visit the Arc de Triomphe -...
visit the Arc de Triomphe - located at the tip of Champs Elysees Boulevard where 12 avenues converge. Do take the elevators up to the roof top where you can enjoy a spectacular view of Paris!
Napolean had a great plan only 15 years in power, this came to fruition after his death, what an amazing feat of architecture. I breathe the Romantic Air on the top of Eiffel Tower,
Look down the whole Romantic city,
Paris was a dream come true for me... ...
Restrooms on the go!
Always use every opportunity to use the available bathrooms in Paris - you never know where your next chance may come. Too many times I'd stop at a little cafe for a cup of cafe with the intent of using the ladies' when I was finished and then would pay the bill and leave. I wasted more money that way! That's why I carry a list of McDonald's in Paris - they provide clean, free, available facilities.
Please note there are restrooms by the Charlemagne statue on the Place du Parvis Nôtre Dame and also in the Jardin du Luxembourg near the Médici fountain (on the east side of the garden). You'll pay a small fee to the attendant for use of the toilette.
Also, there are sanisettes throughout the city. These are self-cleaning and very sanitary. Please be advised that once you open the door to leave, the sanisette will start to clean itself so you'll need to move quickly or otherwise risk being sprayed with a ton of water! SANISETTES ARE NOW FREE IN PARIS! Please see website below for locations throughout the city.
I saw them at:
149 Bd St-Germain (near St-Germain)
Place de la Bourse
Rue de Belleville
The other alternative is to go into a nearby bar (there's always one somewhere on the block!). Use the facilities (usually downstairs in le cave), buy a drink then move on.
One time I tried using the outdoor facilities that were by Sacré-Cœur but the doors on every one of them were jammed from vandalism. Oy vey! But the best places to use les toilettes are inside the Ritzy (pun intended) hotels as they are super nice. The one in the Ritz has wooden tray on the table with perfume and other toiletries items a woman might need.
We have a joke in our household where we call toilet paper, papier de toilette. I noticed the sign on the inside of a sanisette that calls it Papier Hygiénique so (you know me) I had to take a photo! I guess we'll be calling it that instead from now on. ;)
Photos: Feb 2006 & Nov 2007
First of May: also day of Lily of the Valley
In Paris (and elsewhere in France), first of May is a public holiday, and that day, many people spend a part of it in the streets. Some go to the traditional 1st of May demonstration, organised by the trade unions and left political parties, other spend it selling and purchasing lily of the valley.
Offering a sprig of lily of the valley on the first of May is supposed to offer happiness, and this old tradition of offering these white bell shaped flowers dates back to 1561 when French King Charles IX established the tradition to offer lilies of the valley to the ladies of the court (website).
It is a bit strange to see this flower linked to the first of may nowadays, day of the strikes in USA, in 1886, leading to the recognition of a worker’s day, on first of may.
The Paris demonstrations do not go without lilies of the valley, the workers began that tradition in 1907, and they had a red triangle associated with the lily, a triangle symbolising the division of the day in three parts of 8 hours, of which, one part was dedicated to work! (Yes, in 1907, it was asked to work 8 hours a day, the French red established this in 1936, whilst the worker’s paradise, far east was far from that!).
Today, if you visit Paris on a first of May, you will see hundreds of street vendors proposing you a little bit of happiness; a French tradition.
I find these littles flowers rather expensive; after four in the afternoon, the prices begin to lower. . . ..But the real thing is to have them in the morning:))
I took the photographs on May 1st 2009, in the eastern area of Paris.
An Old Local Custom
Identifying markers at the door. 1416, such a long time ago. There is nothing in the USA, but geographical landmarks, that are as old as this building. You can imagine how impressed I was each time I realized how old some of the building of Paris were, that they were still standing and that I was able to see them.
This one of the biggest libraries in the world is a cold architectural monument commanded by the past French President François Mitterand.
Impressive in its size, it also manages to cage nature: inside the courtyard you can see pines transplanted from the Vosges, at the side to the east, you find another type of cages, this time buxus that is neatly presented.