A courtyard within the Louvre. The stripes were making me dizzy!
First sight of the Eiffel! The haze is the cloudy weather moving in, not the pollution, surprisingly. Can you tell our usual vacation spot is southern Cali? ;)
We decided that with 4 or so hours to kill that we didn't have enough time for a museum, and we wanted to save those for the days we had already booked passes (more on this later, it involves being cheap and cutting in line, get excited.). So we walked to the Champs Elysees instead. We id a little shopping, and checked out the Arc de Triumph. Sadly, it's hard to get a picture at any major monument without a bus in the background. They advertise tours everywhere, "See Paris for 25euro!" And they mean exactly what they say, you will "see" all of Paris yet experience none of it.
Afterward, we cut down across the Seine to the Rue Cler neighborhood (highly recommended by Rick Steves). This is me barely containing myself walking into a shop full of CHEESE! Glory! Hallelujah! We grabbed some chevre (goats cheese, did you even have to guess?), a baguette, and a few apples from the grocer and headed off to our picnic on the Eiffel Tower lawn... as it started to rain. *womp womp* But were we deterred? Not a bit! We sat on the grass on plastic bags underneath our umbrellas and we picnicked anyway! And this was our (rainy) view...
In case you are planning your own trip to Paris, let me just tell you. Book your Eiffel Tower tickets online and in advance. See all those people lined up behind me like they're at Disneyland? Yeah they waited 4 hours to ride the elevator to the top. See that empty set of ropes? That was the line we waited in. Yeah! And go all the way to the top. Totally worth the extra 2e that it costs.
They were hard at work adding banquet and conference rooms to the first level of the tower. Can you imagine throwing a party there? "Yes, please come to my party. In France. ON THE EIFFEL TOWER." That would earn you roughly 134,083,778,239 life points.
View of where we picnicked, and Montparnasse Tower, sticking out like a sore thumb...
Nice face, eh? Have I mentioned I'm not entirely comfortable with heights? My feet were fear-cramping the whole time.
Made it to the tippy top! See the white-knuckled death grip on the railing? I'm trying to remain calm and rational... trying.
280 meters in the air! Did you know Eiffel used to live in an apartment atop the tower? And he climbed the STAIRS to get there? No wonder he lived so long, holy cardio!
Yep, we climbed that thing! afterwards we felt like a nice dinner close to home... Except we were now 5 miles from home. Oops! Being as we didn't want our first metro experience/gypsy encounter to be at night, we decided to hoof it. WRONG CHOICE. We were incredibly tired and had ridiculously sore feet when we finally collapsed into a café for dinner down the street from our flat. Total walking distance for the day: 11.5 miles! We ended up just pointing at the menu and ate what we were given, which was, of course, fabulous. Proof:
This turned out to be a sampling of cheeses, meats, and pickled veg from a particular region. And, surprise! That one that looks like meatloaf? That's pate. Checked that one off my "to try this in France" list! And do you know what? I didn't hate it =)
We have had the most wonderful encounters with the French people so far. And the only rude people we have met? Wait for it...... AMERICANS. Yep, no wonder they don't like us. If you begin every conversation with a hearty, "Bonjour!" and attempt your best (even if butchered) French, you will meet nothing but pleasantness from the French people. And be sure to overuse "Merci!" =)
That about wraps it up for day two in Paris. Tomorrow you'll hear about how we ended up having room in our schedule and got to see an extra museum (yay!), and how we were foiled by a bike share program and yet AGAIN ended up walking over ten miles. But That's for later, right now I need to go thank my feet for still being attached to my body. Au revoir for now!