A Newbies Visit to Paris - The Graduation Adventure Day 10

Saturday, May 31st

I always needed a do-over for Paris.  It was cold and occasionally snowy when I was there last.  We hit the big places, of course.  But it was cold.  So cold.  And we both felt like we missed out on something.  Plus, Paris is a place you can go to so many times and find new experiences.  Or the same experience.  Because, Paris.

Despite being given the hardest beds on our journey (or ever??), sleep was something that came easily last night.  We have been traveling long enough that the need for sleep tends to come over us hard and fast and it doesn't usually matter if we're sleeping on a cloud or if we're sleeping on a front door.  Last night, we were sleeping on a front door.

This was our first time with the breakfast in the Hotel Regence Etoile.  Our breakfasts hadn't been great on our trip so far, so our expectations were low, but we were still hopeful.  I wasn't sure if it was a sign that we stepped into the elevator and pressed the -1 button until we made our way into the breakfast area.  It was a sign.  The breakfast was not good.  We cobbled together some juice and tea and croissants and Nutella and we hightailed it out the door.  

Yesterday, we rode the Metro based on my experience from a few years ago.  It was fine.  But we seemed to be paying an extreme amount of money to do one round trip.  And we knew we wanted to wholly utilize the subway during out stay, so there had to be another option.  Or we would have considered the hop on/hop off bus tours (not that there's anything wrong with them, it's just something we haven't done...ever).  Our passes on The Tube were day passes that based on how much we rode the train, seemed to be a good price.  There had to be something for the Metro.  So, quick research!!  And thank god we have WiFi on the trip.

Fortunately or unfortunately, we had timed our travel days in Paris to coincide with the weekend.  It was unfortunate because of the crowds in the areas we were going to be visiting.  But fortunate, because not only are we traveling on the weekend, but I'm traveling with a kid.  Well, a young adult.  Well, a Jeune.  At the ticket counter (not the ticket machines, you do have to talk to someone for this ticket), you can pick up a Ticket Jeune on the weekends and holidays for a fraction of the price (3,70 or so).  At the same counter, I also picked up a day pass for 6 or 8 euros.  Perfect.  Let's do what we came here for.  Let's go to the Eiffel Tower.


Here's where we go back to the unfortunately statement from above.  Not only had we timed our visit to Paris to the weekend, but the French Open was going on.  And I'm sure tons of other things (we weren't watching any news channels, so by Day 10, we had no idea what was going on in the outside world).  So exiting the Bir Hakem Metro stop, we followed the hordes to the tower.


And man.  I have to believe even the most jaded of people pause when they see the Eiffel Tower for the first time.  Or every time.  Because it is just so much.  Yes.  I know.  Way to use my words here.  But I just don't know if I have anything to add to the explanation of the Eiffel Tower, because it is what it is.  It's an iconic symbol of Paris...France even.  And we were just two dopes standing in its shadow.



As we walked further under the tower, we noticed the lines snaking around the base of the tower.  Cause, we were not the only ones who decided a beautiful day in Paris needed to include a stop at the Eiffel Tower.  There were two lines today.  The South side of the tower had a line for people who wanted to walk up to the first floor.  The North side of the tower was the line for the people who wanted to go all the way up.  This was a longer line.

I looked at Elias and asked if he really wanted to do this.  Yep.  Ok then.  Let's stand in line.


Here's the deal, I did try to get tickets in advance.  I tried to get them in advance for many of the places we were planning to go.  But for whatever reason, there were no tickets available for the tower.  And we couldn't get tickets in advance to the Catacombs.  And I was too lazy to get them for Versailles.  And I wasn't sure about the ticket situation for the Louvre (the whole under/over 18 thing).  So ultimately, I ended up with no tickets in advance.  Which as it turns out, wasn't necessarily the worst thing.


Well, except for the whole waiting thing.  We were in the line under the tower for about one hour and fifteen minutes.  This is the one thing I didn't really take into consideration.  Cause, why would anyone else want to visit Paris in June??  I was sure we'd be the only ones here!!


We paid for the €15 ticket to go up to the top of the tower.  Cause if you're going to do it, you may as well do it right.  The first queue gets you to the first level.  Then you walk up the stairs to the second level.  Once you've done the loop on the second level, you get into another queue to get to the top of the tower.  And then, back down again (complete with additional queues).  In between...it's photo time...




We spent probably three hours at the Eiffel Tower.  And we could have stayed longer.  But the crowds were heavy and we were tired of them.  Plus, we knew we wanted sweets.  Though we did grab a sandwich from a cart by the tower, our main goal was to get to Angelina's.  And to do that, we casually walked on the Seine.

I honestly didn't really know how far it was to the shop.  Adele and I had been there before, so I knew the general area where we needed to go.  And I knew we could walk there.  As long as Elias was game.  I liked the idea of just hitting all of the bridges and seeing what we could see of Paris on foot.

We did walk by Pont de l'Alma, which is where Princess Diana's car accident was back in 1997.  Of course, we had to stop and both pay our respects and visit the site.  This is also where the Flame of Liberty has been since the mid-80's.  Elias said later that some people think the statue was placed there for Princess Diana.  That is not the case.




We finally made our way to Angelina's.  Even as we walked from the Eiffel Tower, I was still saying "I think I want the same thing I had last time - white hot chocolate and a vanilla eclair".  What I didn't expect was the fact that it was hot outside.  We froze on the Eiffel Tower.  But on our walk, both Elias and I were stripping off our outerwear and beginning to sweat profusely.  Once we were in Angelina's and were seated, we realized how hot it actually would be - indoors.  Hot chocolate was not in the cards.

Elias was able to try the "hot chocolate" though.  Because "real" hot chocolate was also available in iced form.  My "fake" white hot chocolate, not so much.  He ended up with ice cream and the iced hot chocolate.  I decided to partake in a macaron situation and some lemonade.  I didn't miss the white hot chocolate one bit.

Yep.  It was awesome.

Elias was the one that found the MINI Brand Store in Paris.  We had been to the store in Amsterdam and it was one of our favorite places.  Mostly, because we both love MINI Coopers.  And it's such a random kind of store.  But as we found out in Paris, almost every car brand is represented on the Champs Elysees.  You could get Toyota swag if you so desired.  Which we didn't.  But the MINI store was not on the Champs Elysees.  It was in the 6th Arrondissement.  Luckily, it was close to two different Metro stops, so we were able to find it relatively easy.  Sure, we walked the wrong way for about a block, but still.  We made it there.

This Brand Store was frankly a little meh compared to what we saw in Amsterdam.  They sold MINIs at the store (Amsterdam didn't) and the swag was only in about a quarter of the store.  I found nothing.  Elias did pick up a "I heart MINI Paris" shirt.  Which was perfect.

Next stop, we were on our way to Notre Dame.  I loved Notre Dame last time.  The architecture and history and everything was really lovely.  So of course, we had to see it again.  Once we found the cathedral, we realized (again), everyone was at Notre Dame with us.  The line to get into the free building was wrapped around the outside of the building.  This time, we both said Nope.  We weren't going inside.  So we just took pictures outside.



The crowds does bring up a good point.  Do you go in the off season where you may freeze and miss out on some of the "magic" of the city??  Or do you go during the high season where you're waiting in massive lines with all of the rest of the people??  I've done it both ways.  And I don't know if there's a good answer.  

We had researched a restaurant close(ish) to Notre Dame (turns out we actually had to take the Metro from the cathedral, but whatever), so we were thrilled that there was a general plan.  Turns out the food gods are not always with us.  Our problem is we're either too early or too late for dinner.  Today, too early.  The restaurant we wanted to visit was in our sights, but it was 530p.  As we glommed on to someone's WiFi, we saw they weren't open until 7p.  Not cool.  Which meant we had to wander.

Seriously, I feel like all we ever do is wander for food.  We were in slightly better shape in London, because we had a few reservations.  We didn't in Paris.  Next time, we need to in Paris.  Now we did find a place to sit outside in the neighborhood.  Relias Odeon was the clear winner for dinner.  We had a lovely meal at the restaurant, even though the sun was POUNDING down on us.  I had slathered on sunscreen at the beginning of the day, but we were eating at 6p.  I just prayed the sunscreen would hold out.  

Because why wouldn't he partake in Europe??

Tartare.

We are definitely early to bed people on this trip.  Our starts are so early in the morning, that we kind of have to be in bed early too.  And neither one of us are night people anyway.  What we noticed today though was again, similar to Amsterdam, the sun doesn't begin to set until late.  Which would get interesting tomorrow as we knew we'd need to see the Eiffel Tower at night.  But until then, sleep calls...

5/31 - 19,600 steps, 8.5 miles

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