I am off to India again for this coming week. (the feature picture is not India… I don’t want to confuse anyone)
Instead of having a stinky marathon travel fest… yes after 20+ hours I usually am quit stinky… I decided to break up the trip into two segments with a half day and night in Paris. I was accompanied by three coworkers two of which were Paris virgins. (that reads a bit weird… virgin meaning never been to Paris… again don’t want to confuse anyone.) They asked if we could go site seeing and I said half a day is more than enough time to see all the major sites in Paris. (It is not lying if you are very vague with respect to your interpretation of the “major sites of Paris”)
I have been playing with my camera settings (pretending to be a photographer… see I am not a stalker… promise) and most of my Paris pictures are very bad. I finally notice that I had messed up a setting and fixed it quit late in the evening.
Here are some pictures of our afternoon in Paris. I will be adding words… but they are not mandatory reading.
Here we go!
We dropped off our bags at IBIS (Cheap but not horrible hotel at terminal 3, Charles de Gaulle airport) and caught the RER to Paris. My coworkers wanted to take a taxi but how can you see Paris without using the Metro. We got off at the stop you see above… (Saint Michel… I love the Art Nouveau styled metro stops. You can see the awesome sign with the two lamp posts shaped as lily of the valleys)
I may have mentioned this before but this stop is in the Latin quarter and back in the 80s I used to buy gyros packed with fries just a half a block to the left of this picture. After buying them, I would walk another block and cross the Seine and eat the gyro and fries in front of Notre Dame.
No matter how hard I “vocally reminisced” about this my co-workers were not interested in eating. “We are not hungry yet” was all they said. I still held hope and had a secret weapon. I walked them down the street and showed them this sign!
Who can resist a “SUPER ASS GYRO”? (they did… darn them…)
Fortunately we did walk to Notre Dame (they had not choice I was the guide) unfortunately our hands were empty. (Just not as awesome without the gyro)
This is the picture that I noticed that my camera was messed up. I knew that I had a setting that was off so as we walked I tried to fix my camera. I hope you are able to forgive me for the poor quality. After a quick peak at the cathedral I suggested that we walk across the other side of the Seine and visit the Louvre.
I imagined us just walking up to the entrance and then off to our next “major site”. One of my co-workers wanted to visit the museum and they all decided that 1 hour should be enough time to see the Louvre. Who was I to argue plus nowadays nobody actually looks directly at the art. They all have their backs to the art with their phones pointed at the art and themselves to capture selfies. I find it funny that many people spend more time looking at the amazing works on their phone screens instead of directly at them. If you don’t believe me here is some proof. The first is me taking a picture of people at the Mona Lisa. (They should all be looking to the left… the direction of the painting)
Here is another example. (venus de milo)
It is almost crazy how many people have their backs to the art… (Am I creepy for taking a picture of a couple taking a selfie… hmmm is it still a selfie if you are taking it with a work of art?)
I just realized that I am criticizing everyone for turning their backs to the art and I actually spent most of my time looking at people… not the art… hmmm… I just went through my pictures and they are all of people taking pictures of themselves. I might have to get therapy.
Let me continue with our day in Paris.
After a crazy run through a very small portion of the Louvre. We decided to have lunch. I thought they would complain about not really getting to spend much time at the Louvre but they all agreed that even a tiny bit of time there was an amazing experience.
We ate lunch at Cocorico… (random café next to the musee d’orsay).
I had to steal these pictures from a co-worker… (let’s call him Nate… my pictures at this time were all bad… I was still messing with settings.) We ordered a “plateau de charcuterie” and “fromage”.. (meat and cheese… you can’t go wrong… see Nate’s picture below) Food is an important part of any French tour regardless of how much time you have.
After eating we were off to the Eiffel Tower. (the picture below is mine… I almost have the setting fixed by now)
We waited in the security check line for 20 minutes. We ran over to the pillar that was open for walking up the stairs (usually the shorter line) and as soon as we arrived they announced that it just closed. I tried shedding tears and mentioned that it was our first and only day in Paris. The city employee was not moved by my emotional plea. With some bit of Parisian smugness, she told us go to the other pillar and wait for the elevator.
We looked at the elevator line and it was over two hours. I promised that we would return later (I can’t be trusted) and said it would be a good idea to take a boat tour of the Seine.
I stole this picture on the boat from Nate (messed my camera up again… gesh). The boat tour is always incredible but it was really chilly this night. Towards the end of the tour we were some of the only ones left on top of the boat. It was either the cold wind that chased everyone down inside the boat or it was the overly romantic couple who were trying to heat the top deck in their own special way. I think Nate was the one who said since they invited us to be a part of their special romantic moment… we should at least have a say in naming the baby. I would have taken a picture of the couple but I wanted to keep my blog family friendly.
After the boat tour ended we stopped back at the Tour d’Eiffel and I feinted a surprise when we saw that there was still a long line. I suggest we visit the arc de triomphe. (Here is the last stolen picture from Nate)
It was suggested that we should climb to the top. I have been here many times but have never visited the top. I was kind of “giddy” to experience something new. I let them decide but made sure I offered a subtle hint by adding the sneaky line “This might be your only chance to get a good view of the city since there is such a long line at the Eiffel tower”.
I am ashamed that I had not bothered to do this years ago. The view was amazing! and so are the spiral stair cases going up and down. (I sat down and fixed my camera before I started the ascent).
This is looking up…
This statue is just before you go up on top of the arc. (This reminds me of Isabelle when she realizes I have just done something really stupid)
Here is on top… imagine the 360º view you have of the city.
Finally the way down. You can get dizzy walking down these stairs. I actually fell. I wasn’t hurt at least physically. I had two young French ladies run over and ask me if I was ok. How embarrassing… I hope they thought I was drunk and not some old guy struggling to make my way down. (Still sensitive from the Halloween old guy costume)
As you can see from the pictures our day was almost gone so I said we had one last thing to do before our tour was over. We located a Monop’ (grocery store) near the Arc and bought my favorite chocolate (only found in France during Christmas time)
This chocolate is the only thing I really wanted to visit anyway…. much better than the top of the Eiffel tour. (This was not just a way to make everyone feel better about missing the climb to the top… but I can earnestly say that it is better… at least in my opinion) If you have not had this I believe it is the best tasting chocolate in the world.
I also bought some tomme de savoie… love this cheese! and it is right now in my hotel fridge here in India. (I brought my food again… I know shame shame)
Stay tuned for stuff from India… and at the end of the trip I will be sharing my weird pictures!