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 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.
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!
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.
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