After saying goodbye to my French family we boarded a high speed train for Paris. After we were underway we had a nervous few minutes as we realized that in the confusion of getting on and off train cars to find the right one we'd left Paul's bag in one of them. The bag with all his computers and gadgets. Luckily it was still there untouched. One hour after boarding the train, voila we were in Paris.
Our airbnb apartment was a short walk from the Gard du Nord train station. We did not meet the host but she had given us detailed directions on how to reach her apartment and where to find a key. Paul had loaded the info on google maps. It ended up being not difficult to find. The apartment was in a building at the back of a courtyard so we went across the courtyard, through a door, up several flights of stairs and found our charming little apartment. The windows were open, there was a nice breeze and the host had left fresh baguttes for us on the table.
After a rest, Paul and I went to find a grocery store and brought back some sandwiches and pastries for lunch plus supplies for pasta and sauce for dinner. The pastries here are AMAZING. Not so sweet. Light. Buttery. So, so good.
The next day we ventured via metro to the Eiffel Tower. So if you decided to go up into the Eiffel tower, buy your tickets online well in advance. I waited until the day before and the only time slot available was for 10pm. All of the tickets were for the top floor were sold out. We decided to go see it during the day and to make sure we knew the metro route to return there at night.
The Eiffel Tower is definitely in the "Go Big or Go Home" category. It is huge but somehow not heavy. I love the curves in the metalwork. We walked around, took photos, ate pastries on a bench at the foot of the tower and marveled at the architecture. We returned home, rested then left about 8pm for our 10pm trip up into the tower. The Gard du Est station is closer to our apartment so we have been getting on the metro there. There are also a couple of good bakeries (Paul’s bakery is one) where we have been buying sandwiches and snacks on our way to and from places. Liam is partial to the chicken sandwiches.
I think the Eiffel tower is even prettier at dusk. We sat and ate in the park near the tower and watched the sun set and the tower lights come on. On the hour sparkly lights are turned on for about 5 min. We took the elevator up and walked around. It was a lovely night with a full moon. The sparkly lights came on while we were in the tower. Det55 and Paul decided to take the steps down from the second level. Liam and I took the elevator. There was a slight problem on the way down so we were stopped for a few min. The elevator bounced when it stopped midway down. But restarted a few min later. A group of Italians in the car cheered when it restarted.
Enmgamer opted to stay earthbound and it turned out she had adventures as well.
There are scam artists around the tower who try to get you to play the shell game and who are selling roses, little Eiffel towers and other trinkets. The rose sellers walk up and shove a rose at you. If you take it then they want money and won’t take it back. Earlier in the day there were women walking around trying to get people to sign a petition and give money “for the children”. There are also armed guards around to make sure all is well and keep the hawkers from being too aggressive.
Turns out some of the rose sellers (all dressed in black) had their roses stashed under a tree near the bench where Enmgamer was sitting. They ran past her and jumped the fence and a little while later different men (dressed like tourists) came out with more roses. She watched their shenanigans the whole time we were in the tower and found them quite amusing. She also came up with a good technique to keep people from sitting too close to her on the bench and talking to her in French. She tried sitting, rocking and laughing to herself alternating with humming and found the combination did the trick. She had the bench to herself the rest of the time we were gone. Love her creative resourcefulness. She came up with a poem while watching the goings on-
3 black rats jumped over the fence
they came back as white mice
but I still know their prints
We returned home rather late. Liam fell asleep on the metro. We were wiped out but it was a good day.