day 8 – Paris

Under the Eiffel Tower.

Under the Eiffel Tower.

We roll into Paris around 10:00am, board our chartered bus for the nickel tour of Paris (actually quite good), and then check into our hotel for some much needed R&R before taking the Metro into central Paris for some free time. Today is the first of two days in the City of Lights.

The Paris subway, or Metro, is a wonderful thing: extensive coverage, the trains run often (every 5-8 minutes or so), and are on time. What a concept! At each station, there are displays that indicate how many minutes before the next train. €1.60 gets you anywhere on the system. “Merveilleux!” as the French say.

Most of our tour mates take off for a visit to a perfume manufacturer. As for Joe and me, we break away and just follow our noses. I resist going to the Eiffel Tower, but neither Joe nor I have been to the top so we reboard the Metro to the iconic symbol of Paris and Doh! the top observation platform is closed for maintenance. But we can go to the still impressive second highest observation deck. You don’t realize how truly massive the Tour Eiffel, as the French call it, is until you’re standing beneath it. It’s equally impressive to remember that it and all the incredible structures we’ve seen were designed and constructed without computers, laser levels, Excel spreadsheets, modern power tools, and the like.

Night view toward the river Seine from the 2nd level of the Eiffel Tower.

Night view toward the river Seine from the 2nd level of the Eiffel Tower.

Joe and I leave the Eiffel Tower and look for a place to have dinner. The neighborhood seems somewhat shutdown but we stumble upon an Italian restaurant crowded with locals, always a good sign. We are rewarded with the best meal and service yet.

~ Ken