Sunday, July 12, 2015

OT: Europe Trip--Day 7--Paris

This morning we woke up excited to see Les Invalides (Military Museum) and take our tour to the top of the Eiffel Tower. We'd planned on leaving the Hotel, take the Metro so as to arrive at the Concorde stop with enough time to walk across the bridge and be at the Museum shortly after it opened.

 A young girl waits on her train.

 Place de la Concorde with the Tower in the background.

We walked for a bit, enjoying the mid-morning light and temperature to the Museum. It's a big Museum, but not fairly well lit. 

The North side of the Museum features a row of cannons.

A Parisien taxi used to transport troops to the front at the outbreak of WW I.

 We went straight to the WWI & WWII exhibit. The had a great assortment of uniforms, a section on Paris during the War (it was occupied), a cool exhibit on the Resistance but sadly not much on airplanes. They did mention they were used in Americas' Pacific War.

 A Tour Guide explains a ball turret to French school children.

After that we went to the dome, which is where Napoleans Tomb is located. I had been here in 1980 (without a wide-angle lens) and wanted to get a good shot.

 Napoleans Tomb

Inside of the Dome.

After that it was lunch time so we hiked on over to the Quai D'Orsay to find a restaurant to have lunch. We found this great little spot about halfway between Les Invalides and the Tower. Wow...was it ever expensive! We had compared rates as all Cafes are required to post their Menus and this was the cheapest one. And we were starving...

Sky and I await our lunch at a Paris sidewalk Cafe.

We both had a burger and frites. The burger was good, much better than you get at any of the fast food places in America. I felt like I needed a nap after eating it. To not get sleepy we chose to walk down past the American Church to the Eiffel Tower. 

We found our meeting point for where the Tour was to begin. We were my usual early so we walked across the street to another sidewalk cafe that had seats in the shade and ordered monster-sized Cokes. (I hoped I wouldn't to pee right in the middle of the Tour!). As long as you buy something, you can sit there pretty much as long was you want and we were never bothered.

We finished our Cokes, perused a couple of Souvenir shops next door to the Cafe, then walked across the street to the Fat Tire Bike Tours shop. We were only about 3 blocks from the Tower and I had to pee! Fortunately for me, the had rest rooms and a waiting room. We got our tickets, used the facilities and waited for the tour.

Our guide was a young girl from Chicago who wore a Cubs ballcap. Being from St Louis, I had to give her a little grief but we all laughed at my joke. We went to the "skip the line" line and waited about 15 minutes before we rode the elevator to the second level. A few people not in our Tour got out there and then we went to the top. We were warned about pick-pockets several times but it must have been our lucky day as no one displayed any likeliness to pick ours and we still had our wallets, passports and cameras when we left. 

The view from the top is pretty spectacular, especially on a clear day.

 View from the Top of the Eiffel Tower looking eastwards. 
That's the Jardin du Champ de Mars in the foreground.

 I used my telephote and blew up this shot of 
Sacre Coeur in the distance.

Arc de Triumphe, off to the North.

Paris and the Seine, looking towards the northeast.

Our guide left us and we stayed another 45 minutes walking around the top. It was a great afternoon, unlimited visibility and we enjoyed the view.

Afterwards, we were hungry again, Sky wanted pizza. We traced our steps to Fat Tire, right across the street was a Pizza place. Sky had a pizza, I had a pasta dish. Dinner was made even more pleasant when a Canadian couple with their three grown daughters sat next to us. We chatted happily away for an hour as we ate. 

Saying our goodbyes, we took one last swing by the Tower, down to the Metro stop and boarded the same train we'd used the night before. 

Fantastic day!

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