L’Open Tour

With little knowledge of Paris, we thought that the best introduction to Paris was via a tour.  After all, the French spoke French and we don't.  The L’Open Tour Bus offered a great option in that it was available 200 meters from our hotel and as we discovered over time, it offered great value for money.  As there were 4 routes that can be accessed with the one ticket, our strategy was to first take all 4 routes, mark the spots we wanted to get off and why, then prioritise where we wanted to get off for later.
 

As with most “get on get off” busses, there were stops where masses of people would get on, some where obnoxious people would get on and some stops of course, where the bus would be completely emptied of passengers.  We just had to plan that if we got off the busses where many people would get on, where can we get on next where masses of people wouldn’t.  For instance at the Lourve stop, many would get off and many would also get on.  We worked out that if we did get off and visited the Lourve, it would be a good idea to take the nice walk along the gardens on onto Concorde where there were only a few people ready to get on the bus again.   It was important for us to plan ahead as to guarantee that seats were available to us at the top of the bus, where we had good views of the sights.

We noted many of these strange mouse like signs on the roads.  Probably something we in Australia are not used to at this point in the rapid rise of hybrid cars.  In France, electric cars are advocated by environmentalists and seen as a threat to the national power company, the Electricite De France (EDF) doesn't mind using EVs for governmental services.   When riding on the L'Open Tour bus, we noticed many of these sign posts indicating that charging stations were nearby.

The L’Open Bus drove us around the Eiffel tower and told us about its designer who had also designed the Ho Chi Minh city Post Office building and several other noted architectural feats around the world.  We were able to take some good pictures without getting off the bus which was fine with us as the queue was rather long, snaking around the large feet of the tower.

Getting off at the Concorde stop, you are able to take nice pictures of Obilisque. Palace de la Concorde and then do more shopping along the walk towards Madeline Church.  The church with its 36 pillars is quite an imposing sight and was worth the short visit.  It is also the landmark location from where we can get to famous French chocolatier Fauchon and the Lacoste apparel store just "around the corner".


Sign post showing an charging zone located nearby for EV (Electric Vehicles)

A key stop is at Notre Dame, where three out of the four L’Open Bus routes meet.  At Notre Dame, we walked around the church grounds where a nice park attracted many Parisians, especially young couples to sit under the shaded trees.  The queue to the Notre Dame tower was quite long, presumably because you are able to get a very nice view of the city environs from up there.  We wanted to get up the towers to see the gargoyles, made famous in cartoons and also by the “Hunchback of Notre Dame”.  Not a big fan of queues, we had to give the towers a miss and took a walk around the church grounds instead.  Along the river we found many people sunbathing on the concrete embankments, some topless.  A street market available here had vendors displaying their original artwork so for those who are into quaint nice pieces of French art, here’s the place.

At the head office of the L’Open Bus, we took a short walk to reach the famous departmental store Lafayette, a branch of which is available in Berlin.  There were 3 Lafayette buildings n Paris where the Opera House is: Lafayette Gourmet, Lafayette Mode (fashion) and Lafayette Home.  We visited the Mode building, which inside was lined with brand name fashion at brand name prices.  Nevertheless, there were many shoppers that were looking and buying.  At Lafayette Gourmet, we purchased a quantity of Foie Gras (Goose pate) to take home and was pleasantly surprised by the variety of Chinese Dim Sum that was available for takeaways.  It was good that the L’Open Bus was able not only to show us around Paris, it also told us where the larger and more famous department stores were for our shopping.  However, as the last L’Open Bus completes their rounds at 6pm, we took the subway (the Métro) to get home.

We hope you enjoy these pictures.  They were taken from the bus... ie: we didn't get off to take these pictures.

 

Raymond and Jeanette
May 6th, 2007

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