Eiffel Tower at sunset
The Eiffel Tower. I had to see it. I hopped a train to Paris and found myself surrounded by French speaking people. I knew about three words of French, but I was pretty excited when the little boy next to me said he wanted a "fromage" sandwhich. That means cheese! Maybe I know four words!
When I arrived in the train station, I had absolutely no idea where I was going, so I followed the crowd. I ended up buying a metro pass and found my way out to a hostel. The first one I tried was full, but they sent me on to another one that had room. So I was a bit turned around. I found my way back to the metro and headed off to see the Eiffel Tower.
Eiffel Tower - view as I emerged from the metro
I was pretty confident in my ability to read maps and was quite pleased to find myself getting off at the right stop. As I emerged from the stop, I was greeted with this lovely view of the Eiffel Tower with a brilliant blue sky. I found it! But much to my dismay, the lines for both the stairs and elevators were incredibly long. Granted I was there in late afternoon and everywhere I've read said to be there early. I decided to wait until the next day to climb the stairs to the tower. So I milled around a little bit, then decided to walk to the Arc de Triomphe. It didn't look too far away.
I crossed a bridge and headed in the general direction I thought it was. I didn't want to stand out as a tourist too much, so I wasn't walking and reading my map.
Little kids playing on the lights illuminating the Arc
And if I did look like a tourist, I was trying to pass as a German tourist, not American. I wandered for about half a mile and found myself right out on the Champs d'Elysees. I'm not sure I spelled that right, and I know I can't pronounce it right! I deliberately paused during the red light in the middle of the road so I could get a nice shot of the Arc de Triomphe and the ferris wheel down the road. Again, when I got there, the line was too long to go up on top, and I hate waiting in lines, so I just wandered around the base of the monument. As it was near sunset, the lights began shining on the monument. And while that made the monument nice to look at, the highlight was watching the little children play on the lights! The lights were flush with the ground, with sheets of glass over them, and the kids would jump around over the lights.
Champs de Elysees
It was so cute!
I decided to head over to the ferris wheel via the famous Champs d'Elysees. I passed many expensive stores that I couldn't even afford to walk in through the doors! I didn't know much about Paris coming into the city, I generally heard that it was a dirty city and people didn't like Americans. I found the parts that I visited were not only clean, but beautiful! I had no idea the architecture was so beautiful there! I enjoyed my walk more to look at the buildings, than what was inside them.
I made it down to the Place d'Concord, probably called something else - I'm relying on my memory here. By now it was about 6 pm and the Eiffel tower was lit up for the night, and also has flashing lights on the hour, making it sparkle.
Love this shot - fountain and ferris wheel at Concord
The walk down there was a bit longer than I thought, maybe close to 2 or 3 miles, so all I wanted to do was sit and enjoy the sights. I saw the obelisk, a fountain, the ferris wheel and a statue of a horse. Again, being ignorant, I had no idea what any of it meant. The obelisk had heiroglyphics, suggesting it was from Egypt. I didn't look at the statue much, but I loved the fountain. As it was winter, there was no water in it, and as it was night, it was dark, but still beautiful. I love the shot of the fountain with the ferris wheel in the back.
I decided I walked enough today, and didn't know the area I would be walking through to get home. I figured it wasn't very safe, so I took the metro home. Ah, home at last, I thought as I emerged from underground.
Tower lights up - very sparkly - on the hour. It is 6 pm.
Now how do I get home? I looked around. Nothing looked familiar. And there were 6 streets converging at my stop. Which one takes me home? I have no idea. I walked down a couple of them, as far as I thought I remembered walking, but no luck. I turned around. Hmmm. I'll stop for a bite to eat and study my map again. So after a quick sandwhich and a map session, I finally found my hostel on the third road I tried. I should have paid more attention on how to get home!