Monday, May 20, 2013

Eiffel Tower, Meet the Arc de Triomphe

Today was my second full day in Paris. And it started way too early. I was awake already at 2:30am, after just five of my normal eight-plus hours of beauty sleep. A 4:30 I gave up and started reading. At 6 I took a shower and headed out into the dawn. And the bars were still open. Parisians know how to party all night long, that's for sure. 

My mission was breakfast. A small bakery we'd seen the day before that had mini quiches. Couldn't find it. I walked around for an hour and a half. After a while it was just for the exercise. Then it was because I'm stubborn.  Everything looked different in the dawn's early light. Lots of shops were closed for Sunday, with garage doors pulled down. I can only guess my bakery was one of them. 

I finally gave up and walked with Mom to the office of the tour company where we had reserved a bus tour, a boat tour, and tickets to the Eiffel Tower. It was chaos. They had six different tours leaving and their computers were down. The bus tour included some interesting facts about the sites, but we didn't have a very good view. It was nice to be out of the cold though.  Photos were out of the question.  The boat tour was fun because it gave a different viewing angle for my photos. 

The Eiffel Tower was great. I took tons of photos and started recognizing monuments based on their location and features. I spotted the Arc de Triomphe, Sacré Cœur, Palais Royal, Notre Dame, Musée d'Orsay, etc. Then we enjoyed a glass of wine with the view. Afterward we walked to the Brasserie Eiffel Tower for lunch, to round out the theme. Our waiter was quite a fun character. 

The bus tour inspired us to visit the Arc de Triomphe next, so we took a bus across town and bought tickets to visit the top. I reversed my previous shot and took a photo of the Eiffel Tower from the Arc de Triomphe. The best part was the dramatic sky with dark gray rain surrounding a glowing patch of sunlit sky. Then it started raining on us. We headed back to the hotel to rest a bit. I culled my photos, uploaded the best and fell deep asleep before the upload was done. 

For dinner we took a taxi to a Tunisian restaurant. I chatted up the driver there and back. We had to send back the avocado vinaigrette appetizer, but the couscous was pretty good.

I wish it were sunny and warm, but I got some good photos anyway with the darker weather. I want to get some night shots next, since lots of monuments are lit up after dark. It's definitely a great trip so far. Good food, good photos, good use of French, and a good traveling partner.  

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