We arrived in Paris on the Eurostar, travelling from Kings Cross /St Pancras station in London and terminating at the Gare du Nord just as night fell. Driving through the twinkling city to our accommodation I was like an excited child who had seen their first Christmas tree.
The following day our first point of exploration was Musee de l’Armee at Invalides. This is regarded as the best Museum of Military History in Europe and focuses on social and political issues relating to French and World military history from 13th Century through to 20th Century. It is a “must see” for any history buff and with hubby’s love of history coupled with his military background you can understand why we were there and not climbing the Eiffel Tower!
Commissioned by Louis XIV in 1670 Invalides was built as a hospital and retirement home for French war veterans and served this purpose until the early 20th Century when the complex morphed into the current museum. It includes a large chapel called the Dome des Invalides which is very ornate and rich with gold and is the final resting place for many French war heroes, the most well known being Napoleon Bonaparte.
Our visit to Notre Dame was simply breathtaking, notice the long queues but we were able to go straight in and so thankful to have been able to visit.
In keeping with our love of history, and it seems dead people, we went to Saint Denis, a Medieval Abbey which is the burial place for almost every French King from 10th -18th Centuries. It is a really beautiful Basilica and, along with many other royals, houses the tombs of Queen Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI of revolution fame. The areas around St. Denis were probably not the safest places in Paris, while wandering the streets and man came up to us and told us to take the cameras from around our necks as it was quite possible someone would just come up and rip them from us. We thanked him very much and put the cameras out of sight.
One other place I wanted to visit was the Palace of Versailles, particularly the Hall of Mirrors which was the location of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on 28th June 1919, officially ending WW1. As you can see it was packed with other tourists who had the same idea. We escaped to the gardens, which are simply magnificent, and later in the day when the crowds had thinned, returned to have another look at the inside of Versailles.