Whoa, I forgot what American vacations are like - with only a couple of weeks a year off, the desire to see as much as possible in a short span of time is understandable, but I was so wiped out yesterday, I don't know how I ever did it before! My sister is safely home, and we had a wonderful time, the weather mostly cooperated, and even if we didn't get to do everything we wanted, she will be back one day!
So she arrived very early Monday morning, and we spent the day doing a blitz of monument seeing. Unfortunately, because of the gorgeous weather and the national holiday the next day, we didn't get to do as much as we would have liked.
L'arc de Triomphe, barricaded in preparation for the Bastille Day parade
We started with the Arc de Triomphe, which we admired from slightly afar, and then followed that up with a brief walk on the Champs Elysées. The next stop was the Eiffel Tower, which, like the Arc, was barricaded in preparation of the Bastille Day festivities that would follow the next day. A stage was already set up behind the Eiffel Tower for the free concert the next day, and underneath was a sea of people, so we went to our next attraction.
Our next destination was the Musée national du Moyen Age (aka the Cluny museum) which was packed but we still enjoyed it. A couple of new exhibits had opened since my last visit and of course I love visiting the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries.
After lunch at a very well recommended brasserie (thank you, you know who you are!!), we attempted a visit to Notre Dame, but the line to get in crossed the entire plaza in front of it! Undaunted, we retreated to the metro to go to the Catacombs, but the people who run it decided to make it a four day weekend (!!) and it was closed.
The jet lag started to take its toll on my sister, so we stopped for a brief drink in a café and decided to head to the train station.
By the way, if you're looking for a place to keep your luggage while you're running around Paris, the Gare de l'Est now offers a very good service: 5€ per bag for under 12 hours (if I remember correctly). All bags are scanned before being stored and you only have to drop them off and they are delivered to you when you're ready to retrieve them. I highly recommend it!
So, we headed home. And that was only the first day! I'm in the process of going through my photos and uploading them to my flickr feed and I'll be giving detailed descriptions of what we did here.