France Travels

Paris: The Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe

May 10, 2018

Greetings from the Orly airport! Here I am waiting to board my flight. In other words, this is a perfect moment to tell a bit about my past three days in Paris. I feel both happy and exhausted at the same time. These three days have been full from dawn to dusk with sightseeing, tens of thousands of steps, blisters and warm weather when the sun decided to bless Paris with +28 degrees. In my previous post I was planning what I want to experience in Paris. I already got some comments that my bucket list was too ambitious, and yes, I had to skip one or two destinations. I wanted to walk to and back from most destinations, and it took surprisingly long time (yes, Paris is a huge city). And since this was my holiday after all, I wanted to leave some time for relaxing (and I opted to have an early night with the Eurovision song contest, haha). Anyway, I managed to see something!

The Eiffel Tower

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I arrived Paris early, and at check-in, I heard that I have to wait at least two hours before my room would be ready. That was no worries, and I decided to use the time visiting the most iconic monument in the world. Luckily, my hotel was located just 800 meters from the Eiffel Tower so it did not take me long to see the tower raising from the horizon. The Eiffel Tower was built in 1889 for the Paris World Fair, and for forty years it kept the title of the tallest building in the world. Many Parisians hated the tower, and it was going to be taken down in 1909. However, they decided to leave it because it served so well as a transmitter. And luckily they did, because the tower is now the world’s most visited paid-for monument!

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The tower is surrounded by a park and a fence so one cannot touch the tower without getting through a security control. There are also two restaurants in tower: on the lower deck they have a more casual restaurant, while the fancier one is located higher up. If you have reservation to either of them, you can skip the lines that can easily be one or two hours long. I didn’t feel like waiting and queuing to get up to the tower and was happy just to sit at the park and enjoy my lunch while watching the Eiffel. Sunday was a perfect day for this. There were several Parisian families and groups of friends with their blankets, baguettes and strawberry boxes enjoying the views and the sun. The Eiffel Tower was beautiful during the day, but don’t forget to make another visit after the sunset.  Every hour staggering 20 000 light bulbs in the tower are lit to make the Eiffel to sparkle!

Arc de Triomphe

Another famous monument in Paris is the Arc de Triomphe. It was built in 1806 and it is located at the centre of Charles de Gaulle, a juncture that has twelve radiating avenues, the most famous one being the luxury street Champs-Élysées. I could not ever see me driving on something that is probably the world’s most terrifying roundabout. Every first Sunday of the month Champs-Élysées is closed for cars, so people can walk freely on the street, kids can play and cycle safely and street artists can perform their acts without any traffic noise.

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I am not a big fan of shopping, but I did browse a bit the clothing selections. If you like shopping and fashion, Champs-Élysées is probably your heaven on earth. There you can find famous French and Italian luxury brands along with big market labels like Zara and H&M. My luxury is something I can eat so I wanted to test Ladurée’s iconic macarons when I finally had the chance. Yes, they were good, but I am not quite sure what the hype is all about.

On Champs-Élysées, like everywhere in Paris, security measures are very strict. I had to go through a bag search just to get to the street. In order to get into some stores, like to Vuitton, you had to go through a metal detector. This is one thing to be prepared for while in Paris. You are not queuing only to buy tickets  to some attractions but also to get through security controls. Also my passport was checked twice at the airport (normally they don’t even want to see my passport when I travel from one EU country to another). Despite, or maybe thanks to, all the security measures, the atmosphere was very safe and peaceful.

That was my first day in Paris. On the next day I headed to see the world’s most famous smile. More on my next post!

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