Micha in Paris 2004
With poor weather predicted for the long weekend, my hopes of a motorbike tour faded. So I booked a flight to Paris with Olga, since she's been wanting to go and I've got child-hood ambitions to fulfill: the scaling of the Eiffel Tower!
Please note that I haven't made the picture albums to go along with this diary yet, even though the links are there...
Day 1 - Saturday 2004.05.29 - Pics
Fairly relaxed start to the day since our flight wasn't till the afternoon. The airport, when we got there, was packed! The joys of travelling in cattle-class on a long weekend *grin*
After the uneventful flight we caught the train to Paris, swapped onto the Metro (which runs on tyres on special tracks instead of metal wheels - how cool is that??), and found our hotel without really getting lost, wow! Check-in proceeded smoothly, however I didn't find out that I was saying '304' (in french) instead of '34' for our room-number until I got home... no wonder the porter kept grinning when I asked for the room-key...
We found a nice place near the hotel for a relaxed dinner which ended up taking most of the remaining evening. From there we wandered to the Eiffel Tower which wasn't far away to admire it's lit-up beauty.
We briefly considered going up at night, but by the time we had decided to it was already too late and the tower was closed. Instead we wandered around a bit more, took pictures and enjoyed the balmy evening in Paris.
Day 2 - Sunday 2004.05.30 - Pics
The plan was to get up very early, have breakfast, go to the Eiffel Tower, and catch one of the open-top busses from there for a tour of Paris. Unfortunately the weather had followed us from England and the morning dawned grey and miserable, inviting a slightly longer stay under the warm blankets.
We finally did get going however, and booked onto a bus tour at the base of the Eiffel Tower. Something to bear in mind is that the bus tickets are valid for 48 hours, you can't get a 1-day ticket.
Despite the wet seats we sat upstairs in the cool and enjoyed the trip. Our first stop was at Notre-Dame. I must say it didn't impress me a lot - other cathedrals I've visited (notably Cologne and Salisbury) are much more impressive. Nevertheless it's a beautiful building from outside. We decided against going inside due to the lineup. To warm up we had a quick cuppa in a nearby cafe before rejoining the bus.
The next leg of the tour got progressively worse weather-wise, but my stubbornness kept me up there even when the drizzle turned to rain - and I had stupidly left my coat behind at the hotel thinking it wouldn't be too bad. Half frozen and drowned we finally got off near the Arc de Triomphe for lunch, over the course of which the weather turned for the better. Olga also took this opportunity to scope out some shops on the Champs Elysee.
We visited the base of the Arc, but again decided against spending the time and money going up it in favour of heading back to the Eiffel Tower. By this time it had gotten mostly sunny and quite warm again so I was glad to have left my coat behind - the morning's unpleasantness was but a hazy memory!
Waiting in line for the lifts going up the Tower (Olga declined the stairs for some reason, which were cheaper and had a much shorter waiting line to boot) we ended up chatting to a family from just south of London. I can see why a lot of english form life-long friendships in queues!
We finally did make it to the lift, and I got complimented on account of my black fingernails by the ticket-lady: "C'est tres jolie!" (They're very beautiful) - aww bless. First stop was the second platform, already quite high up, and we wasted no time joining the next queue for the top platform.
Finally at the top, and what a view! Paris is quite an open and nice city, not nearly as cramped as London. We could see where our hotel was as well as some of the other major sights around - the Sacre Coeur, Arc de Triomphe, Notre-Dame, and more. We spent quite a long time there, taking quite a few pictures. One person at the top launched a couple of paper planes - I was so jealous at the lack of paper to make my own! What a place for planes...
Eventually it was time to go back down (yep, you guessed it, you have to queue for that as well!). At the second level we split up - I wanted to take the stairs back down while Olga preferred the lift - so we agreed to meet at the bottom.
By this time it was already evening, and the late sunlight provided me with some excellent photo oportunities of the Eiffel Tower. We then found ourselves another restaurant, aiming for frog legs, but not finding something we both liked we settled for escargot - yummy! By the time dinner was over it had gotten dark and since we were both worn out from the long day decided to make it an 'early' night (it was already past 23:00 I think) and headed back to the hotel.
Day 3 - Monday 2004.05.31 - Pics
Not much to say of the last day since our flight was inconveniently in the middle of the day. It took us quite a while to get to the hotel so we just had breakfast and made our way back to the airport. For some reason it took significantly less time to get back to the airport and we were there an hour before check-in even! I used the time quite well by writing some postcards and posting them off - wow - I actually sent them from the country I was visiting for a change!!
Even though the trip ended up being more or less just 1 day sight-seeing in Paris it was a nice break. Definitely will have to go back someday to see it in more detail!
A helpful tip we received was that all museums have free entry on the first Sunday of every month.
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Last updated: 2004.06.09