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Published: September 28th 2018
We had a glass of champagne at the top of the Eiffel Tower today - my Paris visit is complete! 😊
We had a light breakfast in the apartment this morning, and left around 8:30, heading to the Louvre Museum. We walked the couple of blocks to Rambuteau station (now I know the right direction!), took line 11 two stops (well, one stop because the next stop is closed), connected to line 1 and took it a couple of stops to the Palais Royal Musee du Louvre stop. The connections involve a lot of walking, and lots of stairs. We followed the signs to the Louvre, and found the right entry to use with our museum passes. The passes worked great, we didn‘t have to wait in the line up, and got in quickly. We got the audio tours (they were frustrating to use and I found them pretty useless so would definitely not recommend paying the 5 euros for them). We found the highlights that we wanted to see (Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, Venus de Milo) but I was really disappointed because the Egyptian antiquities rooms turned out to be closed. The Egyptian exhibits were really the only thing
I wanted to see so it was a big bummer for me. I found the Louvre much more difficult to find our way around in than the British Museum. It was kind of funny in the room where the Mona Lisa is displayed. There are massive crowds around the very small painting, everyone posing for selfies with the Mona Lisa. My Dad saw the painting in the 50s, and there were no people at all back then. As we were leaving the Louvre, the line ups were massive to get in and we were glad we had gone earlier.
After the Louvre, we walked through the Tuileries Garden, and under the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel in the Place du Carrousel. We found an outdoor cafe to have a coffee and share a pastry, as we needed a pick me up after the Louvre. We sat in the sun and enjoyed the coffee (slightly cheaper than yesterday at 5.50 euros!) then continued on walking. We walked through the Place de la Concorde (after a WC break where we had to pay .80 euros for the privilege). We walked along the banks of the Seine, and past the Grand Palais,
eventually making our way to the Champs Élysées-Clemenceau metro stop. When I looked at the map later I realized what a long distance we had walked. We took the metro to the Charles de Gaulle-Etoile stop, and emerged from the metro to see the Arc de Triomphe in all its glory. Wow! We took some photos, then we walked underneath the Champs Élysées through the tunnel to the Arc de Triomphe. We passed the line using our museum passes (just had a short security line), and got to use the elevator as we are with a senior (Mom). It would have been difficult for her to walk up the winding staircase to the top. The view from the top is really great. I took the staircase down just to see what it was like. It’s a very winding circular staircase (see the photo).
We decided to head back to the Marais for lunch, so we looked for the metro station but we couldn’t find the one we had used (there are several different metro entrances around the Arc de Triomphe, and it is a massive area where it is not easy to get from one stop to another). So
we ended up in a different entrance to the metro, and getting a different line back, which was fine, except that it was a long walk between connections at Chatelet-Les Halles (we had to connect twice). We finally made it back to the apartment, and decided just to grab take away. We got baguettes that we had with beer at the apartment, and had a brief rest before we were out again, for our timed entry to the top of the Eiffel Tower.
Back on to the metro (we are getting good use of our 5 day metro passes). We took the 11 line from Rambuteau to Chatelet-Les Halles, connected to RER B train which we took to the Saint-Michel Notre-Dame stop, then connected to the RER C train to the Champ de Mars-Tour Eiffel stop. We followed the signs to the exit, but when we came out I couldn’t see the Eiffel Tower anywhere. I knew it was a 9 minute walk, according to the app, but in which direction? I was just hauling out the map when suddenly, oh, there it was, in all it's glory, the Eiffel Tower!. Ok, now we know where we are going!
The Mona Lisa
It took me a while to fight my way to the front so I could see the painting and take a photo without anybody in it.
We found the entrance to use with our pre-purchased time entry tickets, and got in line. And stood in line, slowing advancing, for about an hour until we finally got on the elevator, first to the second level, then another line up for the second elevator to the top. I had thought we would simply have taken an elevator to the top at the scheduled time, which was 5:30. Hah! And the lines were not properly organized or marked, it was a bit of a zoo. But we finally made it to the summit, where we admired the view (it’s really high!), bought a glass of expensive, but very good, champagne (what the heck, it’s the Eiffel Tower!), and enjoyed ourselves. After time spent admiring the view we headed down to the second level (after a long wait for the elevator of course). The view from the second level was also really good, and being not as high up you see more detail. We stayed as long as we could in the cool wind, then waited in the windy elevator line up back down to the bottom. We walked around a bit, then decided to get an Uber back to
Crowds at the Mona Lisa
See that teeny painting in the distance?
the apartment, since we were all tired and didn’t really want to take the metro. It took at least 40 minutes for the drive back, Paris traffic is quite something. The Uber driver said it was like that all the time. It was interesting seeing Paris as we drove through different neighbourhoods, as it was getting dark.
We got back about 8:45 or so, and just had some leftover salads, and enjoyed a bottle of white wine we had bought the day we arrived. It was a nice wine, and very reasonable. I am tired so will finish now. I got over 22,000 steps today! Tomorrow we visit Versailles!
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