Everything Ticked-off The Paris “To-do” List.


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Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris
August 15th 2011
Published: August 17th 2011
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Eiffel Tower at NightEiffel Tower at NightEiffel Tower at Night

The view of the tower from the Trocadéro.
Given the failure of yesterday to get to the top of the Eiffel Tower, we decided to make it an early start and get there first thing so that we could hopefully get to the top before it got too busy and the queues got too long again. It wasn’t quite first thing when we got there, and we were out of luck as far as the queues were concerned. They were considerably worse than they had been the first time we came here. We took one look and ruled out waiting.

We then proceeded to have some fun with some photographs, by positioning ourselves so that we could take various pictures propping-up the tower or picking it up from the top. Loads of other people were doing the same and it is the same type of cliché that we did at the Leaning Tower of Pisa a couple of years ago.

Next we walked to the Metro and travelled to Monmatre. Once we managed to get our bearings we walked up the hill to Sacré-Coeur. It was getting very crowded there now with tourists and lots of people trying to sell things – usually small metal models of
Eiffel Tower ViewEiffel Tower ViewEiffel Tower View

The dusk view from the top of the tower.
the Eiffel Tower, although they can be found in just about every tourist location in Paris, with their square meter of cloth covered in pretty much the same gear. Good for them, but with so many I am surprised that any of them can make a living out of it.
We found a patch of grass on the hill that hadn’t already got someone sitting on it and sat down to have our lunch.

Next we walked to the Moulin Rouge to try and get some photographs, although that was ruined by a coach that had parked right in front of it. It was a British coach as well.

The next stop was the Musée du Louvre as our daughter particularly was very keen to see the Mona Lisa. There must have been thousands of people in that museum, although it swallowed them very well and the queue to get in didn’t take that long either.

We were in what was clearly the largest and most well stocked gallery (well actually it is half gallery and half museum) in France, if not the whole world, with the sole intention of seeing just one painting. It was very
Mona LisaMona LisaMona Lisa

What a lot of cameras.
well signed (we are obviously not the only ones who specifically head in that direction) and we found her behind what is an armour plated glass in what is clearly a very secure room. To say there were a lot of cameras being pointed in her direction would be putting it mildly.

Unlike the Musée d’Orsay, everyone is allowed to take photographs in the Louvre, just not with a flash, although a lot of people were not following that rule. We then had a look around what was probably a fraction of the rest of the gallery / museum and then went for a walk through the gardens outside.
We went back to the Trocadéro for a third attempt at the Eiffel Tower, but we first thought we would get something to eat. There are various restaurants and bistros around the Trocadéro: they were unbelievably expensive so we thought we would try the side streets for something away from the main area. We found a place that had a menu that satisfied all our requirements (adults and children) and went in. It was only when we sat down that we saw that it was an English theme pub. Yes,
Moulin RougeMoulin RougeMoulin Rouge

Complete with annoying British coach.
it was a bit naughty to be going to Paris and eating in an English themed pub, but we were there now and it was too late. So it was three Chicken Tikka Masalas, a roast beef and a pint (they actually had their own brewery).

It was then back to the Eiffel Tower for a third and final attempt at getting to the top. The queues were a lot shorter than they had been earlier in the day, so we decided that we were going to go for it. We queued for the tickets and then we queued for the lift to go to the second level. We then had to queue for tickets to the top level and then queue for those lifts as well. All that took about two hours and it was starting to get dark, but we had made it to the top. We were not disappointed as it was a great time to be up there. The sun was setting and Paris was starting to light-up below us. At one point, they turned on the lights on the tower itself so all the metalwork turned yellow, which made it look even better.
We
Sacré CoeurSacré CoeurSacré Coeur

Close-up view of Sacré Coeur.
got the lift back down to the second level. The kids were very keen to walk down the stairs to the bottom rather than getting the lift again, so we did that, which was actually quite fun.

We got to the bottom just before the hour so we then had the sight close-up of it going all sparkly.
Finally it was back to the Trocadéro for some night pictures of the tower and to catch the train back to La Défense, where it was a very dark and late walk back through the suburbs of Paris, which seem to resemble parts of Tottenham at that time of night. On a similar note, one other thing that you notice about walking around some parts of Paris is the collection of smells, not all of them pleasant!

Overall, it had been a very long, but very successful day.

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