For the first three days of our Seine River cruise we soaked up the sights, sounds, tastes and culture of Paris. Sleeping and eating (mostly) on board our river ship the M-S Bizet, docked in the central district, put us close to all the action. We enjoyed guided bus, walking and river tours as well as time on our own to visit museums and other attractions.
After our early morning arrival, and breakfast in a friendly local café, we unpacked and settled in to our cabin before heading to the upper deck for the obligatory safety drill.
After lunch on board Connie and I set out for what was supposed to be 20 minute walk from our dock along the Seine to the Eiffel Tower. We had purchased tickets for a specific time to ride the elevators to the top. However, the 20 minutes turned into 45 and our jetlag started to set it. We then spent close to an hour in line to get through the Covid vaccination card checkpoint. Despite the delay our tickets were still good and we were thankful that vaccination cards and masks are required for entry to all public places and restaurants throughout France. I made it up to the second level of the tower for a few photos of the city but opted to not wait in another long line to get to the top. We rode a city bus back to our ship for the first of our amazing dinners on board, and slept very well that night!
The next day started with a bus and walking tour of Paris, including Place de la Concorde, Champs Elysée & Arc de Triomphe, and the shops, cafés and street dancing of Saint-Médard Parish. The Arc de Triomphe had been wrapped as a work of contemporary art by the team of famed “wrapping” artist Christo. Although he had passed away the year before, the work was executed according to plans Christo had completed 60 years ago.
After the guided tour Connie and I walked to the Musée D’Orsay to see its wonderful collection of impressionist paintings. From there we stopped for a delicious lunch of French onion soup at a sidewalk café on our way to the Louvre. With limited time left we made a point of seeing the Mona Lisa and as many other masterpieces as we could fit in. After dinner the ship traveled a short distance upstream for a spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower at night.
For our third and final day in Paris we were bused to the Moulin Rouge for a “choo-choo train” ride up the hill to Montmartre. On our walking tour of the area we visited the Sacred Heart Basilica (“Basilica Sacre Coeur”) and strolled along quaint local streets before resting for coffee and croissants at a sidewalk café. That afternoon a highlight of our time in Paris was our narrated ship’s tour along the Seine to the confluence of the Marne river, where the M-S Bizet did a 180 degree rotation in its own length before heading back downstream. Apparently it is one of the few river ships of its size that can fit under the many bridges along the Seine. We passed the brightly lit Eiffel Tower while we dined on our return trip.