Tuesday, August 2, 2011

La Tour Eiffel, Galeries Lafayette, and a victim of its own success

Okay, I am now a Metro expert. I did the majority of our navigating yesterday and we didn't get lost! We did get on a Metro going in the wrong direction, but I think you have to do that at least once. Yesterday morning we got on at our closest stop - Jules Joffrin - and got off at Opera. Walking up the stairs to surface we got a bit excited at what we might see, turns out, with good cause. A giant obelisk, a fountain, the Eiffel Tower, statues, the beginning of the Tuileries. A family stopped to ask us to take their photo and in return they took a photo for us.

Stupid Ed and his tallness, I look like a midget.

Here we are, in matching mint green tops. Before we left the hostel Ed pointed out our colour twin-ness and I said, 'It doesn't matter, no one will notice.' Two lots of people commented on it during the day, and one pair of women laughed and pointed.

Anyway, we decided it would be Eiffel Tower day, so we headed in that direction. As with all big things, it looked closer than it was. But we saw some cool things on the way - an 'American church in Paris', the door was open so we popped in, it looked like it was set up for a wedding.

Then, a building covered in plants. I think I read about it in the magazine on the flight from Hong Kong. Or maybe there are lots of these scattered around in Paris.

Because of the way we walked we kind of arrived at the back of the Eiffel Tour, on the river side. The lines were ridiculous, but we had been warned about this and had already decided we'd take the walk-most-of-the-way-up option. That line was considerably shorter and we just took our sweet time walking up. I actually wouldn't have done it any other way, it was nice and shady going up the stairs and you could stop and look whenever you liked. At things like the ridiculous lines for the elevators up:

The elevator you have to take to the very top freaked me out a bit. Being in a tiny glass cell going so high. But the view was amazing - Paris is SO BIG. Of course. But still.
We spent quite a long time at the Eiffel Tower overall, a couple of hours. We weren't in any rush though so it was nice being able to have a proper explore. When we came down I was very taken with a beautiful carousel  next to the river across the road. Georgia and Emily would have loved it.
After all our stair climbing we had very tired legs and were quite hot, so we took the recommendation of my new best friend (The Lonely Planet guide to Paris) and went to Galeries Lafayette via the Metro to get out of the sun. It was like any giant department store really, except not.

After wandering around the children's department (excellent toys and very tempting books - I avoided buying a very cute book called Caroline Visits Paris by taking a photo of it, I will have to remember tthis spending curbing technique in the future):

We got hungry and ended up at a classic French restaurant for a quick bite: McDonald's. I loved this sign:

By the time we got back to the hostel it was about 7pm and we were exhausted, so we had dinner at a little Japanese restaurant up the road and were in bed by 10.30pm. Climbing the Eiffel Tower really takes it out of you.

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