World Cities Tour - Spring Break Edition - Day 17

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July 3rd 2014
Published: July 6th 2014
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Several metro lines were closed, including the one to the Eiffel tower. Luckily there was a person there to help us find our way around. We, then, helped other lost Americans find their way also.
Day 17 - PARIS in the Sun

After a bit of a sleep in, we headed to Paris. The trip to the Eiffel Tower took a bit longer due to some temporary closures of the underground lines servicing the Eiffel Tower area (Summer seems a terrible time to close some of the busiest tourist stations, but C'est la vie). We were able to score tickets to the top of the tower only a few days in advance, which was very lucky. You really should buy them as soon as you can. All of us were very excited about the structure and mechanics of the various parts of the tower, especially the lifts. In case you didn't know... the Eiffel Tower is very tall. With nothing else around it nearly as tall, the impact of the ascent is a bit terrifying at times. Compared to the Empire State Building, for example, the Eiffel Tower is much more thrilling. We spent some time at the top looking around and taking pictures. We also looked for a post office box we heard was up there, but they removed it some time ago to one of the pillars on the ground level (the tower
Anne's Great PicAnne's Great PicAnne's Great Pic

Tony gave Anne a hard time about taking a picture into the sun, but later apologized when he saw how great the pic turned out.
employee we asked laughed at us and shook her head). We stopped on each of the floors on the way down, and found a place on the First floor where you could stand on semi-transparent glass and look down a long ways. It was a bit unnerving, and Tony had fun taking pictures of groups (with their own cameras, of course) and coaxing them gently to stand on the overhang. The day was getting very warm, so we took a lot of breaks during the next few hours as we walked over the river, up by some fountains and then along skinny streets to the Arc de Triumphe. The Arc is in the middle of a giant roundabout with one giant lane (or 5-6 unmarked lanes, if you want to be more specific), and no discernible rules. We sat for 15 minutes and watched the traffic ballet, sure there was going to be an accident or four... but there was not a single one, even through Trucks, Bikes, Motorcycles and Cars constantly circled the intersection (some multiple times). As we searched for a way across, we were pulled into watching a street performance, like the one we saw in Manhattan.
Obligitory PostObligitory PostObligitory Post

It's the Eiffel Tower, you just have to take this shot... Especially when 200 other people are doing it at the same time.
These people were somewhat talented, and very entertaining. Suddenly, one of them came out and pulled Michelle into the middle along with another boy her age. They were introduced as Beyonce and Justin Bieber and became part of the show. They warmed up to some techno, and then Cotton-Eyed Joe came on, and they followed the dancer's instructions to help put on a fantastic and fun show. Michelle was so brave and happy to participate, it made Anne and Tony very proud. We were all thirsty after the walk and the dancing, so we stopped in a cafe to have some ice cream (with vodka on it for Tony) and water. We finally found the entrance to the Arc, which looks like a subway entrance (in fact, there is a large station there, be careful not to go down the wrong stairs). The Arc was fun to photograph, and there is a museum and tour where you can go to the top, but it was very hot, and the line was very long, so we took a selfie and then went to find lunch. After lunch at a great cafe, we took a long stroll down Champes d'Elyesse and found
We are going up THAT!We are going up THAT!We are going up THAT!

Michelle has mixed feelings about the upcoming ascent.
ourselves in the middle of preparations for celebrations for the French Independence day in mid July. Skirting bandstands and barriers, we found our way to the gardens in front of the Louvre. There was a section of fair-style rides, which we skipped. There were several gardens with rows of bushes and grass in-between. The naked statues on the grass perhaps were there to inspire certain activities, but today, there were just hundreds of sun-bathers, all properly clothed. From the garden where we rested, we could see the pyramids and the Louvre building itself, and the 7000 people crowded in the heat to enter and observe. None of us really wanted to see the artwork anyway, but Anne got her wish to see the buildings. We DID go underground to the mall and play on the polished floors and the upside-down pyramids. Another cafe for an early dinner, a detour to bypass yet-another-closed underground stop, and then we made our way home by train and tram to the hotel where Tony read to Michelle for a bit, and then we all collapsed.

Additional photos below
Photos: 30, Displayed: 25


Support SystemSupport System
Support System

The mechanics and construction of the tower are really incredible. It's very hard to believe that this was intended to be a temporary exhibit for the Worlds Fair.
Tight Cramped SpacesTight Cramped Spaces
Tight Cramped Spaces

But Anne and Michelle handled it like champs. It wasn't a very long ride.
To the TOPTo the TOP
To the TOP

Finally... Anne and Tony have wanted to do this for a very long time.
Group Selfie (Groupie?)Group Selfie (Groupie?)
Group Selfie (Groupie?)

We all made it to the top, here is the proof.
Everything she had hoped it would beEverything she had hoped it would be
Everything she had hoped it would be

Anne is happy we did this trip and got these tickets. She has studied Paris and loved looking down, with her own eyes, at the city below.
My how you have grownMy how you have grown
My how you have grown

And I thought Grandpa Drew was tall!
From up here...From up here...
From up here...

You all look like little ants.
Eiffel Tower Bread is Really yummyEiffel Tower Bread is Really yummy
Eiffel Tower Bread is Really yummy

Hamster helped us eat our lunch on the second floor
One foot in front of the otherOne foot in front of the other
One foot in front of the other

Anne braving the view straight down. It is quite unnerving.
Even on the first floor, that is a long way downEven on the first floor, that is a long way down
Even on the first floor, that is a long way down

Those specs on the left are people.
Leaps and BoundsLeaps and Bounds
Leaps and Bounds

Michelle doing her leaping cross as part of the show. She was super excited and brave in front of a large crowd of strangers.
Cafe for a midday dessertCafe for a midday dessert
Cafe for a midday dessert

We stopped here for some water and ice cream on a very hot day. Tony chose the ice cream with vodka, maybe not the best idea, but it was yummy.

The traffic around the Arc was insane. Even Tony didn't feel like braving that traffic... especially considering the craziness it would take just to get to the arc.
It's THIS BigIt's THIS Big
It's THIS Big

The Arc was very large and ornate... much bigger than it's counterpart in London. Michelle demonstrates. She was pretty expressive today.
Dancing MachineDancing Machine
Dancing Machine

Michelle got the hang of following the lead, and pulled of some fun and exciting dance moves to Cotton-eyed-joe. The show's crew were great with the audience and with the kids. Very professional and entertaining.
Arc GroupieArc Groupie
Arc Groupie

All Smiles today
Arc d'LevityArc d'Levity
Arc d'Levity

A little humor while Hamster poses.

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