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Once we went to Paris

overcast 5 °C

So here we are in Paris. It is cold, it is overcast, but, we are in Paris.

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The city has so much history, culture and colour to explore, with unique experiences to be had depending on which district you are in, it is a difficult task for just 10 days. Many of the museums require a full day alone, so we have to be organised if we are to fit everything in.

We rent an apartment off AirBnB in Simplon, which is in the 18th arr and around 20 minutes by metro to the centre of Paris. We arrive to the apartment and retrieve a key, waiting under the door mat. We enter to find an apartment which looks as though its inhabitants have fled in a hurry. All of their belongings populate the apartment, dishes are in the sink, we are not sure if this is the right place, or if we are trespassing. After rummaging through some of the belongings we find a card with the guy who we had been liaising withs name on it. Good, we are not breaking and entering.

We find Paris like Belgium in the swing of Christmas celebrations. Between Place de la Concorde and the shopping strip of Champs-Élysées are lined with more Christmas Markets than we have ever seen. We are disappointed to find things severely overpriced, which really stops you from hanging around, and enjoying the lights and festivities. Unlike in Bruges these markets seem very much aimed at tourists, or at least, don't have the same local feel and charm. Never the less the city is beautifully lit, with decorations draped and hung from trees which line many of the streets.

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Our apartment is located around a 30 minutes on foot from Montmartre, but after 6 nights we move apartments and make this our home. It is a district that was once home to the likes of Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Piccaso, Salvador Dali and Eric Satie to name a few. It is said that they all lived there due to the low tax on alcohol and cheap rent, however I suspect that this is no longer the case. It is now a popular place for tourists with the main attractions being the Basilica Sacre Coeur found atop the hill, and the Moulon Rouge very close by. It is a very lively district with a bustling nightlife and many interesting characters to observe, including this Michael Jackson impersonator. He moved so swiftly I couldn't snap a clear picture of him.

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Montmartre is located on the only hill in Paris and is made up of a maze of stairs. It has some splendid views of the city and also features some of the most aggressive "gypos" in Europe. This time they are forcefully trying to tie a synthetic bracelet around your wrist, actually grabbing at you as you pass. After they secure it to a niave passerby, they demand a ridiculous price for the honour. One of the many tourist traps in Paris at the moment.

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Here are some pics taken in and around Montmartre, still a place where artists, and some that I wouldn't call artists sit and work.

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We had a magical 10 days in Paris, despite not getting many visits from the sun. Here are some more pics.

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Notre Dame
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A man spreading some cheer in his green van. Just doing laps of the street blaring music and blowing bubbles.
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Renault concept car
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Arc de Triumph
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Pont Alexandre Bridge
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Moroccan dinner
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Opera House
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Musee d'Orsay
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Hotel Invalids, great french war history museum, spanning though centuries of french army history. This is Napolians actual outfit. Only a little fella. The complex also contains Napolians tomb and Charles de Gaulle.
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Posted by harpellar 23:58 Archived in France

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