Paris – 14th April 2009
Because I am like 10 minutes from the Eiffel Tower, I decide to get in early and get it out of the way. Walking through the quiet streets not far, its peaceful, and I get a cheap croissant and a chocolate drink in a can!
Walking from the fountain end of the tower, it looks quite peaceful and like I’ve done a good thing by coming early. But getting closer to the bottom of the tower, its pretty obvious there is a lot of people going up to the top. Ridiculous.
I line up at the smallest line. Which just happens to be the stairs, which is exactly what I wanted to do. Only problem is you cannot climb the whole way up.
The walk up is rather impressive. Its enjoyable and a bit of a challenge. Something I have lacked recently. But its good to get a bit of a puff going. The 1st level is rather bleak, there is not that many people on it, so it makes it ideal to explore the perimeter and take in little tidbits around the side.
The 2nd floor is rather packed. Its full of people. I go to buy a ticket to get to the top. Then I realise that it may not be a good idea when I look at the line for it. At least 50 minutes probably more. Shit. At the booth, they’re shutting it because there is too many people. Damn. I head back down and say to myself ill come back later.
I head over to Palais Chaillot and the Jardins De Trocaderro. This is a pretty impressive palace just across the river from the tower. It has fantastic views of the river, and the tower. There is also an abundance of Africans swelling fake souveneirs. Not to mention a protest of some sort. I don’t take much notice.
I get onto the metro and head for the Louvre to try to get a tourist map at the information point there. I decide to walk my way down the river, and then down to the catacombes.
I walk along the louvre towards the island of Ill De La Cite. I walk through the back streets of the small island and through a small little park thats pretty sweet. Before hitting the Notre Dame. Its pretty impressive. The most impressive church I have seen thus far on this trip. Its rather awesome. I think about going in, til I see the line up to get in. Ouch. Massive. Then the line for the tower. Even more ouch. I head off and end up sitting on the side of the seine over looking the Notre Dame and having a baguette for lunch.
I head off down a street towards the Pantehon. Which is a pretty big crypt that has Voltaire and Victor Hugo in there, as well as Foucalts pendulum that proves the rotation of the earth. On my way there I head down side streets and find an indie cinema that has posters for ‘into the wild’. I take note and try to get back here for it. As well as going past the Sorbonne University.
The pantheon is a rather impressive dome shaped building. A lot like the one in Rome. I dont go in though, as it costs money, and I find things are more impressive on the outside. I just chill on the steps and people watch some more.
I start to make my way to the Catacombes. Its a fair trek. So i grab a bus instead. The line to the catacombes is huge. But its something I really want to do, so I tag onto the end. But after about 5 minutes a guy who works there is like ‘Last entrance is at 4, you guys wont make it, come back tomorrow’. Oh fuck. That sucks balls.
So instead I head to the nearby Montparse Cemetry. Which is really cool. I like the fact that instead of graves it has little mausoleoms everywhere. Rather cool. I then get the metro to the Hotel Invalides. Which is another huge building where the small figured Napoleon Bonaparte is buried. Maybe over compensating for his small figure. But it is impressive. I chill there on the grass, then decide to just walk along the seine.
The Seine doesn’t seem like much of a nice river, Its just lucky it has some of the best views in the world. I end up back at the Eiffel Tower. And decide to just go for it and get to the top. Whilst waiting downt he bottom, there is a big racous and all the dodgy guys selling fake souveneirs are all scatternig off and running away. 5 minutes later, I see two cops, with one of the dodgy guys taking him away, they had a good collection of souveneirs too. Weird.
I get to the 2nd floor, and wait, wait, wait, wait. Its about 30 minutes til I get into an elevator to take myself to the top floor. But I get stuck with a group of kids. Argh. The good thing is that they are small and I can see straight over the top of them. The views from the top, are unreal. Very surreal. Amazing. At one point I see a paper airplane being thrown off the top, then seeing a sign saying ‘no throwing things off the tower’. Obviously good readers there.
Back at my CS host we get some beers, have a feed and watch the Liverpool v Chelsea Champions League game. Its an astonishing game with 8 goals being scored, a 4 all draw and Chelsea going through to the Semis. Weird game. But one of the most exciting games I have seen!