Paris – Day One

25 10 2008

Well I’m home… after a wonderful two days in Paris I am back in the Netherlands.  The start of the trip was pretty uneventful, we left around 8:30, dropped off Stoney, then headed off towards France.  During the trip down we had good weather and little traffic.  Going through Belgium was pretty much trouble free except for a couple of jams here and there around Antwerpen, but as soon as we got in to France the roads were clear and we could do the speed limit of 130 km/h!  Gotta love the French! 

Of course as soon as we hit Paris the traffic jammed and it took us over an hour to reach the hotel, which also meant that I lost time to do what I had planned for the day.  So instead of going to the Eiffel Tower and to the Louvre in one day I could only get to the Eiffel Tower.  I basically ran out of the hotel and down to the Metro to catch the train to the tower.  The Metro is the best way to get around Paris hands down.  For the low low price of € 1,60 you can travel the Metro all day. 

I have seen the tower before, but it was usually quick and I didn’t get to go right up to it.  Either we were zooming past it by bus or car.  Or like the grade 10 band trip, they let us off the bus in the middle of nowhere and didn’t give us enough time to get there and back.  But this time, I was able to get right up close, close enough to touch it, see every rivet, beam, speck of rust (which really there isn’t that much).  I snapped pictures from in front of the tower, beside the tower, under the tower, around the tower.  I ooooohed and aaaaaahed like the other tourists.  Then I went to get into the line to go UP the tower.  I saw the wait time, 30 minutes for the elevator ride.  O.K I can deal with a 30 minute wait, so I stand in line and just as I’m about to step towards security; I get stopped and the little fabric barrier goes across in front of me.  Shocked I look up and some dude tells me to wait so that this entire bus load of tourists can go ahead of me… WHAT???? So I calmly look up to the sign and suddenly my 30 minute wait for the elevator jumps to ONE FREAKING HOUR!!  Oh I don’t think so, I’m not standing in line for an hour then forking over € 12,00 to be jammed in to a little glass square thank you very much.  I’ll go over to the other line that is nice and short and … walk up?  Sure why not? I can do it… let’s look at the benefits of walking up… it’s healthier, clean air, no strange persons pressing against you in a overcrowded box, I can take “progress” pictures, and it’s cheaper by € 8,00!  So I fork over my €4,00 to some lady who obviously hates her job (miserable cow) and start the climb of 704 steps.. yup…. 704.  I did it though, and actually once you get a groove going up, you can make in decent time.  I did stop and rest occasionally to take some pictures or to deal with the butt cramp.  But other then that it was a good hike up! 

I got to the tower at the right  time, before the mad rush and before the sun went down.  I took a ton of pictures of the city before and during the sunset.  Here are a few, but most are on my flickr account.  I was able to get pictures from all three platforms of the tower.  Hey I made it to the first platform walking up 300 some odd stairs, what’s another 300?  Then of course once I got to the second platform I did the remaining 18 odd steps and got to the top.  Now it was just a matter of walking down without getting dizzy from the round and round that I had to do.  Amazing how much quicker it was going DOWN then UP! 🙂

I went across the street after I came down and got a few pictures of the tower lit up blue and then I saw the flashing light display that they have.  I did get that as a movie and you can see that on the flickr account.   It really is quite a show and I would have like to have seen it when it was a little darker out but I had to get going.  I was to meet up with Frank so that we could go out for supper.  Which turned into an event all it’s own when we went to Le Dragon d’Argent.  With the owner Leung, we had a wonderful Thai meal with free saki at the end (I personally didn’t drink my.. blech tasted like turpentine).  A few lovely pictures and mini bananas to take back to the hotel for breakfast the next day.

So even though my day was very short by tourist standards I had a great time at the tower and getting my fair share of pictures in.  By the time we got back to the hotel I was ready to pass out, my legs were starting to feel the climb and standing was becoming a bit tricky 😛  Plus I needed to get my sleep for my Day Two of Paris, and since I was getting up at  6:30am (thank you Frank) I was getting an early start on my day!  

Day two coming soon….

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7 responses

26 10 2008
Billy Haynes

First off I have to say great pictures! I would love to visit Paris someday, but I bet the traffic is quite jammed all the time due to it being so popular and a big tourist city. Metro sounds like a cheap way to get around for sure. Maybe one day I too will get to see the tower up close and personal! 🙂

26 10 2008
Beebs

Sounds like you had a great time! I learnt a couple of things from a weekend I spent there with the Dutchie a couple of years ago:

1. Avoid peak season (ie May) if you’re only doing a weekend
2. If you can’t avoid 1., then book tickets for everything you want to do online before you leave.

We never went up the Eiffel Tower, or saw the inside of much of anything because of the lineups because we went in May, just as all the students arrived. One “foot” of the tower was closed, and the other three had looooong lineups. So we walked a LOT…luckily the weather was gorgeous…

Look forward to seeing the rest of your pictures!

26 10 2008
Decora

Glad you enjoyed your trip. Even under two days, you’ve only seen half of that massive country. Only bad thing is the crowding and everything is packed beyond belief but, once you finally made it to the top, it was worth it.

26 10 2008
Kim

I love your photographs! I’d like to go up the tower someday, but I might wuss out and take the elevator. I’ve hefted groceries up 8 floors when our elevator was out though, so who knows… maybe I could pull the stairs off afterall *L*

26 10 2008
Frank E. Shemonek Sr.

Hello Melissa, I Love it. you are so comical. I sympithize with your time crunch and will only have to say Mary and I have also done the gay Paris tour and then to find out you can’t see the Louvre on that same day. Maybe We’ll get to it someday. The subways there, are a great means of travel. Great pictures. I’ll bet Stoney was glad to see you. Minnesota grandpa Frank

27 10 2008
Penny

You got lucky with the wait time for the Eiffel tower. All the times I have been its been 3 hours or longer. What the heck was up with the tour bus crowding in front of you! Bravo that you did the walk, that is awesome!

30 10 2008
Darcy

I have yet to hit Paris in my European vacation plans yet but after reading your post and feeling your enthusiasm I”m definitely moving this destination up my list.

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