On Sunday we didn’t get going particularly early—we were already prepared for breakfast in our room, having bought croissants the day before, and we had no idea what to expect as far as things being open given it being a Sunday and also Easter.
Turns out we were needlessly worried and overly prepared for the worst—barely anything seemed to be closed, and there seemed to be as many people at the Eiffel Tower as there would be any other day.
We decided to start with the Eiffel Tower, since the forecast was for rain in the afternoon and storms following….but we didn’t really think that through too well, as we left our hotel a bit before 10:00am and walked 30 minutes to the Tower before waiting outside in 45 degree weather with high winds for an hour just to get our ticket.
We got to the second level (which was open air and already freaking me out a little from the height and openness) and immediately got in a second line for another 30 minutes or so to get on the second elevator to get up to the top floor.
I was literally so close to backing out so many times while in that line, despite having paid a few extra dollars to go to the top. From a distance and even from the base, the Eiffel Tower seems to be a reasonable height, but from the second floor looking straight up at the top, and realizing how there is really nothing to it besides metal beams surrounding a few elevators…. Between the cold and my nerves I was shaking like a leaf by the time it was time to step on the second elevator.
I couldn’t look outside as we traveled for one minute up to the top, but as soon as we got up there I breathed a sigh of relief—the top floor is enclosed with real walls and glass. My fear of falling more adequately controlled, I actually really enjoyed wandering around and seeing the expanse of the city and all the parts I now recognize. There is actually one more floor immediately above the enclosed one, that is open to the air and is enclosed by a guard rail and wire, but I decided not to push the level of adrenalin I had already experienced and I stayed where I was and waited for Kelly to go up and take pictures without the barrier of the glass.
In the end, I am very happy we went all the way to the top floor and that I was able to see Paris from that vantage point. However I highly recommend purchasing your tickets in advance, dressing in more layers, and preparing for the experience to take half a day. We didn’t get back down until after 2:00pm—at which time we were completely starving from having only had a croissant for breakfast and then burning up all our fuel from adrenalin and anxiety and fighting off the cold. Okay maybe that was just me.
Anyway, the side streets near the Eiffel Tower are actually also great for wandering, and we stopped in at a little pasta place for lunch and to regroup.
After lunch we walked to a metro station and took a subway over to Sacre Coeur and Montmartre—which was my first experience with the Paris subway station. It was easier than I expected, but that was helped a lot by Kelly having already taken the subway before I arrived, and she was a lot more familiar with how the subway worked and the subway map.
We arrived at the base of Sacre Coeur Basilica, and the number of stairs to the top completely daunted me even though I had been gung ho about it while safely sitting in the restaurant during lunch. Despite being tired from standing all morning in lines and clearly out of shape, I made it to the top of the hill and was able to look once again out at the city of Paris—but this time from the opposite side as from earlier in the morning. It was a little surreal to be standing on the hill of the Basilica that I had just hours before been looking down at from the top of the Eiffel Tower!
Though Montmartre is more touristy and commercialized than it supposedly was in years past, it was still a fun area to wander around—though after all our adventuring and traipsing about the city that day we were more than ready for some coffee and to get off our feet. We chose a café at random, which ended up being the most perfect timing because shortly after we settled in at the café the sunny skies turned grey and started dumping rain. It had been so beautiful out that both Kelly and I completely forgot about the forecast for rain!
The streets that had been busy with bustling people suddenly became empty as everyone fled to the nearest café for shelter—though being around 4:30pm the cafes were already quite busy and not many people were as lucky in finding seats as we were.
After our brief rest period we took another subway back to our hotel area and grabbed a couple more things for dinner before heading back to the hotel with a plan to stay in for the rest of the night.
We made a picnic on our beds consisting of cheese, baguettes, strawberries, tomatoes, salami, wine, and more chocolate than we probably needed. After binge watching The Big Bang Theory on Netflix we very uneventfully repacked all our luggage in order to be ready to leave bright and early the next morning. (At which point it hit me that coffee at 5:00pm was probably a bad idea considering my minimal-but-present jet lag and the fact that I have had startlingly little caffeine in the last two weeks….So I was awake until 3:30am T_T).
Monday morning brought our departure from Paris and the beginning of the next adventure: Nice! (And no, I don’t mean ‘nice’ like an adjective similar to ‘good,’ I mean Nice, the city in southern France!!).
Come back soon to read about the next travel adventure in France! Kelly and I will be traveling together again this week—Kelly until Thursday when she returns to Ireland and then the US, and I will leave Nice Saturday, taking a train to Agde for my next adventure.
Thanks for reading! ^_^