What a day. Two of Paris’ icons in a single day.
Chris had been out the night before to work out how to use the metro for the purpose of getting around and had actually visited the Eiffel tower by himself but did not go up.
Today the entire family headed out to our nearest metro station “Pereire” and jumped on a train to “Champ de Mars” which is the station for the Eiffel tower. Twenty minutes later we were standing on the street taking in our first view of the Eiffel tower. It is an impressive sight. In most photos, as I recall it, the Eiffel tower was grey but it is very definitely a mission brown colour.
At the bottom there were two queues a short one to take the elevator to the 2nd floor and a really short queue if you were prepared to walk the 400 or so steps. I hate queuing and enjoy excercise so the decision was easy. Sophie and Matthew easily made it up to the first level without complaint or even slowing down. The view is impressive, even from the first level. Paris is flat so any height gained is quickly rewarded by fine views.
After a quick look around we mounted the stairs again to walk to the 2nd level. On the 2nd level you can easily walk around the tower getting fine views in every direction. There are also souvenir shops and cafes. The view from the 2nd level is magnificent and it is hard to imagine it getting better, but we had tickets for the top so we were about to find out.
This time we hopped into the elevator for a ride to the top. The elevator is quite unique in that it goes on an angle up the sloped side of the Eiffel Tower. Once at the top the first thing we noticed (and you could not help noticing) was the 35+ knot wind gusts that made it a challenge to stand upright without bracing against the wind. The top has two levels one indoors and protected from the wind and one outdoors. It would not be right to stay indoors when a clear view was available outside. So despite the wind and the cold we took lots of amazing photos and then headed onto our next destination, the Louvre.
I suspect you could spend a week in the louvre and not see everything and probably spend a month and not appreciate everything. We spent about three hours poking around and doing the three masterpieces tour. This tour was self guided using Nintendo 3DS’s and headphones. It took in Venus de Milo, the Mona Lisa and another grand masterpiece whose we cannot remember. You could easily spend the three hours we had taking in the building.
Seeing the first glimpse of the Mona Lisa was like the first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower… a few quick heartbeats and then the wonderment set in. Wow! this is THE real thing and I’m here looking at it.
Matthew was very interested in the many statues depicting Greek Gods and took lots of photos of them. We all thought that if we have time left after seeing all of our other must sees then we’d like to return to the Louvre to have more of a look around.
As I am writing this on the TGV (high speed train) from Paris to Brussels, I can say we didn’t get back to the Louvre. There was so much to see elsewhere. Maybe another time.