A Travellerspoint blog

Tour Eiffel

A mother daughter reunion

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After three months apart, k and I have reunited in Paris. Yesterday was our catch up and sleep day. Today was the Tour Eiffel.

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After our Parisien breakfasts of baguettes, croissants, fresh juice and coffee, we hit up our concierge for directions to the tower. The staff here at the Alba Opera hotel have been very helpful and friendly and this morning was no different. On our map, he showed us the train stations and gave us very detailed directions to the station, told us at which station to transfer and where station to disembark.

Now for most people that would be enough. But those of you who have travelled with me before know that even with gps yelling at me, I still get lost. And the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, although better than me with directions my K is directionality challenged.

There are 4 metro stations close by. Two were on line 2 the other ones on line 5. We were to take the 2 to Charles De Gaulle Etoile and then transfer to the 6 and disembark a Trocadero, well instead of turning right at the end of our block, we went left and ended up unknowingly at line 5 (which was a sketchy area). We were accosted by a hostile news seller on the way down to the metro. Then we faced gale force winds while purchasing tickets with some yahoo behind us trying to get our attention. His incessant nattering about getting him some coffee or some Euros, and hyenic laughter made my ears hurt. We finally got our tickets and were through the gate when we discovered we were at line 5. We couldn't imagine heading back the other way and losing our tickets, and luckily, k was able to find an alternate route for us. We went down to the track and we're reviewing our path with our backs to the tracks. (New lesson to me, always turn slightly to the side so you can see mostly what's coming). Some guy came up behind me and poked me right on the back. I mean a really hard poke, and then grunted and then walked a couple of steps away I made some non-sensible response, and k said "excuse me" at which point he turned around and stared at us. Thankfully he forgot why he stopped to bother us in the first place and kept on his way. The rest of our journey to the tower was surprisingly uneventful!

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K and I pre-purchased our tickets. This allowed us to bypass the long serpentine line and go right to the front. I would definitely recommend doing this. You just go online and printout the tickets. Took me two seconds.

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We went all the way to the summit. What a view.

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Looking up

We decided to walk back to our hotel via the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs Elysees. Just before we got to the arc, we go saw this little restaurant. You can see its red awning below. This ended up being our splurge meal. 80 euros for the two of us. And no wine or other alcohols.
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Arc de Triomphe From the Champs Elysees

Arc de Triomphe From the Champs Elysees

Champs Elysees

Champs Elysees

We were able to find a little gem on out way home. The Chappelle Expiatoire. It's said that the bodies of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were buried here after they were guillotined. Unfortunately the site's was closed and we couldn't go in. Their bodies are now buried in the Basilica St Denis, but we are are reminded of all those whose lives were lost during this period and still are resting here.
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K and I, still full from our extravagant lunch snacked on a sweet bun and clementine and called it a night. Tomorrow - the Louvre?

Posted by kwtraumer 12:23 Archived in France Comments (0)

Lessons learned

Some tips for international travel...

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1. Make sure you have more than 2 hours between connector flights, unless you want to have an anxiety ridden flight! I was delayed for more than an hour leaving Edmonton, and we arrived at the airport after I was supposed to be at the next gate! I spoke with the attendants who assured me that I should be fine...maybe. They said...Just check with the gate attendant on landing. Or maybe just go right to the gate! That really settled the nerves!

2. Pick your in flight movie carefully! For the first leg of my journey I chose Magic Mike! While it was not high brow and there wasn't a lot of dialogue ( two things I look for in an airplane movie), I was embarrassed at times to be watching it. It was kind of a train wreck, you know one of those things when you don't want to look but you can't help but look! I knew there would be some stripping but I'd forgotten how truly awful male stripping is. I'm sure the guy beside me loved it! I did warn him.

3. Always book the aisle not the window. Most people go for the window, but for an overnight flight there is no reason to look out into the never ending darkness. And most importantly, it is much easier to go to the bathroom any time you want, instead of waiting and waiting until one of the other two get up!
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Although it was nice to watch the sun comes up this morning!

4. Establish your claim to the arm rests and foot spaces early. I had a very tall man sitting beside. He was pretty good at first, not even resting his arms on the armrest. Then slowly he started encroaching in my space until his arms and legs had crossed well into my space. It was kinda creepy sometimes when his bare feet were on top of mine.

5. Take care when taking a taxi! I was so tired when I disembarked that when a guy asked me if I wanted to take a taxi I said yes. After I followed him to the parkade I thought man am I stupid. So I stopped there and asked to see his taxi license. I didn't plan my next step, and luckily he had his chauffeur license. His partner, a female, drove me to town. We had a lovely visit even with my broken French. She's just started in the business and has been in Paris for 15 years. Divorced and with 2 children. One passed away 3 years ago at the age of 7 due to leukemia. Why did I tell you this story? So you could see how well I was able to converse!

6. When travelling through Montreal to Paris always wear boots- especially high heeled, tall, black boots. Otherwise you just look like a slob.

7. Wear a high necked shirt - otherwise your cold dry muffin might crumble down the gaping front, causing you several moments of embarrassment as you try to retrieve it.

8. Don't drink sweet espresso on an empty stomach if you've been up for 24 hours. You may get a little dizzy!

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Espresso at the Alba Opera

9. When buying an inflatable travel pillow - don't! I mean you can spend $13 on a pillow that will deflate in 2 seconds if you want. I think I'd splurge next time and buy the $20 plush pillow.

10. Always pack cosmetics in ziplock bags. And then make sure all caps are tightly screwed on before packing. Otherwise you'll arrive at your destination with a bag of mouthwash. It's actually not too bad - the whole room smells minty fresh now!

Posted by kwtraumer 02:15 Archived in France Comments (4)

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