Our European Trip - 2005 travel blog

Opera House

Arc de Triomphe

Defense Arch

Champs Elysee from the Arc de Triomphe

Christine with her coffee on the Champs Elysee

Petit Palais

Alexander III Bridge

Entrance to the Louvre

Champs de Mars from Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower with sparklers

When we laid out our itinary I included Paris because I thought we should visit it, not because I really wanted to see it. Having spent 30 hours in it, I am won over. It is indeed a magnificent city with an orderliness to its architecture that has to be seen to be understood. The stone buildings have stood the test of time in both appearance and looks. Its history is carved in stone and it looks great. Unfortunately the orderliness of its layout does not extend to its traffic. With no lane markings, traffic fills it as it best fits. Crosswalks mean nothing and even red lights are ignored. People seem to survive and, amazingly, we saw no accidents.

We started the day in true Rick Steve's fashion by walking down the rue Cler and having crepes for breakfast, purchased fruit at a fruit stand and cheese and crackers from a fromagerie to be eaten at lunchtime. We headed for the Eiffel Tower and boarded a "hop on hop off" bus touring the city past the Louvre, Notre Dame, Opera House, Musee d'Orsy.among others and hopped off at the Arc de Triomphe. We had lunch on a bench nearby and then found the tunnel giving access to the Arch. We strolled around it, then braved the 284 step climb to the top. The views are magnificent and worth the effort. We descended and walked down the Champs Elysee where Christine fulfilled her desire of sipping $10 cafe creme at a sidewalk cafe while trying to separate the locals from the tourists in the crowds walking past. Mostly not a difficult task. Not having read the book "Why French Women Don't Get Fat", we do not know the author's conclusion, but we would contend that it may well be because they all smoke!

We walked to the Grande Palais and cut over to the Seine, walking to the Pont d'Alexander III where we cut back through the Place de la Concorde to the Tuilleries and walked to the Louvre. We came back and had a liesurely drink in a restaurant in the Tuilleries and followed it by dinner. We walked back to the Grande Palais and caught the bus to the Eiffel Tower. We went to the second level and walked around. Christine did not feel too good about the height. We descended to the first level, but that did not improve her stomach. When we arrived on solid ground I thanked her for accompanying me and remarked that now she knew how I felt when I went to a fabric store with her. Somehow she did not think the two comparable.

We crossed the bridge to the Trocadero and waited for the Tower to light and "sparkle" at 9:00pm. We then walked back to the hotel to cool hot and tired feet.

Tomorrow we hope to visit Verseille.

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