After semi recovery from jet lag, we took a bus tour of Paris on our first full day. Partially, we had a chance to see new things, and partially our travelers had a chance to see the things they didn’t realize they had seen due to the exhaustion at the end of our Champs-Elysees walk. The big hit of the tour, of course, was seeing the Eiffel Tower from the Seine.
And a significantly greater thrill came from posing in front of the Eiffel Tower.
Next stop was the Luxembourg Gardens, site of beautiful landscaping and a palace built by a member of the Florentine Medici family.We walked from the gardens, through the Latin Quarter, to the Cathedral of Notre Dame. The line was short to get into the cathedral, so we headed in to take a look. At this point, it was slightly after lunchtime, so the group split between those people who can delay eating long enough to appreciate a centuries-old cathedral and and the other 90% of the group. Most people ate in or around the Latin Quarter.
We met back at the cathedral for a pigeon extravaganza. Witness the awesomeness of Brian French: Bird Whisperer.
This started a trend.
After hosing down the people who held the birds and anyone who stood too close to the people who held the birds with anti-bacterial, we began our walk to the Louvre. On the way, we saw the new version of the lock bridge. On one of the bridges in Paris, couples would put their names on locks, lock them on the bridge, and then throw the keys in the river as a symbol of their never-ending love. Apparently, the weight of the locks causes some of the parts of the bridge to fall in, so they were relocated to a safer place.
Having posed on many, many bridges, we made it to the Louvre.The Louvre is HUGE, and in order to get something out of it, visitors need a plan. Many of our travelers went with the “see the Mona Lisa” plan, which has several things going for it.
- You can see the Mona Lisa.
- You can see other awesome art, like Winged Samathrace and Renaissance and Romantic paintings.
- The path is clearly signed so you don’t have to be able to read a map, a definite plus.
And now for the downside:
Some of our travelers were able to fight their way through… Other travelers opted to see the Louvre’s sculpture collection, which is spectacular and extensive. There were many ways to appreciate these priceless works of art from long ago.
Having obtained cultural appreciation and low quality coffee from the Louvre, we hopped on the Metro to go on a boat tour of the Seine.
Most of the street vendors in Paris range from scam artists to merely annoying. The exception:
Having stocked up on water that was 300% cheaper than from the water vendors on the dock, we boarded the ship.
After walking around all day, the boat tour was very relaxing.We stayed in the same area for dinner so that we would be able to go up the Eiffel Tower afterwards. The Tower has a first level with a trendy restaurant, a second level with good views of the city, and a summit level. In order to go to the summit level, people must first get to the second level, either by taking an elevator or walking up over 500 stairs.
Or you can take an elevator to the second level, bypassing 500 stairs that would have been in addition to the 11 miles we walked that day, and then take the second level elevator to the top.
The view from the top of the Eiffel Tower is spectacular. In a city with many, many things to do, going to the summit of the tower may be the best.
After an eventful day, we caught the metro back to the hotel to get ready for the next day – Versailles, the Catacombs, and Montmartre.