After all this time in France we finally made it to the Eiffel Tower. Today was all about a speed trip through the city to hit the biggest tourist attractions – Eiffel, Notre Dame, the Arch de Triomph and Champs D’Ellyse. All sites brought to us by the special walking tours of Rick Steves. And speaking of Rick Steves – I wrote to him a couple of weeks back to give him a tip on the deal we got on the Barcelona Picasso museum – someone wrote me back! They are going to pass on my information to the research department AND to Rick Steves himself. I have a feeling this could just turn into something awesome between me and Rick. I mean, me and my family and Rick.
We started our day about Paris at Notre Dame. It is a gorgeous gothic church from the outside. From the inside — we’ve seen better. Even the children were in agreement, after the Sagrada Familia, it is going to take something incredibly awesome to impress us. I’ll admit my view of Notre Dame was a bit tarnished by the fact that one of the ladies from the inappropriate “art” showcased in yesterday’s blog – is buried there. I don’t now if it is the nude lady on the right or the left – but I’m guessing she bought her way in.
We visited the WWII Deportation memorial at the tip of Ilse do Cite. It is interesting that it is not the Holocaust memorial. Like all remembrance memorials from this time it is solemn and packed with symbolism. It is hidden away but worth the effort to find.
We strolled through the Latin Quarter where the children took lots of pictures of themselves and shopped for postcards and scarves. We also noticed a number of teenagers in all black with colorful ties speaking English. Anne engaged them and found they were a high school choir from Michigan – fellow Midwesterners!
Our tour ended at the other end of the island in a quaint little park. It was sprouting with color and even had empty benches and grass for all of us to take some time and relax. It is a hidden place near where some dinner cruises park – it’s a great resting point to seek out if you are walking the city during the day. We also found a plaque to Jacque de Molay which is better explained by Brent if you click here.
Anne and Scarlet met some US tourists on their way out of France who gave them extra metro tickets. We used these to head to the Eiffel tower and then to the Arc of Triumph. I had a learning moment, I’ve been referring to it as the ARCH of triumph. I still think that is what they should call it. According to the signs posted around there was a ceremony at 5:45. There were many uniformed military members in formation preparing to do something wonderful. We stuck around to watch the pageantry but then finally got tired of waiting. And we got tired of being told to move out of the way. If you are going to have a ceremony at a huge tourist spot – you should really do a better job of crowd control before hand. Some guys bowing a whistle and yelling “<loud French>” is not proper planning.
We strolled down the Champs d’Elysse and listened to Anne sing some song from her high school French class a half dozen times. It would have been nice to see the Eiffel all lit up in the evening but after a day of walking we were all just happy to have a place to sit and visit in the apartment.