spreadsheets and suitcases

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Europalooza Trip Report Part 9: Paris touring, Eiffel Tower & Mr. Spock in the elevator

on April 14, 2019

How lovely it is to wake up in Paris! We got to sleep in a bit on this day, which was nice after our long touring day yesterday.  Our tickets for the Eiffel Tower were not until 10:30a.  This gave us plenty of time to shower and make sure all our stuff was properly stowed.  The hotel would be holding our luggage for us as we toured around the city.  Another shoutout to the family suite at the Best Western Plus 61 Paris Nation– we had slept comfortably during our 3-night stay, and greatly enjoyed to towel warmers in the bathroom on these chilly Paris nights!  After double-checking that we had everything we needed for the day, we dropped our backpacks and carry-on with the reception in the lobby.  The staff put them in the storage room and gave us tickets that we would exchange when we came back for them.  We headed out on the now very-familiar route to the Metro.

After a nice journey on the Metro, we emerged to the wonderful sight of La tour Eiffel.  I was pleased when DD said an open-mouthed, “Wow.”  It’s hard to impress teenagers, yo.  Anyway, we had made such good time that we decided to stop for a quick breakfast. I made a slight tactical error here- DH suggested we each have a Petit Dejeuner, which, at the restaurant we chose, included a coffee/hot chocolate, an orange juice, and a croissant, for a very reasonable price.  I said he could have that, but I’m a meat girl, don’t love bread, and don’t like hot beverages at all, including coffee.  So I needed something a la carte.  DD decided to follow my lead, and DS also got something from the regular menu- a croque monsieur, maybe?  We also got an extra croissant for DD, to eat of course, but also to pose with for that perfect Instagram shot, lol.  I got some sort of ham baguette-wich in the end, plus juice.  Anyway, since we had ordered so much from the regular menu, this breakfast was EXPENSIVE.  DH showed me the check and I was like…

mickey yikes

But, no matter, it was time to head to the Eiffel Tower.  We put a bit of a hop in our step because I remembered that this had a security check as well and I didn’t want to be late for our ticketed time.  We walked along the river, passing several blocks’ worth of those stalls selling artwork, books, and posters.  As we approached, the streets got more and more crowded with vendors selling cheesy souvenirs.  We reached the security area, which was separated by signs: people with tickets, people without, groups, etc.  We found the correct line and were behind just a few families.

When it was almost our turn, a man and several of his family members climbed over the barriers to join the family in front of us.  This wouldn’t have been a big deal expect they also hauled their full-sized suitcase over the barrier, too.  I know I made a face, because it was so weird to bring that big and heavy of a suitcase into a non-airport security line.  The man saw me and said, “It’s not a big deal.” I just rolled my eyes, while DH uttered a sarcastic, “Really?” And wouldn’t you know it- they caused a delay.  First, one of the ladies had a full GLASS water bottle in her purse, which she then tried to CHUG while the security guard looked through the suitcase.  A suitcase which wound up containing a KNIFE.  Not a store-purchased and sealed knife, but a regular, loose, pocketknife.  After a bit of annoyed fighting amongst the family members, it was agreed that the man who had come late with the suitcase would walk it back to the hotel and return later.  The lady wound up angrily throwing her glass bottle away.  As the man struggled to get the suitcase back over the barrier to leave, and made a frustrated noise, I swear I heard DH say, “It’s not a big deal.” 🙂

We smoothly, and smugly, breezed through the security point and past the rest of the man’s family who were waiting off the to side.  Now we were practically under the wrought-iron monument.

dh eiffel

DH with a cool shot.

We saw several waiting areas, including one really long line.  DS nervously asked if we had to wait in it.  He was still traumatized from Heathrow.  I happily said, “Non!” We thought we could see where we needed to go, but asked a couple of guards to be sure.  They pointed us in the right direction, and we got into a holding area which was practically empty.  After scanning our tickets, we entered an elevator lobby.  It was a lot more crowded here.  And after waiting for a bit, the elevator we boarded was even more crowded.  DS was totally shocked at first at the elevator going up DIAGONALLY.  I was a bit shocked as well- I had forgotten about that.  But it was fun!

We reached the 2nd floor, which according to the official website, was 116 meters, or 380 feet up.  Pretty darn high!  Nice views all around.

vero eiffel

DD took DH’s shot-from-below idea and we got this picture with the selfie stick.

dd eiffel

Fun!  But after we walked around for a bit, DH said, “Who’s ready for the top floor?” The kids were like, “Yeah!” and I was like, “Ay.” I once again became quite nervous.  But, ever mindful of getting my money’s worth, we once again got in line to crowd into an elevator.  We emerged on the top floor- a whopping 276 meter, or 905 feet!  The inside of top floor was interesting, with architectural drawings as wallpaper, and comparisons between the Eiffel Tower and other tall structures around the world.

ds eiffel

He loves math, so these images were of great interest to him.

Unfortunately, as you can see in the pictures, the day was overcast, and so it was quite foggy up here.  DS and I ventured out to the viewing area briefly, but went back inside.  DH and DD were super into it and stayed out longer, but since the visibility was limited, they soon came back inside.  We decided to go back to the 2nd floor.  DH and DS headed to the restrooms, while DD and I hit the gift shop.  I got a cute dessert tray, and DD got a pen in the shape of a baguette!  We picked up some chocolate Euros for our friend in Sevilla (more on the meaning of that later).  After a quick restroom stop of my own, we headed back down to earth.

We took a quick stop at the base of the Tower to have a hot chocolate and people-watch.  I had walked the perimeter of the 2nd floor and not seen what I was looking for: the Olympic Rings supposedly erected near the Tower to celebrate Paris being chosen to host the Games in 2024.  I LOVE the Olympics, and even took a few classes about them in college.  From this legend.  I had seen this image before the trip and wanted to get a photo there.

paris rings

This by the Jardins du Trocadéro.  I struck out, though.  I asked the hot chocolate guy where the Rings were, and he informed me that they were just temporary and had been taken down.  I’m sure they’ll put them back up before/during the Games, but that’s still 5 years away.  Oh, well. I had an Olympic moment to look forward to in Spain later on…

As far as DD was concerned, we had not “done” Paris until she had a picture of herself dancing in the same plaza the Rings are shown in above.  We crossed the Pont d’Iéna and made our way up the gardens.  We got a few shots in the gardens, including this gem:

vero eiffel2.jpg

Plus, DD got her shot and this one as well.

eiffel

A word here about the Gilets jaunes, or “Yellow Vest” protests which were going on during our trip, and are in fact, still in the news now.  We had been seeing updates on the nightly news, and some of the riots were serious, with cars on fire and such.  Up near the Plaza, a large gathering of people were on the stairs and seemed to be chanting something.  We saw/heard them while in the garden area, and at first, said that we would not go up to the top area, nervous that it might be a Yellow Vest event.  Well, didn’t we feel silly when just a few minutes after the chanting began, some Latin music began to play.  They were gearing up to do a Zumba-like flash mob!  Whatever it was, it was indeed over in flash.  We went ahead up, and no one was around.  DH and I vowed to still be vigilant, as we were always in tourist/commercial areas.

After bidding goodbye to the Tower, we hopped on the Metro to the Champs-Élysées.  We did not have shopping on our minds, though.  We wanted to see the Arc de Triomphe and get something to eat.  As we walked along for what felt like ever, DH and I had a hushed conversation about where to eat.  We decided to splurge on… McDonald’s.  Yes, we bypassed all the frou-frou French bistros and headed to the good old Golden Arches.  It was pretty full, but as usual DD found us a table, and I made a beeline for the bathroom.  On the way back, DH snapped this picture.

vero smurfs

Short in any language.

The food was…not the same.  But also not bad.  It fulfilled its need, and we headed back out towards the Arc.  I had already decided we were not going to cross the roundabout, but we couldn’t even if we wanted to.  The area was closed off and full of news vans.  We settled for a quick pic.

dh arc

You can see the barrier with a news van parked behind it here.

And then we headed to the Metro.  At a transfer point, we hit a gift shop.  DH finally found a shirt he liked, and DD picked up a bunch of keychains for her friends.  Arrived at the hotel a little while later, and made sure to hit the restrooms before going back out to the airport hotel.

We were at the ibis Styles Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport Hotel, not to be confused with the Hotel ibis Paris CDG Airport.  They are similarly named, and right next to each other.  Now, I had read the online reviews about the hotel, which mentioned the “odd” space and Star Trek/Wars theming.  So I was curious about what we would see.  This time, we took the Metro and transferred to the RER B, a regional line that was included in our Navigo passes.  These passes were a great decision and we had squeezed every last drop of use out of them.  They expired at 11:59a on Sunday the 30th, and we last used them at about 7p on that day.  Nice.

Arriving at the airport, we walked through a small part of the terminal, but couldn’t follow the directions the hotel had emailed me due to some construction.  Luckily, the detour took us past a large Marks & Spencer Food Shop, where we would later buy dinner.  We first went to the wrong hotel, of course.  Just crossed the street to the correct one and easily checked in.  This is where we encountered Mr. Spock in the elevator, and a huge image of the surface of the moon behind the beds.  We once again had a suite, with a connecting door between the 2 rooms, and 2 bathrooms.  After settling in, DD and I left the boys to entertain themselves while we went shopping for dinner.  This M&S shop was great- all kinds of convenient fresh and frozen foods.  Everyone got a dinner entree, and I even found the Roast Beef-flavored crisps DH had missed in London.  I bought a huge carrier bag for 15p which folded up nicely and came in handy for the rest of the trip.  A few minutes later, and after seeing more Star Trek-themed touches in the lobby, we were back in the room and eating.  I set up the (early!) alarms and stuck the flight confirmation stuff into my day bag.  We settled down for our last night in Paris- France had been great, but we had a homecoming in Seville to attend 🙂


One response to “Europalooza Trip Report Part 9: Paris touring, Eiffel Tower & Mr. Spock in the elevator

  1. Gina says:

    Love it✈️✈️✈️ Can’t wait for Sevilla💃🏼💃🏼💃🏼

    Like

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