Today was a day filled with the sights and sounds of Paris. It is overwhelming to take in (or to describe!) but I will give you a thumbnail view…
We found a boulangerie (bakery) for breakfast. After coffee, hot chocolate and croissants, it was off to the train station to get to the correct Metro stop so we could get off at Traccadero. That took some fancy footwork, but we did it! One thing I will say about Parisians – when they are going in one direction, do not stand in their way! (I forgot today was a workday and these people are relentless to catch their train, metro car, etc.)
We walked out of the Traccadero Station and I knew what to expect right around the corner. I didn’t mention it to my daughter, because I wanted to see her reaction.
We turned the corner…and there it was. The Eiffel Tower in all its glory. She stood stunned for several seconds, then started taking pictures like a mad woman. We did find one nice person to take our picture together, but mostly we took selfies and one-zies (I just made that up. Its the picture you take of the person who is with you, then they take your picture in front of the same thing).
Walked across the Seine to the Eiffel Tower…and the lines were horrible for the elevator to the top. So we did the next best thing and walked to the second level. (What great training for her trip later in the summer to Mount Rainer!) The views from the second level are inspiring, and much better than from the top (its too high to see any detail).
Walked down to the Seine to see if we could catch the River Boat cruise that came as part of our Paris Pass. We finally found the boat and managed to snag a seat. We got talking to a couple from London, who filled our heads with a possible train ride to their city on this trip (not going to happen – it would cost $1200!)
The Seine River boat cruise was fantastic. Slowly moving by all of the famous sights of Paris is breathtaking and humbling all at once. I took too many photos to post here, but let’s just say that it is well worth the time.
We had lunch on the steps of the Seine (who knew that ham and butter nestled inside a baguette would taste so good?) and fed the birds. Two small boys started chasing the pigeons and managed to get water all over themselves (but they never caught a bird). Walking back across the river with the Eiffel Tower behind us, licking ice cream and waving to the other boats as they cruised is a favorite memory of this trip.
We took the Metro from the Troccedero to the Opera station, because we had to meet our tour guide for the electric bicycle tour in the middle of La Vendome. This is a large plaza built for the nobility in the 18th Century so they could go outside without being mugged. This is also where the Ritz Paris hotel is located, owned by Dodi Fahed’s father (and where they left after dinner before the tragedy in the tunnel).
We rode the bicycles all through back streets and to many hidden gems. The highlight for me was riding through the large plaza that is surrounded by the Louvre. We rode past the Pyramid and stopped at the monument that lines up the plaza with the Champs Elysse, the Arc de Truimphe, etc. Again, too many things to list but the feeling of riding a bicycle down narrow, cobblestone streets was exhilarating!
Walking back to our apartment, we discovered Point Neuf, the bridge at the end of the Ile de Citie. Thousands of locks have been placed on the bridge to symbolize lovers giving their hearts to each other. Beneath the bridge are the keys that were thrown into the river when the locks were first placed on the metal. There is no room left to add a lock – only so many stories of people who love…
What a great day to spend in Paris – chasing the sights!