The walk up Champs Elysee was nice. The traffic circle around the Arc de Triomphe was crazy! And just for the record – if you stand in front of a parked truck to take a picture, you’re really not that safe at all.
When we got to the line for the Arc de Triomphe it was about 6pm. Turns out they stop selling museum passes for the day at 5:30. This was annoying, but we just changed our plans and instead of buying the 4-day pass we went for a 2-day starting the following day and squeezed some of our plans together. The Arc de Triomphe entry was €9,50.
It was a significant number of stairs to get to the top – the first of many stairs in Paris. If you cannot do stairs, I suggest you research your trip well before heading to Paris! The view from the top was great, but if you have to choose one I would go for the Eiffel Tower view.
What was fun was watching the crazy drivers in the circle below! I could never drive there, and was very grateful for the metro.
After climbing back down the stairs we headed back towards our hotel to find somewhere to grab dinner. We found a restaurant called Cafe Brasserie. We both ordered french onion soup and lamb, which was amazing! We didn’t find the food to be much more expensive than in the United States at all, unless we just ate at all the wrong places!
One of my friends is a Coca Cola memorabilia fan and had requested I bring back glass bottles if I could find them. I had looked all over during the day but hadn’t seen any. It was at dinner when I noticed another table had ordered Coke and got a glass bottle! So I was able to get one at dinner. We decided to call it a night after dinner as we were heading to Versailles the next day and intended to get there at a reasonable hour.