Saturday, July 11, 2015

OT: Europe Trip-Day 6--Liege to Paris

We took the 10 o'clock train from Liege down to Paris, arriving at the Gare du Nord. We had a little problem buy Metro (subway) tickets in that none of my credit cards would work. We finally tried a different machine with Skys' credit card (which was new and had a magnetic chip in it) successfully, buying a carnet (book of 10 tickets) and we were on our way on the Blue Line down to the Nation stop.

Our hotel was wonderful. The room was small, yes that's true. But it was in a quiet part of town, near two Metro stops, the folks at the front desk were totally wonderful, they were four restaurants within two blocks of it and I have absolutely zero complaints about it. The two women who worked the desk during business hours helped us plan out our stay, gave us alternate routes to get there and back and genuinely cared for our well-being.

After checking in, we went to have lunch a block down from the hotel. We split the days special, pork and pasta, which was delicious. Sky had a chocolate sundae and a coke and was a happy traveler. 

We then took the Yellow subway line to the Hotel du Ville stop, right across the bridge from Notre Dame and a block away from Pont Neuf. As we walked to the bridge, we stopped and looked at a couple vendor stalls (mostly books) along the River Seine bank. 

A booksellers' stall alongside the Seine.

As we crossed the Seine, a tour boat went under the bridge making for a very scenic picture. All around were places selling souvenirs, so many that Sky and I started a joke that we couldn't find a decent Paris souvenir. I guess you had to be there...

A Tour Boat cruises the Seine.

We walked up to Notre Dame-there were a couple hundred tourists milling about. I saw that the line to go inside was fairly short, we got in it. We waited less than 10 minutes to go inside. They had signs saying it still is an active church, to be quiet and respectful inside. I briefed Sky right before we went inside that if we got separated/lost that we would meet just outside the church at the exit. 

Sky in front of Notre Dame.

I had been to Paris 35 years previously, been to Notre Dame. All I could remember of it was it being dark, there being candles and the stained-glass windows were nice. 

The faithful listen to a sermon inside Notre Dame.

 A young woman picks a candle inside Notre Dame.

We stayed inside for 20 minutes, walking around admiring the architecture, listening to a sermon in a language we couldn't understand. Then walked outside. We say the statue of Charlemagne, man who sells pigeon food to the terrorists, er tourists and decided to walk down towards the Louvre and Eiffel Tower.

It was 6 PM, the Louvre had just closed. We walked past it, to its west side where the pyramid is located and stopped to rest at the reflective pool.

Sky taking a break at the Louvre.

We continued after the break walking westwards towards the Eiffel Tower, thru the Tulerie Gardens to the Place de la Concorde. By now our legs (my knees) were about to give out. We decided to take a (very conveniently located) pedicab down to the Eiffel Tower. It was still early, we had about three more hours of sun left and the light would just get better. Plus I knew that the Tower was something that Sky really wanted to see.
Our chariot to the Eiffel Tower. 

We got to the tower and walked around it. I had forgotten that the tower stands/stantions/pillars are on cardinal directions. Man, were there a lot of people milling around. The line to buy tickets to go up in the tower exceeding an hours wait. No matter, I'd booked a tour the next afternoon, we could wait.

The Eiffel Tower.

We walked around for an hour and then decided to call it a day. We walked four blocks south and caught the Metro back to our hotel. I was very thankful that Pauline, the front desk clerk, had suggested it.

Sky got a couple cokes, I grabbed a couple beers from the nice gentlemen now manning the front desk and we went to our room. I downloaded photos while Sky got caught up with his Facebook friends. 

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