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Posts tagged eiffel tower

Eight summers ago…

ellie paris

Ellie in Paris (2008)

Eight years ago this month this blog began. I started it a year before we were going to live in Japan, to work out the kinks before Japan. That first summer we lived in Denmark and visited Paris. One of the main reasons I began the blog was in the hopes that my kids would chronicle their travels. That didn’t happen much. But it’s fun for me to look back and see how much they’ve grown and changed. Ellie is about twice as tall as she was then, and she is off to college this fall. She is also going to visit me for a week in Copenhagen in July, her first time back since 2008.

The Arch of Triumph (part 1 of 2)

For our last full day in Paris we decided to start at the Arch of Triumph (Arc de Triomphe).

To reach the Arch you go underground and then pop up pretty much right under it. In the underground, pedestrian tunnel to get there you can purchase tickets to walk up the narrow, winding staircase within the Arch to the roof. It’s not cheap to get a view from the top at almost US$20 a person. Luckily, my kids were young enough to do it for free.

The skies were a bit more “normal,” compared to the day we went up the Eiffel Tower, since there wasn’t rain the night before this time. Smog was in the air, but the views were still pretty good. A bunch of streets, a dozen I believe, begin (or end, depending on your vantage point) at the Arch.

From the Arch there are similar views to those you get on the first level of the Eiffel Tower, including Sacre-Coeur. I’ll post some more photographs from the top tomorrow.

Sacre-Coeur (part 2 of 2)

We walked through the interior of Sacre-Coeur. Photography was not allowed, but it looked pretty similar to the other churches we’d been through in Paris with very high ceilings. Walking mats had been placed throughout much of the interior which covered up the fancy floors. It reminded me of those people that cover their furniture in plastic. Sure it may keep whatever you are trying to protect in pristine condition, but no one gets to enjoy the protected item in the meantime so what exactly are you protecting it for?

Back outside we waited with hundreds of others for the sun to set. The police cut off access to the upper area which meant no one could get up. For some unknown reason, the public toilets up top were also all closed around dusk. So now we had hundreds, if not more than a thousand, people crowded up top with no place to pee.

The views of the church and Paris below got better and better. Musicians came out of the woodwork to entertain the crowds.

You can’t actually see the Eiffel Tower from Sacre-Coeur as there are a bunch of apartment buildings blocking the view. However, if you head to the side a bit and peak through some trees you can get the above view. At the top of each hour the Eiffel Tower does a light show for 10 or so minutes.

Eiffel Tower (part 2 of 2)

There are three levels on the Eiffel Tower. There is really nothing more to see from the top level, and based on how crowded the much larger, middle level was, I didn’t see any reason to become a sardine higher up.

In the above photograph you can see Sacre-Coeur in the distance in the middle. Closer, and to the right, are the Grand and Petit Palaises.

Jardins du Trocadero can be seen from the Eiffel Tower in the above picture. In the distance is Paris’s business center.

With some magnification you can get a good view of the Arch of Triumph from the Eiffel Tower.

The top level of the Eiffel Tower is still a long way up from the middle level.

From the park (Parc du Champ de Mars) next to the Eiffel Tower you can get the most common, postcard-type views of the Eiffel Tower.

One last note on the tower… If you take the stairs up, like we did, you can still take the elevator down for no additional fee.

Eiffel Tower (part 1 of 2)

Sunday night there was much rain while we slept and the forecast was for more on Monday morning. However, when we looked out the window it looked pretty good so we decided to head for the Eiffel Tower before it got too crowded.

When we arrived there we could hardly believe the line. For once, there wasn’t one! Without wondering too much about why we were only queued behind about 5 other people we purchased tickets. We soon found out that we had purchased passes to walk up the stairs of the Eiffel Tower. That’s OK though as the tickets were about half the price others were paying to ride up, and the line to take the elevator was quite long.

If you are visiting the Eiffel Tower note that there are 4 ticket booths–one at each of the tower’s corners. The south and east corners sell tickets to walk up the stairs. The north and west corners sell tickets to take the elevator.

669 steps later we made it to the second level.

Looking southeast from the tower we could see the Parc du Champ de Mars. The air was particularly clear because of all the rain. We picked the perfect time to climb the Eiffel Tower it turned out. Normally the view would have been much smoggier. We got that view later from other vantage points like Sacre-Coeur and Arc de Triomphe.

The large dome in the middle of the above photograph is Les Invalides over the tomb of Napoleon.

The clouds were almost as good as Copenhagen. Well, maybe not.

The first Statue of Liberty we saw in Luxembourg Park. It was built in 1870. The one viewed from the Eiffel Tower, above, is in the Seine River and has been since 1889. I believe it goes by the name of French Statue of Liberty. It was done at about the same time as the one in New York’s harbor.

Our line, below, of five quickly turned into a line of hundreds. By the time we left the Eiffel Tower the queues went on forever. We got there just in time.

Long walk home from the Orsay

After the Orsay Museum we planned to ride the 69 bus to get a better feel for Paris. We soon realized that Bus 69 doesn’t run on Sunday and opted for a bite to eat instead. Then we headed down Rue Bonaparte.

After checking out the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Pres we got caught in a bit of a downpour forcing us into Saint-Sulpice, made famous, in part, by The Da Vinci Code. Saint-Sulpice was remarkable on the inside and a service was taking place. A huge organ in the rear played some most haunting melodies. Nothing is creepier in Paris, it seems, than the churches and what goes on inside.

An impressive fountain awaited us once the rain stopped and we departed St. Sulpice.

We then headed south to Luxembourg Park which was nearly empty thanks to the rain. The French and tourists don’t seem to be able to brave the rain like the Danish.

The above photograph is one of my favorites from the trip, featuring some impressive clouds and the Eiffel Tower in the distance on the right.

Paris’s Pantheon was closed by the time we got there, but the walk was fun and the streets were deserted.

As we walked back to our apartment on the bridges crossing the Seine we caught some nice glimpses of Notre Dame Cathedral. We had thoughts of climbing the tower, but we were more than a bit tired, and 760 steps up and down didn’t sound like too much fun at that point. Plus, it was going to be closing in half an hour.