Well, today was the day of over 1000 stairs. We had breakfast at the hotel (i love that their “instant” coffee machine uses real milk and makes tastier lattes than i can get in the states), then started by hitting the highlights at the Louvre for a few hours, Venus di Milo, Mona Lisa, and found a few “new” paintings I really liked as well (just have to match my photos with stuff online to figure out what they are).
After the Louvre the cloudy sky had started to break up and we had a nice walk by the Siene to a little neighborhood market area where we had lunch (a quarter roast chicken with rattatouille), then headed to Mr. Eiffel’s tower. They charge you almost twice as much if you take the elevator rather than the stairs and we figured it would be more of an experience if we took the stairs so off we went. Two sets of 350 stairs later we were at the second level of the tower which afforded some great views of the city. We walked around and took lots of pictures, took a look at the half hour plus wait (plus an extra four euro fee) and decided to opt out of the cramped elevator ride to the very top.
We headed back down the tower in the hope of making it to Napolean’s tomb before it closed, we were two minutes too late, oh well, we still had the Orangerie museum that was open late on Fridays according to both the time guide we got with our museum pass and Rick Steves. Wrong. We got up to the museum at 1815 and they had closed at 1800, the times we had were wrong (I checked their website and it did have the right closing time, note to self, check all museum times online before relying on them). So unfortunately didn’t get to see the Monet paintings, guess that just means I have to come back 😉
Instead we went to the Arc de Triumph and climbed another 250+ stairs to the top for yet another grand view of the city. It is amazing to see the twelve boulevards radiating out from that point and to see all the different areas of the city, from tree lined streets to skyscrapers downtown.
We consulted the guidebook for a place to eat nearby and found one that was apparently very good for lunch and was only a few blocks away so we headed there. As we walked up we could see it was really busy, a good sign. We got a table inside then waited (and waited) for someone to come take our order. When the server finally came she asked if we had reserved the table, we said no, and she very bluntly told us we would have to leave the table at 2030 because our table was reserved then (why they sat us there in the first place then I don’t know). We ordered and were very quickly served our food, I had cote du bouf et frittes (steak with fries) which had a very tasty sauce with it. As we were eating they changed up the lights and started playing American pop and old rock music, there were a lot of twentysomethings in there and it became evident this was a pretty hip and trendy place in the evenings, we didn’t really fit in very well in that scenr so we were glad to get out of there quickly before our uncoolness was noticed too much.
We took the metro back over to the Eiffel tower to watch the hourly evening light show (gorgeous, the tower is lit in blue with white sparkling lights all over) before heading back to the hotel. Random (if not slightly icky) tidbit, I got to see a bunch of French cockroaches and three little mice scurrying around an electrical cabinet in the station while sitting waiting for the train, lovely 😛 On the way back it seemed like all the escalators in the metro stations were broken so theres where we got our last few dozen stairs to complete the day.
Tomorrow, Versailles.