So today was the day I had a ticket to go up to the very top of the Eiffel Tower. So I woke up a little early, thanks to the excitement, and got ready for my day. I headed out a little earlier than I had originally intended, but that’s a good thing as I ended up having to walk miles just to change from an RER train to a metro train at the connection stop. OMG, just metro walking alone will kill you. But I made it to the Champ de Mars station eventually and the pay-off was coming out from underground and seeing the massive Tower above. It’s pretty impressive up close.
And a lot bigger than I thought! Remember, I’ve only seen it so far from a distance. But when you start getting closer, you realize just
how massive this thing is and what a marvel of engineering it must have been when it was designed.
I made my way over and stood underneath the tower, just looking up and getting all giddy as I was standing UNDER THE EIFFEL TOWER! Never in
my wildest dreams as a kid could I have imagined I’d ever have that opportunity, but here I was. I got in a short line for people who already had tickets for the summit, but still had to stand in line FOR AN HOUR just to get the elevators first to the second floor and then to the top. But it was still faster than having to buy a ticket right there (because that line was LOOOOONNNNNNGGG in and of itself).
The elevator rides are trippy because you can see out. The elevator to the second floor actually runs at an angle and made me feel a little
vertigo-ish. The ride to the top… let’s just say this: Don’t Look Down. But wow. At the top, I saw all of Paris in a 360 degree view. It
was pretty impressive. And yet, I prefer the views of Paris with the tower actually in it.
I did, however, use the bathroom at the top, which made me feel like I was peeing on Paris. I giggled… just a bit… thinking of that.
Once done, we went down to the second floor via elevator and because the elevators back down to ground floor had yet more lines and I was
so TIRED of standing in lines, I took the stairs.
Yep, it was a lot further down than I thought. My calves were aching by the time I reached ground level and my legs were literally quivering. But I made it! I’ll pay for it tomorrow, I bet.
That completed, I walked along the Champ de Mars with Google Maps fired up, as there was this restaurant I wanted to try called Les Cocottes. It’s owned by Christian Constant and was featured in an Anthony Bourdain show about Paris. After going in a circle, I stumbled upon it and immediately ordered a glass of rose and a cocotte with cod. A cocotte is a little single-size cast-iron dish that the meals are cooked in. The cod was cooked to perfection in a sauce that was to die for, with carrots and potatoes. It was the ultimate French comfort food. At that point, I realized that Samantha Brown from the Travel Channel was sitting at a table opposite me. Cool, huh? So I took that as a good sign that I’d chosen a great restaurant (and I had). I finished up with the famous Christian Constant chocolate tarte (heaven….) and then a cafe au lait, allowing my legs time to stop shaking and giving me some time to pretend not to stare at Sam. She was with some gentlemen and they were very engrossed in conversation, so I did not disturb her, but I’m sure she caught me staring a few times. So sue me! The woman inspired me to travel!
Once I’d rested and fueled up, my next plan was to hit the Champs Elysees for some shopping. After getting turned around in the city and
taking FOREVER to find the nearest Metro station, I arrived with the Arc de Triomphe towering above me when I came out of the station. I
took some photos, decided that even though I had the Museum Pass that allows you to go to the top of that, that I’d had enough of going to
the top of anything for the day. And I needed retail therapy ASAP.
So I began walking down the Champs Elysees, day dreaming in windows of Cartier and Chanel and Louis Vuitton. My first stop was Yves Rocher to
buy some hand cream, perfume and some make-up. And although it isn’t French, I still picked up a cardigan and shirt at H&M because I love
that store and I wish we had them here. I resisted the urge to go to the Gap, though, so there is that. I wanted to get a Swatch but the
store was closed for some sort of renovations!!! GRRR! I finished my shopping by hitting the nice Monoprix there where I stocked up on
socks and scarves.
So now it’s obviously snack time. And Laduree is famous for its macarons, so what’s a girl to do? She goes and gets her sweets!
And stands in line FOREVER for them. And yes, the macarons were good, but I think the ones at Paul are just as good and I’ve never had to
stand in line there. Laduree owns the Paul chain, so it’s probably the same recipe. I got the large macarons because I was starving by the
time I got to order anything (seriously, a 45 minute line for pastry!). I would go so far as to say Laduree is overpriced and overrated, but as that’s all I’ve tried, I don’t know.The macarons were a tad better than Pierre Herme, but at least I didn’t have to stand in line there. I’d probably choose Pierre Herme over Laduree just because its less touristy, though. And that Plenitude pastry I had there was DIVINE.
At that point, I was done. And honestly, ready to go home. I was tired and hot (seriously – Paris, AIR CONDITIONING is not a sin inside stores) and fed up with crowds and lines. I picked up a ham and cheese on a baguette for dinner and got back to the apartment where I am now relaxing in my pajamas. I’m going to pack up my stuff and get ready for a long travel day tomorrow.
Paris was amazing, I’ll admit, but I am ready to go home. I miss my kitties and my familly. Who knew, huh? But that’s the beauty of travel. It reminds you of what you have back home.
Even if back home doesn’t have gorgeous French men and pastries. Wait. I lied. I DON’T WANT TO LEAVE!