The day we arrived in Paris (The Road to the Mona Lisa), was the hottest day of the year.  Not that hot to many of you, but over 90F is nothing to sneeze at. Add in humidity & a body used to the cool temperatures and breezes of the Black Forest, it was positively sweltering. I melted almost immediately after stepping foot onto the platform at the Gare de l’Est (east station) in Paris’ 10th Arrondissement.

Luckily I’d been to Paris before, and I shuttled my young charge straight down to the tunnels of the Metro and RER (both part of Paris’ extensive subway system). We each bought a packet of 10 tickets, the frugal travelers friend, and headed straight to the center of Paris to check the lay of the land.

The Metro was deliciously cool. We got on in early afternoon, not crowded yet with the evening commute, and most tourists still savoring a long lunch. Air conditioning blew our hair and cooled our faces. We were off to a good start.  Our line brought us right to the Louvre, and while it wasn’t Louvre Day, we couldn’t resist getting a peak RIGHT NOW.

We stepped out into the fabulous Carrousel du Louvre, a beautiful, cool, underground shopping center filled with tempting delights.   We resisted temptation, though not window shopping, and wound our way out & up.  Stepping back into the hot, bright sun directly onto the Place du Carrousel, with the Louvre all around us and the Eiffel tower just visible in the far distance, both of us immediately giddy & dizzy with heat and excitement. We strolled around admiring the architecture, the parks, the statues, the history.

Cerina, my companion, had long waited to travel to Paris.  Her mind is filled with facts and history, and walking with her, seeing Paris through her eyes, sharing her knowledge, was like having my own personal tour guide.  Her enthusiasm was contagious and my desire for the cool, dark tunnels of the Metro faded as we walked and admired this beautiful city.

We decided to walk to the Eiffel tower, alongside the Seine where possible, stopping briefly at historical landmarks to learn their history, imagine this city in another time, and catch our breath. The heat and humidity pressing down on us. We finally made it to the Eiffel tower, a much longer walk than it’s presence on our horizon had indicated, and plopped down on the grass amidst people from all cultures and corners of the world.

Getting back up was not so easy, and we decided to check into our small hotel for a brief rest and cool shower. While small, our hotel had the quintessential Juliet balcony, the tall twin windows swung wide open offering a wonderful breeze into our room. We both flopped onto our beds in delight, happiness and relief flooding our bodies as both the weariness and heat faded away.

A short hour later we were ready to venture out again, the city beckoning us to explore, the heat making us hesitant to do so.  We decided to do an evening cruise on the Seine, while a dinner cruise was out of our modest budget, a simple tour was not. We traveled the Metro right back to the Eiffel tower and hopped on one of the bateaux parisiens to see the city from the Seine. At only 15 each, this is a steal! A must. A delight!

Paris seen from the Seine, especially under the setting sun, is stunning.  It defines the City of Light. It defines beauty. If it weren’t for The Louvre, this would be the highlight of my trip.


The Eiffel tower looks almost like the Golden Gate bridge as the sun starts to set.


Pegasus statue on the Pont Alexander III: The bridge named after the Tsar of Russia was built during the Belle Époque and connects the Invalids to the Grand and Petit Palais.


Fête des Tuileries: the gardens in front of the Louvre host a carnival in the heat of summer.


Assemblée Nationale: The National Assembly is the lower house of the bicameral Parliament of France.


Notre Dame, lit up at night.


Lights reflecting off the Seine, Notre Dame in the background.


The Eiffel Tower all lit up.


Our Metro stop. We are finally home for the night.

At night, on the hour, the Eiffel Tower sparkles to life. A fantabulous ending to a fantabulous evening.