Europe 2007 Day 20 – More Paris with Jonathan

It is Remembrance Day in France and we set out at 9:30 to meet Jonathan at the queue for the Tour Eiffel. At the time, we had no idea it was Remembrance Day until we had a look at the Arc de Triomphe from the top of the tower and noticed that the circle around it was blocked off and there were military people everywhere. It was the first time to the top for Daniel and Jonathan and they both enjoyed it. The wind was very strong on the top observation platform and you could feel the tower sway. We then headed for the second floor for some more snaps of key locations and then Jonathan suggested we take the stairs to the first floor.

I don’t actually recall ever being to the first floor of the tower, only the second and third floors. Hoofing it down, we ascended to the first floor in no time. It was actually quite humorous to see people huffing and puffing as they climbed. Personally, I think it is a rip off to use the stairs because for 3.80 more Euros you can take the elevator to the first and second floors. The big difference is the queue. If you take the stairs, you can start climbing right away. If you take the elevator you have to wait up to an hour. We got their right as they were letting people buy tickets so we did not have to wait too long.

The first floor actually has some neat exhibits, souvenirs shops, and a cinema that shows a quick history in pictures and movies of the tower. Translation can be expensive and they let the pictures speak for themselves, except on the rare occasion like when they showed a clip from Superman 2. Daniel was disappointed there was no clip of A View to a Kill. The three of us then headed for the ground level. By then we had spent two and a half hours on the tower, which we all thought was getting our moneys worth.

Jonathan had suggested that we take a Seine River Cruise so we scampered down to the riverbank below the Tour Eiffel and hopped on a boat. The day started out nice, but the wind was still blowing and clouds were swirling so I had a hunch the weather would turn on us. The cruise lasted about an hour and we went past the Czar Nicolas III bridge, the Musee de Orsay, Palace Concorde, the Louvre, the Latin Quarter, and Notre Dame among other sights. The narration was a bit cheesy, but I did get to hear the can-can as well as the ever popular “I love Paris in the Springtime”. At the end of the ride Jonathan bought the souvenir photo of the three of us which he promises to scan and give me a copy.

Famished, we headed back to the Latin Quarter to get something to eat. We decided on the White House, which was far below what we had the night before. We never got our water and they gave me a cheap dessert instead of the fancy one I got with my menu set. To make up for it, we headed towards where we ate the night before and I took a photo of the restaurant and then proceeded to get another Sugar and Butter Crepe that I had so enjoyed the night before. After a bit of more shopping and browsing and picking up a sandwich for Jonathan to eat on the train from uber-swanky bakery Paul, we got on the RER for a quick trip to the Arc de Triomphe to take some photos. As we were getting ready to leave the RER station, I had the great idea that we should go out to La Defense to take a photo there, since we had to come back to Arc de Triomphe to walk Jonathan back to his apartment. While we were on the train, we realized none of us had tickets that would allow us to get to Defense, so when we arrived, we jumped back on the train back to the Arc de Triomphe. It was like getting stuck in that traffic circle in the UK.

When we finally came up to the air, it was pouring rain. It only lasted for a bit and then trailed off into a light mist. We took some snaps in front of the monument and then crossed under into the center of it. We saw that their were grandstands and soldiers still around from the AM celebrations for Remembrance Day. I took some cool shots of the Champs del Elysais as well as the Avenue de La Grand Armee.

It was time to walk Jonathan back to get his stuff so he could head back to Geneva. We hiked up to his room on the top floor and immediately were jealous of his view of the Tour Eiffel out his window. He was able to lie in bed and just watch it all night. I do not think Daniel will ever let me live it down that we are staying so close to the Tour Eiffel, but cannot see it due to the buildings across the street. I think if we were on the top floor we would have seen it. Oh well, maybe next time.

After packing his stuff, we all walked into the Metro system, us heading for the hotel and Jonathan heading for Geneva. We met up with his intern friend from the WHO, and he went on to the Champs de Elysais. We hugged Jonathan goodbye and hopefully I will get to go on a trip with him. We talked about maybe Argentina or maybe even Spain and the south of France. I sure hope it is not three years before we see each other again.

Daniel and I stocked up on pastries and drinks at our favorite bakery, Pian d’ Epis, just before they closed for the night and then headed back to the hotel for an early night. Tomorrow we are sleeping in, and then after checkout we have a few hours to kill in Paris before our train back to London. We plan on meeting Nathan one more time in London and then our three week odyssey comes to an end on Tuesday.