and past the awe-inspiring cathedral of Notre Dame.
And finally looped back to the Eiffel Tower. It was only a short distance away but, since it was cold and misty, our tour guide had arranged for our bus to take us that short jaunt and none of us were complaining about it! Our group trooped right onto one of the elevators, bypassing the dozens of people who were standing in line for tickets and one of the first things we noticed was this sign.
We were warned time and again during our trip about pickpockets but, apparently, they are very bad around the Eiffel Tower. We were very aware and my husband never carried his wallet but left it in the safe in our stateroom or hotel rooms. I had a small shoulder bag which I wore under my coat and we never had any problems. We didn’t carry much cash and we had the phone # of our credit card in an email we had sent ourselves, just in case we needed to contact them. We had also contacted our credit card company before we left the United States to let them know we would be making charges in Europe. At least one of our friends had not done this and found her card denied at the ATM. The thing that most amazed us about the Eiffel Tower (and also the Arc de Triomphe, as I have mentioned) was how absolutely HUGE they are. You just don’t get the full perspective when you see these monuments on TV or in a movie. When you see them in person, you are truly amazed. See those tiny little people? See what I mean?
The netting on the Tower is because they were in the process of painting – something they do every few years. The elevator took us up to the 2nd level, which I thought would not be very high, but I was wrong – it is VERY high. Your ticket entitles you to go to the 2nd level, but you can choose to go higher if you want, but this was plenty high enough for us. Here’s what we could see when we looked out over Paris.
A little misty, but still incredible. We spent some time going from one side of the Eiffel Tower to the other, marveling at the incredible views and the fact that, yes, we were ON THE EIFFEL TOWER and then we realized we were freezing to death, so we went inside to get some hot chocolate.
Now, I realize that this blog veers onto the subject of food pretty often and this gives you an idea how the culinary aspect of our travel is pretty important to us. And I realize that we were cold and anything hot would have tasted good.
But, seriously. SERIOUSLY.
That was the best hot chocolate I have ever had in my life. My only regret is that we didn’t take a picture of it. No, wait. My real regret is that we opted to share one instead of getting our own and I had to SHARE it with my husband. It was real hot chocolate made with milk, not that fake stuff made with water and it had REAL whipped cream on top. Cream they actually whipped themselves. So. If you want the best hot chocolate in the WORLD, you will have to visit the Eiffel Tower.
Oh, and we also got this apple pastry that was to die for. That’s the thing about Paris – everything you eat is wonderful. We even got a chocolate/strawberry pastry at the airport that was to die for.
After a long day of touring, we were ready for our comfy hotel room, so we stopped at the grocery store in the mall across the street from the hotel to get some food to take to our room.
How I wish we had taken pictures in this grocery store. We anticipated a small store, but this was absolutely HUGE with every food item you can possibly imagine. And everything was in French. Everything. I tell you what, my college French certainly came in handy on this trip. I’m not sure what my husband would have eaten if I hadn’t been there to translate for him. We bought delicious, fresh sandwiches, cheese, fresh pastries (I had not idea what these were – I just pointed to the ones that looked fabulous. And they were) and small oranges that were tart and fresh. Then we took it all back to our room and had a little picnic. It was quite lovely. And a nice last evening in Paris.
The next day, we caught an Air France shuttle to the airport (this shuttle stops right in front of the shopping center across from Le Meridien Etoile and was very handy) where we proceeded to get off at the wrong place in the airport and had to trek approximately 4,921 miles to get to our gate, but we managed.
And then we came home.
Where there was nobody to make our beds and lay fresh chocolates on our pillows.
And I had to do laundry.
Life is so unfair.
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