Paris: Day 5 - Eiffel Triumph

We’re taking a short siesta here on our last full day in Paris, so I will post the day before the last day now, and then write up the last day later this evening. I’ll probably have some time to write a retrospective of the whole trip on the plane. It was a day mostly filled with seeing the sights as they are more traditionally done in Paris.

Each day that we’re here we take in more of the city and we get just a little more tired, so the day’s plans get less and less full as the vacation goes along. It’s probably better that way anyway. Our goal this day was to see the Eiffel Tower, and the Arc de Triomphe, and possibly go up some of them, then I had my sights set on making the Museum pass worth the money by visiting the l’Orangerie and seeing what we could of the rest of the Louvre. Now that I think about it, it was a pretty full trip.

We started the day around 10h again, which has been completely fine by me because I am staying reading up until late in the night lately. Our first stop was Breakfast in America, which is a restaurant which is set up like an American cafe and serves breakfast all day long. I don’t know if it was some weird version of homesickness, but it was actually pretty nice to sit down to an American-style breakfast for a while. The menu was even laminated just like a cafe in the states, and the waitresses and staff talked in English most of the time. I guess it works. We went to the one on Rive Gauche because it was just a short walk from the hotel. I had a cheddar and ham omelet that I swear was more delicious. I think that all the food here in Paris has just been great for some reason.

We walked toward the metro and tried to stop at a magic shop on the way, but it was closed, only open for about three or four hours each day. I wasn’t surprised but still it would have been nice to poke around inside and see some things. There are a lot of comic and sci-fi shops right in the district of the hotel, and we walk by at least three bookstores on the way to the metro station every day.

The ride on the metro to the Champ du Mars station wasn’t that bad, and we took a short walk along the seine towards the Eiffel Tower at a leisurely pace. The tower is bigger than you picture it because it’s usually taken from very far away. It really is as tall as a skyscraper. The queue for going up to the higher levels of the tower was too long, so we just walked underneath it and took some photos, and then stopped on the Champ du Mars for a little while and people-watched some tourists. Afterwards we walked underneath the tower again and up the Jardins du Trocadero, which was a nice uphill climb but we got to see the fountains go off, which was a nice sight to see right in front of the Eiffel Tower. It is also a pretty good picture shot.

I wanted to see the Arc du Triomphe, so we got on the metro at Trocadero station and off at Etoilé station. It is definitely an arc, and it’s in the middle of a huge roundabout. We didn’t fancy going up a lot of stairs to the top, so we basically just went in a little loop around it and then back to the metro to visit the Musee du Parfum, which was mostly a lot of things used in perfume making - it was all true stuff but it was all attached to a perfume maker’s shop so it wasn’t as well kept as perhaps a real museum. I’m not complaining any though because it was free and the things there were actually pretty neat to see all of the methods that are used in order to get the fragrance out of the flowers and other parts of things. There was no pictures, but that didn’t make that much sense, there wasn’t much there that was really picture-worthy anyway.

Afterwards we were getting hungry again, so I wanted to seek out a shop on the way. We both were getting tired of the whole rigamarole around eating at a CafĂ©, so we stopped at a fast food boulangerie and had a sandwich and some stuff. I was happy because I got to order a formulé which was actually a lot cheaper than the ingredients separately. Leave it to me to be happy about ordering a happy meal. I got a suissage sandwich and strawberries with a drink. It was actually really great, filling enough but it only took about half an hour to eat and was less than 10 €! If we come back to Paris I think that we will eat from these small shops during the day more, because it is much cheaper.

Afterwards we walked through the Opéra district and scoffed at some of the fancy shops there that had super overpriced things that are all available in the US, and are just expensive because you’re buying them in the shop in Paris of course. The same brands that you would find at a high-end shopping mall in the US. We reached our goal for resting in the afternoon around 2PM which was the Jardin des Tuileries. There are a lot of flowers and a bunch of places to rest, which we did. It was a nice day outside and the sun was shining. I decided to give up on l’Orangerie for the day because it was going to just be not enough time to do both of the museums, and we went to visit the Louvre again. This time we saw all of the antiquities from the middle east and just a few of the pictures from some French and Dutch painters, and a lot more of the sculptures which were on the other side of the building.

We decided that the street lunch was so successful that we should try it for dinner as well, which we did by getting some sandwiches and panini from a street vendor which was on the way home after another ride on the metro. The sandwiches were not as good as the ones we had at lunch but they were still pretty good and they didn’t come with having to deal with a waiter and French table manners again (major plus). We also got some snacks and drinks from 8 à Huit to go with it.

I conked out again and we just ended up staying in the hotel room for the rest of the night because I woke up at around 11pm, and thought it would be a little late to go get anything for dinner or even a market because the markets seem to close early-ish. There isn’t a 24h/24 market anywhere around here from what I can tell. It turned out to be pretty nice to see some of the sights and visit the Louvre again to see a little more, and I was actually pleasantly surprised to walk through a couple of the Jardins here in Paris which are very nice. Again I was able to do some fun summer reading of The Magician which is all set in Paris. It is interesting timing at least, and makes the book a little more interesting.