I would walk 500 miles, & I would walk 500 more...
Today was lovely & sunny, and very hot again (not that I'm complaining). I needed to pick up my Paris Pass which I ordered online before I left, so I took the Metro to Le Peletier station. It was a bit of a mission working out how to get a ticket, but figured it out eventually. The Metro is something anyone visiting Paris should try once - then don't bother again unless you have to. It's just a train, but since it's all underground there's no entertainment value in it, just a quick way to get from A to B. Something to be aware of once you change hemispheres - you'll probably do what I did & turn the wrong way once or twice. Found it really hard to get my bearings & have worked out that I need to go in the opposite direction to my natural instincts. Once I turned the correct way, I picked up my pass, which means I can now get into a huge number of museums and other attractions without queuing or paying to get in. So I headed towards the Champs Elysees and the Arc de Triomphe, a good hour & a half walk away. Thank God for comfy shoes!
What an amazing sight the first glimpse of the Arc is as you turn onto the Champs Elysees! To get to it, you go under the road at the roundabout and come up next to the arch.
My pass got me in the door and I climbed up the 284, mostly spiral, steps to the top, where I got my first view of the Eiffel Tower.
Then I knew I had really arrived in Paris!!
One of the other things the Paris Pass gets you is a hop on hop off tour of major attractions on an open-topped bus. I took one from the Arc de Triomphe up the Champs Elysees past the Grand Palace & the Trocadero and got off at the Museum of Man, across from the Eiffel Tower.
I think I took about a million photos of the tower today, from all sorts of angles, up close & far away! It's an incredibly beautiful thing up close as well, with the intricate engineering it seems there's something artistic about the placement of each piece of steel.
My fave pic of the Eiffel Tower
I queued for a really, really, really long time (the Eiffel Tower isn't included in the Paris Pass, dammit) just to get a ticket, then queued again for the lift to the 2nd level, then again for the lift to the 3rd (top) level. It was so worth it though - the view's astounding!
The longest wait was in the queue to go back down. Apparently going at night is a better idea as it's not as busy. Wish I had taken Lonely Planet's advice & done that!
Left there at about 4:30 and took a cruise up (or is that down?) the Seine for an hour which was a lovely way to see some of the city, and really nice to get off my feet for a while.
Then I caught up with one of those tour buses again and we drove past the Champ de Mars, and the Louvre then I got off at Notre Dame. By this time it was about 7:30 and the cathedral was closed so I'll go and see it properly tomorrow. I took the 45 minute walk to my hotel from there, and fell on my bed, really happy to kick off my shoes & have a shower. It would usually take a couple of days for my feet to recover but I'm not sure they'll get the chance!
Had dinner close to the hotel, crispy skin sea bream on veges - really tasty. Dessert was an experience though. I ordered the profiteroles, which turned out to be one... but really huge, about 7" diameter & 4" high. I had wondered why the waiter smiled when I ordered it. It wasn't very nice anyway, hard pastry & filled with ordinary ice cream and whipped cream from a can. Not exactly what I expected, to say the least.
I'll be glad to hit the sack tonight, which I'll be doing very soon. Such a fantastic day, and exhausting but totally worth it. Getting camera lead tomorrow.