Today was a big day of walking. We went along the river Seine making our way towards the Eiffel Tower. There are some really nice bridges crossing the river the whole way along and some amazing buildings built along the banks.
Buildings along the Seine.
Paris Apartment s on the Seine.
We took our time wandering along marveling at the architecture of the buildings as we passed by. We ended up down at Hotel Invalids. This is a massive building that had been built initially to act as a hospital for any soldiers wounded in battle. It is now a large war museum that has Nepolean’s tomb within. We hadn’t planned on going inside however we took a quick look around and checked the opening times incase we wanted to come back to it.
Moving along further we were now almost at the Eiffel Tower. It was another great day with sunshine and blue sky’s so we decided to grab some lunch and eat it in the grounds around the tower. We all ended up with a baguette each – Neil thought he was ordering a chicken 1 but it was snails and by the time he realized it was too late. He just ran with it and said it tasted pretty good.
We eat with the tower looming over us. You can see why some people don’t like it – apparently it was almost pulled down not long after it was erected, however non of us seemed to mind it. I guess it is such an icon of Paris now that most tourists are pretty happy to see it for the first time – and it apparently looks spectacular at night when it is all lit up.
Us standing in the gardens after lunch.
We walked to the bottom of the tower after eating to find again, huge amounts of people and massive cues. It turns out that only 1 of the lifts were operating, the others out of action due to maintenance. Tina has been up a few times before and Lea is not great with heights. Shaun and Neil weren’t keen on taking the lifts anyway so jumped in the much shorter line to take the stairs.
We waited in line for only about 20 minutes before starting the climb to the 1st level. Once on the platform we got a great view out over the city and began to get an idea of the size of Paris. We picked out a few of the major building we could recognize, took some photos then kept climbing to the 2nd level.
Looking out over the gardens from level 1.
The 2nd level had a platform that runs around all 4 sides and we got some great views and photos from here. There is also a restaurant which would be spectacular to eat at after dark.
The gardens from level 2.
Montmartre and Sacre Coeur.
We checked out the lines for the lift to the top and they were again ridiculously long so opted against going all the way up. The views we got from the second level were great and after having a good look around – even picking out Tina and Lea down on the ground we made our way back to the bottom.
Another view from level 2 – Trocadero.
Lift shaft in one of the legs.
We met back up with the girls and continued back across the river and on to another large building and garden area called Trocadero. There were, again people everywhere. Some street dancers and other performers had attracted large crowds, cheering them on and there were good views out across the esplanade back towards the Eiffel Tower.
Looking back at the Eiffel Tower.
From here we made our way towards the Arc De Triomphe. Having a look around here we then started walking back towards our end of town along Champs Elysees. This is where a lot of the fashion shops are near which had Tina wired looking in every window.
Arc De Triomphe.
Paris looks amazing at night, so earlier in the day we had booked a night cruise along the Seine. It didn’t start until 9:30 so we planned to have dinner first. After all our walking we were all getting really tired so we ended up getting a taxi back to near where we had to board the boat for the cruise.
After having a quick bite to eat at another very nice traditional French café, we walked to the dock for our cruise. We got some great seats up on the top deck in the open air section and could see both sides of the river really good. Taking off towards the Eiffel tower, an English tour guide gave us information as we cruised along.
Eiffel Tower at night.
We could see the Eiffel Tower emerging, all lights blazing as we got further along the Seine, we rounded a bend and there it was. A very impressive sight.
At the start of every hour there is an additional light show, where they flash and look like lights are running up and down the tower for about 5 minutes – we saw it just as it was ending.
The boat turned around in front of the tower and we headed back up the other way. As we turned there were a few drops of rain beginning to fall, then kind of misty rain. We had umbrellas so we toughed it out as the guide stood there and kept talking about the different buildings and bridges we passed by.
Hiding from the rain.
Then the sky opened up and it really began to rain, we all made a dash for it down stairs to get under cover and continued the cruise. The view was not as good from down here but we still got a great look at the lights of Paris from the Seine.
As luck would have it just as we got back to the dock and it stopped raining. Oh well it was very worth while doing anyway – being quite late we called it a night and all walked home in the non rain.