Friday, December 12, 2014

Amsterdam-France - day 6

22 September 2014

So today was the day we were going to see the Eiffel Tower - the tallest structure in Paris and the most visited monument in the world! I'd written about how Paris was one of the 'phoren trio' in my travel bucket list, and so it was an important day.

The weather was fabulous and we felt like walking it, even though we knew it was faaaaaar away from where we were staying. One of the only good things about Xena being so tiny was that it was easy for us to carry her on long walks.

We passed by the Musee d'Orsay, or MO. Housed in an old railway station, it holds mainly French art. Of course, we were skipping all museums so we just took a photograph and marched right past it. 

We kept walking along the Seine. Then we walked some more. Thankfully, the scenery was beautiful. 

The beautiful Seine river

Gilt-bronze statues on Pont Alexandre III glistening under the sun 

We walked some more. After about eternity, I asked Viv if we were headed in the right direction. He was sure, but I wasn't. Shouldn't the tallest structure in Paris be visible by now? And just then I was wondering this...

...the Eiffel Tower peeked out!

A closer look at the tower revealed it to be grey and dull-looking and not as fancy-schmancy as I'd expected. 

We had read a lot about pickpockets and con artists around the area, so we were super careful with our bag. It's a bit of a damper really, to be constantly be on the watch instead of taking in the views and atmosphere.

There was a very very very loooaaaong queue for the lifts to go up the tower. Fortunately, we had decided on taking the stairs. Not only was it wayyyyy faster than the queue for the lifts, it was also the best decision ever as I really earned the breathtaking view from the top of the tower.

The tower is about 324 metres high, about the same as an 81-storey building. Viv carried Xena as we climbed to the first floor, and walked around.

View of the people queuing up for the tickets

View of the Seine river and surroundings

There was even a glass floor through which you could see all the way down. It was a little freaky actually (similar to what we'd seen in the Sky Tower in Auckland), so I just put my foot on the edge and took a 'I was there!' picture. (Yes, yes, I am indeed wearing Hello Kitty sneakers, and yes, Xena picked them out for me.)

Viv has a fear of heights (I don't get it; he has bungy-jumped twice) and so he did not want to climb to the second floor. I wanted to, but wasn't sure if I should go by myself. Viv convinced me that if I wanted to, I should. So I did. 704 steps in total. My heart was racing, not just because of the steep climb, but also from the realisation that I was climbing the Eiffel Tower. 

The actual metalwork looks quite messy and ugly actually. 

I decided to take a selfie on the second floor!

Gorgeous view from higher up, but the metal grid was making the picture look ugly...

... so I put my hand through them and risking the fall of the phone, took this picture...

...and this...

...and this...

...and this. Honestly, I just couldn't get enough of the stunning views!

I even captured a clear shot of the looooooong queues for the tickets. 

I climbed back down and found father and daughter munching on a pretzel. We climbed down and were out in no time time at all. 

I'd climbed the Eiffel Tower! Yippeeeee!

Xena trying to act cool (those are MY sunglasses!)

It took me three decades of dreaming to get here. It took her three years to casually get here. Oh this generation...

We walked to Rue Saint Dominique for lunch, as I'd read that the food there was very good. 

We decided on a tiny cafe called Il Grigio because the sandwiches displayed in their window looked out of this world. 

I'd got these tiny plastic animals to entertain Xena on the flight, and they came in really handy in restaurants too. 

Xena pretending to sleep at the lunch table

We started walking back after lunch, and Xena fell asleep on Viv's shoulder in half a minute! So we decided to sit at a bus stop so she could have a peaceful nap. 

I was still practising hard to get the perfect selfie shot.

We sat at the bus stop for about an hour, talking about... our plans for the next holiday. Scotland, hopefully!

We spotted this cool-looking rickshaw type of thingie. 

Soon, Xena woke up, refreshed and we set off again. We walked down the famous Champs élysées, which was VERY reminiscent of Singapore's Orchard road, towards the Arc du Triomphe.

We spotted a car showroom, and of course, Viv wanted to go in and check the cars out!

Xena wanted to pose with the 'funny-looking car'. 

There was a queue just to get into Louis Vuitton!

Mary Kom was playing at a theatre there.

Finally, after a loooon walk, we reached the Arc de Triomphe! The Arc honours those who died for France during the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. The names of all French victories and generals are inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. Beneath its vault is the tomb of the Unknown French Soldier from WWI.

Family selfie with the Arc

We had walked about 10 km that day! Thanks to the great weather, it was not as exhausting as it could have been. We made a pitstop at McDonald's as Xena wanted to eat fries, and she also needed to pee. 

I simply loved their electronic ordering system. It's great for tourists; you're saved the trouble of going, "HUH?" when the guy at the counter asks you something about your order in rapid French. 

The little girl chomping on a fry

French fries in the French capital!

Pee out + fries in = happy child

We started our walk back. Xena assumed her favourite position during the trip.

On the way was an amazing photo museum right along the road, depicting rare photos taken during WWI. 

A nurse and an amputee, 1917

An alpine hunter and his rescue dog, 1918

And since the Tuileries Gardens were so close to our place, Xena went for another spin on the carousel!

After this, we went to the Carrefour near our place to pick up breakfast supplies. We had a hard time trying to find milk and I couldn't remember the French name for it at all ("LAIT! LAIT! LAIT!" were my thoughts after we got home). One of the staff members came over to help us. I saw Viv think for a few minutes and I braced to hear him speak in French for the first time. I was sure he would say something mind-blowing. And what does he say? "Parlez vous Anglais?" Do you speak English? LOL.

Anyway, we packed dinner from a Thai restaurant and headed home. The exhaustion of the day was finally kicking in.

Click here for Amsterdam-France - day 7. 



  • Nice views from the Eiffel tower and the detailed write up of the events makes it a good read. It will be helpful if you can place links on the right for easy browsing.

    By Blogger SAS, at 5:36 PM  

  • The trip report is awesome;as are the views from the Eiffel. Hope to visit there someday- been wanting to since a long time!

    By Blogger Divya, at 7:20 PM  

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