Today we had quite the walk, with the end goal of getting to the Eiffel Tower by our 3:00 ticket time.
We started by working our way to the river so we could see the outside of the Louvre. Due to a slight mixup on direction, I missed a turn and so we found ourselves only a block away from the Saint Sulpice church and decided to take a look (free). This church was featured in The Da Vinci Code movie.
While photographing it, a young couple asked us–at separate moments–if we knew the spot where Silas broke the keystone. I didn’t know and questioned myself as to why I hadn’t looked it up before we left. duh. It’s a favorite movie and I’d wondered too. But then I remembered I had the internet service, so after a quick look, we found it (right photo below). And of course I watched it again when I got home so I could compare notes. ;)
This is really a gorgeous church. Everywhere you looked there was something different.
It was one of my favorite places we saw. I loved when the sun started to shine through the clouds and lit it up. Just beautiful.
You just can’t help but admire the workmanship in these places!
When we got to the Louvre it looked busy, but nowhere near what I imagined. Must have been because it was early in the year…March. This is one place that we opted not to peruse because it’s awfully big for perusal when you’re not a major art fan. I know. gasp. Instead, we opted for the Musee’ d’Orsay on another day–smaller scale and cool ambiance in an old train station.
The odd part about being here is that I didn’t go look any closer. What was wrong with me? This photographin’ girl didn’t try to get ‘the perfect angle’? So unlike me. ;)
After taking our landmark selfie, we took a walk towards the Jardin des Tuileries and got our first look at the Eiffel Tower. Yay!
That was a moment for me. Something so iconic. Something that says ‘This is Paris–City of Love. Love me. Love who you are with.’ And I loved it–loved it all. Is there such a thing as too many photos of the Eiffel Tower? Because I may have taken my share. ;) And I felt like Meg Ryan in French Kiss when she’s always looking for the Eiffel Tower and missing it, unbeknownst to her. I had been doing that the whole time until this moment.
We continued down to a pond with (I’m guessing) a fountain that wasn’t on.
We sat in the cute green chairs where I was befriended by a mom and dad duck. They hung out by me, walking around my legs, and were not afraid. I’m sure they thought I had something for them. Dan’s shoelaces really didn’t have much taste as they pecked at them either.
We slowly worked our way over to the Eiffel Tower, bridge by bridge–walking mostly along the big long pathway of Terrasse du Bord de l’Eau and its square cut trees. sigh. And those shadows of the branches? So cool.
(Can you see why I made this design recently? ;) )
What I loved about it is that we pretty much had the entire lane to ourselves. There were some people playing with a couple dogs and a random person here or there, but really…it was empty. I love being where there’s like no people in a big city.
We got to Ponte Alexandre (quite a fancy bridge) and crossed it. Later we learned that the columns on each end are not just decorative. They actually serve as counterweights for the bridge itself. I loved the ornamental light posts!
After crossing the bridge, we made our way through the streets to get to the famous market street of Rue Cler where we had lunch at Le Roussillon. Dan and I shared a fish and chips and it was really good. Loved the tartar sauce too.
It was here that I had my first experience with a unisex bathroom (haha). I’d heard about them, but found it still a bit of a surprise coming out of the stall and have a man at the sink area too. Welcome to the 21st century? ;) And bathrooms, like most rooms + cafes, are small.
This place had a great ambiance and I loved people watching–both in and outside. These kinds of moments with people you can tell are locals are the best. You get to see a little deeper into the culture of the area.
Oddly, I was watching a ‘homeless’ man with his dog sleeping against the building across the street from us. After a bit, he gets a phone call on his cell phone and gets up and moves. A cell phone? Really? I hear that most of those people are scams. I have a hunch he was one of them.
Rue Cler was a quaint little area. We didn’t do any shopping, but enjoyed seeing the pretty little street.
A couple streets over and we were walking down Champ de Mars, the big garden park area on one side of the Eiffel Tower. Paris had quite the winter, so spring was just barely starting to show itself. Most trees were bare, but we were lucky to see a few bits of greens and florals here and there.
We had a little time to kill before our scheduled time up the tower–for which, I highly recommend purchasing tickets in advance. Here is where I bought mine. It lets you jump ahead of the line–no waiting, except with others going up at that time. Totally worth it.
We walked around taking it all in.
I know. More Eiffel Tower. I said you can never have too many, right? ;)
This area has a lot of street salesmen trying to sell trinkets and scam artists. We’d heard the scam of where a man wants to tie a string bracelet on you and then wants money for it. Dan had to repeatedly tell him no. And the sales guys are relentless too.
The place we got tickets suggested arriving a half hour early–we were in the area maybe an hour before. We presented our tickets about 15 minutes before our allotted time and they let us through. This was at the tower ride area itself, not the initial check in. They have security checks and everything was fenced in when we you first arrive. I’ve seen pictures when it wasn’t that way. I know it’s done as a safety precaution and it’s sad the world has come to that.
Going up was quite a thrill, so much so that I was too chicken to go past the second stop. We had tickets to go all the way up, but once we got to the second floor, I felt like that was good enough. There was something unnerving about going up that narrow column in an elevator. I know logically that it’s safe, but my gut was saying something completely different.
It was also pretty windy and cold. So the thought of going all the way up? Yeah. Neither of us was too keen on it. Dan would have gone if I’d have wanted to, but he was happy going up to the second floor as well.
The view up there was wonderful though. What a city, right?
I could not take my eyes of the structure of this thing. All the workings and components and detail just amazed me.
Now, remember how I said we walked? Well, about this time we were pretty done. We walked to the metro one direction and found that the stop we needed didn’t run on that line. Why we didn’t opt for a taxi, I don’t know. By looking at the map, we found another stop in the opposite direction. It didn’t look too far…but you know how that goes.
The bright side to this is I took two of my most very favorite photos of Paris! I loved all the variations of lines in this city! And I was happy to see the ‘Inception’ bridge with my own two little eyes. ;)
I shared a photo tip on how I captured this image of the Bir-Hakeim metro here…if you didn’t ever get a chance to read it.
It was also fun to see this area featured in Mission Impossible: Fallout. It’s kind of cool knowing where they are in a movie. :)
Funny story. Dan and I had Navigo Metro cards, but when Dan went to swipe his something didn’t work right. It was kind of a busy time and the girl behind him swiped hers, it opened and she told him to go–both going through on the one swipe.
As we were looking at the map to make sure which train we needed to get, we were stopped by the metro police because Dan had ‘kind of’ skipped through. They checked his pass and found out it was legit. They were really cool about it though and we had a fun conversation. Additionally, had that not happened we would not have known that the line we were taking didn’t stop at the Notre-Dame stop because it was under construction. They told us which one we should take instead.
So see? There’s a reason for everything. :)
We made it back to the hotel and rested a bit before venturing out to dinner. Nothing too noteworthy, but it was close to the hotel. Our feet were very tired, even with the comfortable shoes. We walked a lot.
But I tell ya what, even though we were completely exhausted when it was over, I loved that we did it. There’s nothing better than walking in a place you’re visiting. What an experience you can have!
For more information on our Paris trip, check out these posts:
Paris Travel Tips | Info on our preparatory work and suggestions for a trip.
Paris Photo Tips | Ways to help you think about how you to take photos on a trip.
Paris | Use this Category to see about all posts pertaining to Paris, including my travelers notebook.