Monday, October 14, 2013

September 7 Saturday Eiffel Tower & Paris by Night

Sept 7, 2013
After dropping off my tea at our hotel room we headed off to the Metro to go on our tour of the Eiffel Tower. The tunnels we walk thru on the Metro to get to the trains are confusing until you know what direction you need to go so it wasn't as bad this 3rd time. Figures, you just start getting the hang of it and its time to leave. We met our guide & group of 10 couples just outside the exit of the Metro  on the street in front of the Eiffel Tower, and we all got headphones and little radios so we could hear him. He was Australian and very easily understood but if we get separated, we could always hear his narrative. 

We still had a ways to walk down the street to even get to the Tower. It looks a lot closer than it actually is.

 It just kept getting bigger and bigger the closer we got.

Our guide walked us over to the Tower where we “skipped the line” and went to the front with our prepaid tickets. We still stood in a lot of lines but after seeing the line of people who have to wait 2-3 hrs we couldn't really complain.
This is inside. The metal looks brown. They change the color paint on all the metal every once in awhile and its due for a change, so I wonder what color it will be next?
Then we piled 25 people at a time onto an elevator to go to the 2nd platform with only 1 more platform to the top. We did climb quite a few stairs each time but never saw anyone attempting to climb their way up instead of by elevator so it may not be allowed. But there's no way we were even going to attempt it. 
I first looked down from the 2nd level to the park below and caught the shadow of the Tower over it. 

The views were amazing and the city spread out for miles in a very flat terrain with some small hills. I started walking around to each corner to catch the different views from each side. 

To get to the next level we had to climb a bunch of stairs. I wasn't sure it was worth it because it was so crowed and it was wall to wall people but we trudged onward. But the views did get better. 

We saw the Arc near where our hotel was, and were able to see how the streets were designed like spokes of a wheel going out from it.

There were some old photos on the walls inside this level of visitors back in the early 1900s that I had to take photos of. 

Do you want to see something cool? Take a close look at this photo to the front of the island, called the "lle de France", just past the bridge. There's a small replica of the Statue of Liberty, the gift France gave to the US. And its facing directly at OUR Statue of Liberty. 

I think we spent a total of about 2 hours or more on the Tower, and didn't even try climbing the stairs to the final level as it was backed up with people waiting to go up there. It still took almost a half hour to go down by elevator with the sheer number of people going back. At least it has one way going up, and another going down. But we were packed like sardines in them and hubby didn't like that at all. 

We went back to the hotel for a while, resting up a bit and to find some dinner before our next tour, Cruise on the Seine and Illumination of Paris, started at 8:30pm. We walked up and down the street looking at a couple restaurants and which ones seemed popular. We decided on an Italian one, had a decent meal but the French don't do Italian well.  Then we took the Metro again to our pickup point for the next tour. 
It was a large bus again *bleh* and it drove us past the Eiffel Tower as it was being lit up, 

and then down to the River Seine where we got on a cruise boat. Most of the people were sitting inside because it had been chilly and sprinkling still. But we had dressed warmly and chose to sit on the seats surrounding the cabin outside and got great views of the river front and all the buildings. 
This photo shows the narrow area on the outside of the boat where we were sitting. 

As the evening darkened, we could see people sitting out along the walls and down near the water with their picnic baskets & bottles of wine, and they waved at us as we went by. Apparently this is where the teenagers "park" here too. 
On the way back to our dock, as we approached the Eiffel Tower we saw it light up with a bright strobe light circling around the top. It was really pretty with the lights reflecting off the water. 

   The final show at the Eiffel Tower was a bunch of sparkly lights going off. It only lasted about a minute then it was over. Apparently it repeats this every once in a while but we had to leave.

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