“When anybody asks, 'What are you writing about now?' if I try to reply, the book-in-the-works sounds so idiotic to me that I think, 'Why am I trying to write that puerile junk?' So now I give up; if I could talk about it, I wouldn't have to write it."
- Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet


European Vacation - Paris - Eiffel Tower

Friday, October 07, 2011

You may have gathered from my last vacation post that I left Europe and went back again. With my Geek being there so long, I went for a short visit in the middle of his stay, and then at the end of his stay we took a lovely 9-day vacation together.  Our first stop on this second visit was Paris.

We spent three nights in Paris.  On our first and third nights we ate at a little French (of course) restaurant just down the street from our hotel where we bravely tried new and interesting foods like duck conservé (good) and escargot (not so good in my book, but the Geek loved it). 

On the morning of our first day we took off walking with our handy tourist map in hand, aiming to find the Museé du Louvre which I have no idea how to prounounce even after seeing the pronunciation guide on Wikipedia.

On our way, we stumbled into the Pantheon, which was very cool.  We didn't go in, but it was fun just to have seen it.   Then we turned around to go back down the street we came up on and look what we saw.

With so many buildings around, the Eiffel Tower was obscured most of the time we were walking around Paris that day, but every once in a while it would peek out through an opening between them.  It was fun to catch glimpses of it throughout the day.

 We found the Louvre!  (Smile, Sweet Geek!)  This is just a small portion of it from outside the gates and across the river.  I had no idea it was so huge.  As you follow it down the river it seems to just keep going forever.

 Inside the gates (and after being stopped by a very persistent little kid asking for money for a cause that may or may not have been legit), we found the famous pyramid entrance.

 We also found the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, which is a smaller version of the real Arc de Triomphe (although it was built first).  Much smaller.  And which, I must admit, threw us off briefly.  "But the map says the Arc is over here?  What's it doing in the courtyard of the Louvre?  I thought it would be much bigger than that."  We eventually figured it out.

 The Eiffel Tower is also visible from the courtyard of the Louvre.  Our feet found out later that it was much, much farther away than it looks.

 The courtyard of the Louvre.  The building is ancient and beautiful.  The glass pyramid actually looks a little odd in the middle of the ancient palace, but then so much of what we saw in Europe is like that – a juxtaposition of old and new.

 The detail was amazing.  To think that all this was carved and built so many hundreds of years ago, long before they had the advantage of machinery to help them.  I can't even begin to imagine the monumental undertaking this was for artisans that had to do it all by hand.

And then we saw the line.  It was long.  Very, very long.  And we really wanted to get in, but the line was so very, very long.  So we left and went on a very, very long walk to the Eiffel Tower instead.

We walked and walked and we thought we were close based on our map, but we couldn't see it, and then we turned a corner and voilà!  There it was!

Looking up from underneath the Eiffel Tower.  It is truly an amazing structure.

There are three decks.  The first is a restaurant, and the third, at the very tip top, was closed by the time we got there because there were so many people.  We stopped at the second which is 380 feet above ground and offers impressive views of the city.

Now that's the real Arc de Triomphe.  I love how it stands out among all the smaller buildings surrounding it.

Looking up from the second deck to the top.  Yes, my Geek held me again to keep me from falling backwards while I took this photo.  :)

The river looks so pretty from up here.  And there's the Arc in the distance again.

We got lunch at a snack bar on the second deck of the Tower (the most Americanized place I think we ate the entire time we were in Europe) and then started our long trek back to the hotel.  On the way we stumbled upon an Italian restaurant (run by real Italians) where we stuffed ourselves full of great pasta (the gnocchi bolognese was to die for!)*.  Our feet were so very sore by the end of this day that we decided the next day we would take advantage of the Paris Metro. 

Next stop, more Paris sights, this time with the advantage of not having to walk everywhere!

* And now I'm craving a big steaming plate of gnocchi bolognese.  At 8:30 in the morning.  I'd better walk away before I start drooling on my keyboard.

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At 10/08/2011 8:52 AM, Anonymous J-mom wrote:

Thanks for the lovely walking tour of Paris. I have a collection of Eiffel Towers to remind me of my trips there and reading your description brought it all back. Kelsey and I are convinced they only built the top half of the ET at Epcot in Disneyworld because there is no access to the bottom part - another illusion. Merci!

At 10/10/2011 7:15 PM, Anonymous HolyMama! wrote:

that long walk was worth those pics!!

(from someone whose feet didn't ache in order to see those pics!)

At 6/14/2012 4:02 PM, Blogger Odessa Kammel wrote:

Visiting the “City of Love” brings everlasting stories to share with friends and love ones. You did well in spending 3 nights in Paris. Just seeing these photos really shows that this city should always be on someone’s travel plan. The long walk you have took really paid off. Hehehe. Looking at the city at a different angle is truly, a magnificent scene that will leave you breathless.

Odessa Kammel


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