Saturday, July 21, 2012

Day 2 of Paris

Waking up late is never good when on a $30 000 trip. TT, of course. So when I heard the thump and the cry of some kid in another room and checked the time, I was cursing myself for not getting up with my alarm. Of course it was 9:30 a.m. and everywhere was crowded.
I decided to forgo my initial plan of visiting Notre-Dame this morning since it was so late. Instead, I took a walk up Saint Germain, made a mental note to pass there again for shopping, and after standing at a few corners with my map opened and wondering WTF (because naturally, not all of the streets are included in the maps of Paris), I saw this little square:

Then I made it to the Tour Eiffel. Let me just say that I reached the tower (due to my late start) at 11:30 a.m. I reached the ticket counter for the lift after 3 p.m. Lesson? Don't get up late. Oh, and walk with a jacket. It's freezing up there.

At the base of the tower:

The first stopping point before going up the lift again to the Sommet:

Not at the top yet...

Here's the top:

What's there (besides a gorgeous view):

Eiffel's office:

Aaand back down again. I chose to take the stairs to get from the second to the first floor. I do not recommend that unless you like heights, have perfect balance and do not fear falling. I was very slow going cause I am not any of those three. I took the lift from there.

And the base again.

I thawed out in the sun in the Parc du Champ de Mars and got this shot lying on the grass. The kid is in all my shots, bless her.

Then I walked on to the Arc de Triomphe. Now this structure is in the middle of an intersection. A roundabout (sort of) with no crossings indicating how to get there. Seeing as I didn't want to use the repatriation part of my insurance in a high traffic zone, I walked around the whole thing and took this shot:

There was an officer band playing but I couldn't get a picture of it with all the cars passing. Then I saw a sign towards a set of stairs. The entrance is via an underground tunnel. Off I went until I came up and saw this in the middle of the Arc:

And this is one of the images carved on one side of it:

The Arc de Triomphe had something I did not know about. 248 steps. I bought my ticket (which I just realised I could have saved with my museum pass) and reached the entrance. There I saw a sign indicating that there were 248 steps to the top. WTF?! I thought, but like a good trooper (ha ha), I pressed on.
Inside, there isn't much to see. A bit of history about how and why the Arc was built and what it has been used for over the years. It was all in french so I took the English brochure to read another time. There were two more sets of stairs before reaching the top. The view there is quite lovely:

This is what the stairs looked like on the way down:

And after all of that walking, I took the bus to the station near my hotel. I'm smart like that.

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