Europe 3: Paris 2!

How’s that for a confusing title 🙂

On our second day in Paris, my mom and I had two goals– go to the top of the Eiffel Tower & also to the top of Le Sacre Coeur.  Beyond that, we were open to anything, since we had seen most of the sites we wanted to see the day before.

After a wrong trip on the metro (oops!) we ended up in the line to the top at about 10:30AM.  While this was just one hour after opening, it was already PACKED!  I was completely shocked because the last time I had been to Paris (2005 or 2006?), there had been far less tourists.  I’m talking maybe 1/4 of the tourists that were now all over the city.  It was crazy, especially considering that during my first, prior trip, we had visited during the peak of tourist season and this time, my mom and I were going right before it started….yet there were 4x the tourists!  Had I known this, I would have definitely booked my Eiffel Tower tickets in advance, but since I expected to just stroll up for my tickets like I had in 2006, I was caught off guard.

I feel like we waited in line for hoursssss but it was probably only a single hour.  Still, it was cold & windy & at one point, started drizzling a bit.

While I pouted in my hoodie, my mom struggled for like 15 minutes, trying to get her umbrella opened.  Neither of us could figure it out!  We were laughing so hard as everyone around us opened umbrellas, and we couldn’t for the life of ourselves figure out our own.  Like really, how hard can it be to open a darn umbrella!?  Very hard.  I started individually prying open each wire of the umbrella, while my mom just kept shoving up from the bottom.  Eventually….we realized that the problem was that we’ve lived in Arizona too long and don’t know how to open manual umbrellas, like the one she had boughten.  Apparently you just have to push up super hard and it’ll open?  Whatever, I’m only buying automatic umbrellas for the rest of my life, after the experience.  I mean the least the manufacturer could have done is provide instructions!  There were none on the little “Made in China” tag– we checked.

Finally, we got to the front of the line to buy our tickets & climb the stairs to the top!  (My preferred method.  The elevators look scary & aren’t good exercise!)  My mom is nervous of heights so I’m not sure she enjoyed it as much as I did though hehe 🙂   (Correction:  My mom got to the front of the line & waited for me to return from an epically long excursion to the bathroom near the Tower.  Sorry again, Mom!)

Once at the top, we of course loved the views.  Not to mention our luck that just as we got there, the clouds began to clear out, revealing beautiful weather!!

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Cloudy :( .....
Cloudy 😦 …..
Not cloudy!!!!
Not cloudy!!!!
Close up of the Ecoile Militaire
Close up of the Ecoile Militaire
Looking northeast toward Le Sacre Coeur
Looking northeast toward Le Sacre Coeur
Close up of the Sacre Coeur
Close up of the Sacre Coeur
Looking northwest
Looking northwest
Looking toward Arc de Triomphe
Looking toward Arc de Triomphe
Close up of Arc de Triomphe!  (Look at how little the people are!)
Close up of Arc de Triomphe! (Look at how little the people are!)

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Close up of Notre Dame Cathedral
Close up of Notre Dame Cathedral
I like the shadow of the tower on the ground :)
I like the shadow of the tower on the ground 🙂

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More views toward the northeast (more east)
More views toward the northeast (more east)

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After spending a long time at the top, we finally got down to the bottom.  After an ice cream cone snack, we headed on the metro to Le Sacre Coeur.  On the way, we stopped for a few more pics where our hair looked somewhat brushed, compared to the pics we took on day one 🙂

Re-doing a pic I took when I was 16!  (Mom again had to spend 20 minutes trying to get this right.  Because of her knees & the fact she couldn't like kneel, she tried to squat but fell over and head to lean against a little landscaping fence, sitting like a rapper or a basketball player in a Nike photoshoot.  Then she couldn't get up hahahaha.)
Re-doing a pic I took when I was 16! (Mom again had to spend 20 minutes trying to get this right. Because of her knees & the fact she couldn’t like kneel, she tried to squat but fell over and head to lean against a little landscaping fence, sitting like a rapper or a basketball player in a Nike photoshoot. Then she couldn’t get up hahahaha.)

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I mentioned in my previous blog that Paris was the only place on our itinerary that I had previously visited.  While I had initially only wanted to see places I hadn’t already been to, I was excited to go to Paris again because I hadn’t gotten the opportunity to climb to the top of Le Sacre Coeur on my previous trip, and that is something I’ve always wanted to do!  (My brother snapped a quick picture of me in front of it, but due to time, that was the extent of my visit.)  Ever since I saw my first picture of Le Sacre Coeur (The Sacred Heart Basilica, a Catholic church), I have referred to it as “the French Taj Mahal.”  I’ve always been intrigued by its architecture– so different from the rest of Paris–, its prime location above a hill overlooking the rest of the city (including the Eiffel Tower), and the neighborhood it serves as the centerpoint of, Montmartre.  I was stoked to finally get to the top and go inside!!

Up, up, up, we climbed the 300+ stairs leading to the entrance to the Basilica and then we went inside!  I was both super thrilled and super impressed, as the inside was even prettier than I imagined.  I also enjoyed the view, but was bummed that stupid bushes were blocking my view of the Eiffel Tower!  Oh well.

Re-doing another pic I took when I was 16!
Re-doing another pic I took when I was 16!
Steps steps steps
Steps steps steps
Unfortunately they did not allow pictures inside :(
Unfortunately they did not allow pictures inside 😦
Mom & I at my favorite building in Paris!
Mom & I at my favorite building in Paris!

Afterward, we headed back down toward the Seine River, visiting the Palais de Justice, L’Opera, and National Library (where parts of “The Da Vinci Code” were filmed), before stopping for lunch at a cute cafe.  (More eggs for me woo!)

Palais de Justice
Palais de Justice
Random street :)
Random street 🙂
Lunch!
Lunch!
L'Opera
L’Opera

Then we went inside Paris’s largest department store, Galleries Lafayette, which is gorgeous!  Liberty in London used to be my most favorite department store, but now Galleries Lafayette wins hands down.

Main atrium of Galleries Lafayette
Main atrium of Galleries Lafayette

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After our wandering/shopping, we had just enough time to take some more pics at Pont Neuf on the Seine, before it was time to head back to the hotel for our bags & to the train station for our overnight train to Nice

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It was a bit windy ha
It was a bit windy ha

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While Paris was a wonderful time, I did have one huge regret– my mom never got to see Paris at night 😦 I tear up just thinking about how disappointed I was that I didn’t give her that experience.  The first night we were exhausted & couldn’t stay up late enough for it to get dark.  The second night, I was thinking our train was at 10:40PM (which was the time of our Zurich –> Vienna train later on in the trip), but it was truly 9:40PM.  Sunset wasn’t until about 9:15PM and the Eiffel Tower (the best at-night site, in my opinion) was too far away 😦  If I try to be positive….I guess that just gives her a reason to go back!

We made it to the overnight train just in time and got into our first-class four-person cabin with a hot Frenchman from Tolouse and a younger girl from Korea.  Then we were off for the next leg of our adventure!

My mom, America's lightest sleeper, was literally a dead zombie on the train ride.  She kept snoring & the Frenchman was looking down & I kept making it obvious I was awake, so he would know it was my mom snoring not me hehe :) No matter how much her body like lugged and rolled around on her bed as the train lurched along (it was super bumpy for some reason), her snoring never stopped!  She's going to get mad at me for telling that story, but she was laughing about it on the trip!
My mom, America’s lightest sleeper, was literally a dead zombie on the train ride. She kept snoring & the Frenchman was looking down & I kept making it obvious I was awake, so he would know it was my mom snoring not me hehe 🙂 No matter how much her body like lugged and rolled around on her bed as the train lurched along (it was super bumpy for some reason), her snoring never stopped! I swear her body would whack up against the side of the train & I would assume she’d wake up….but nope she kept snoozin’.  She’s going to get mad at me for telling that story, but she was laughing about it on the trip!
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