Last 2 days of our 8 day trip- Paris!
We got in very late and checked into the very cool Hotel St. Louis Marais. Our room was a triple and it was a bit small, but oozed charm. The wood beamed celings, the narrow winding staircases- we loved it. There was the cutest bakery right down the street where I saved money by getting rolls every morning instead of paying $10 per head for the breakfast of american cereal, rolls and yogurt. at the hotel. I woke up early both days to get breakfast and watched the procession of really adorable kids going to a nearby school.
Day one we had quite the agenda. We headed right to Notre Dame and encountered lines! Waited for about an hour to get in. We had no regrets with the wait, it truely is a must see.
We went to a small french resteraunt for lunch, and the trouble began. I'm a fussy eater, and nothing quite appealed. So, to be safe I ordered a hamburger with no mayo. The waitress arrived with a hamburger that had some kind of sauce, and onions. I knew I was in trouble - this was an $11.50 hamburger that I was not going to eat. I took a deep breath, and told her that I was sorry, but I could not eat the hamburger . She pointed at it with a good deal of anger, and said " No mayonaisse!" I politely said, " Yes, I know and I'm sorry. I should have said plain" . She took the plate, stalked off and returned with a plain hamburger. Slamming the plate down for emphasis, she made her displeasure with me quite known to everyone. And guess what- I still could barely eat it, as it was almost raw, and I had no nerve left to ask them to cook it more. No more hamburgers in Paris.
Next the Batobus to the Louvre. The Louvre was crowded, but the lines were not as daunting. We headed right for the Mona Lisa as it seemed to be the thing to do. We stood around for several minutes gazing somberly at the Mona Lisa, which was much smaller than we thought it would be. We went to about 3 other sections, and enjoyed them all.
We headed to the Batobus to get to Champs Elysees. When we arrived at the Batobus line, it was quite long. We waited while one Batobus loaded, and 2 of the 3 of us had birds crap on us while we waited for another. When that one came, and we still couldn't get on , we decided to walk to Champs Elysees. But first I made the mistake of asking for a refund. All I can say is, don't ask for a refund in Paris.
Stolled the famous street, were awed by the Arc De Triomphe, and ate at an Italian resteraunt, again playing it safe. The only shocker there was the 5 euro soft drinks, but at least I could eat and not anger any more Parisians.
Got to the Eiffel Tower, and lines! We didn't think we would make it before it closed, so we decided to try again the next day.
By the way, this was one of the best days of my life, even with a couple confilcts. I only report the conflicts to help others .:-)
Woke up nice and early and arrived 15 minutes before the scheduled opening time for St. Chapelle. As we got in line, a woman came running out yelling " No! No! We are not open until 10 am! " I pointed at the sign that said 9:30, and she firmly shook her head and said, "10.00." We wanted to go to Versailles, so we did not wait.
Versailles. Lines again, but never mind. It is worth it.. What a stunning tribute to excess this place is. We had thought about doing Disney Paris on Day 2, because we are huge Disney fans, but I am so glad that we went to Versailles instead. Amazing.
At the station, we needed to figure out where to transfer to get the Eiffel Tower station, so I very nicely asked the ticket person what stop I needed. She tells me the station, and I can't understand her. I nicely ask again. She tells me. Can't get it. So I pull out the trusty notebook, smile, and start pushing it toward her to have her write down the stop. She throws her hands up in disgust, and calls someone who speaks english to tell me the stop. Still can't get it. So the girls and I studied the map and finally figure it out.
We arrive at the Eiffel Tower, where the lines are much shorter than the night before. After waiting about an hour, we were on our way. We get to the middle section, and were greeted by the coldest , windiest conditions ever. Stunning views, but winter conditions. After debating whether to go all the way to the top, we decided that we might regret it later if we don't go all the way. Freeze our tushies off for another half an hour while waiting to take the lift to the top. Get there, look around , congratulate each other on our bravery, and get back in line to go down. I don't think I have - ever - been- this -cold.
The experience of going to the top of the Eiffel Tower when it is cold is one that I have decided is much like childbirth, while you are doing it there is no escape, and you say " I will never do this $#@^&%!!! again! This is $%#^%$ ridiculous! I hate whoever's idea this was! ".
Then when it is over, you kind of gradually forget how uncomfortable you were, and just remember the reward. My freezing ascent to the top of the Eiffel Tower is now a sort of triumph, we conquered it, and it seemed a fitting way to end an interesting and sometimes challenging two days in Paris.
By the way, I would visit Paris again. We loved Paris, sometimes it didn't love us, but there is still much to explore there for me.