Remember a few weeks ago when I wrote in my Paris travel plans that I wanted to climb the steps to the top of the Eiffel Tower?
I would have liked to do this, but when we got there early in the morning on our last day in Paris, it was wet and rainy. We were told to take the elevator because the steps were slippery.
It was not crowded and we were whisked to the elevator as soon as we handed over our tickets at the gate.
Besides not being crowded, we were also lucky that the rain had stopped.
The elevator is huge and goes up on an angle that feels odd, but it is a very smooth ride with a view that gets better and better as you go higher. We needed to take 2 elevators to get to the uppermost viewing deck.
If you would like to see the elevator ride up in action. Check out my Instagram Story. It is also in my Paris highlights on Instagram.
Even with overcast skies, the view looking down on Paris was clear and we could see out past the city limits. See the Arc de Triomphe in the distance? That is at the end of the Champs Des Elysees.
When you are up on top of the tower, you can walk all around it to take in the city in all directions. There are also 3 different levels. This view was the from the upper level looking northwest.
This view is from the lower level looking at a residential area of the city.
Paris is basically flat, except for the incline up to Montmartre which is a large hill in Paris’s 18th arrondissement. You can see it in the distance. It is where Sacre-Coeur is located. It is also where Ed and I headed next after we took the elevator ride back down to the street.
It was pretty wet up on the tower. While up there, I was right in front of a teenager who slipped and fell flat on her back. So it was a smart move to take the elevator. Even though I missed getting to climb the stairs, I made up for it the rest of the day…
…going up and down many steps and walking 11 miles for the day.
Walking allowed us to see so many different areas. I liked seeing the charming well-kept flowers…
Parisian storefronts and…
… and all the cafes. They are on every corner and each one seems to be more chic than the previous one.
Once we were getting close to Montmartre, the hilly incline started and didn’t stop until we reached the very top where the Sacré-Cœur Basilica is.
We walked along many narrow cobblestone streets where artists had their paintings out on display for sale.
This area of the city, at least while we were there, was by far the most touristy.
It look a while to walk all the way up, but once there we went into the basilica for a short tour and then sat on the steps out in the front for awhile and people watched.
It was crowded and getting later in the day, so we started walking back down and heading in the direction to the Left Bank of the city.
In front of the basilica are a few sections of fencing that are covered in Love Locks. For years, visitors have been attaching locks with sentimental messages to the fence in symbolic acts of affection and romance. This is only one section; there were many more. Our guide from the day before told us a funny story about the love locks. The theme is to close the lock, then throw away the key, symbolizing eternal love. Sometimes you see combination locks; perhaps the person is hedging their bets?
Going down was a little harder to navigate as we had to watch our steps, but at the same time, not miss the view as we descended.
As you can see from this photo and a few others that I have been posting, Paris is a pastel city. Most of the buildings are light in color, with shades of neutrals, tans, and peach. Even though it is a city and there are dirty buildings, overall it is a pretty city with so much eye-pleasing architecture.
Once we got down to the street level, it was hard deciding which way to go. Every street looked more charming and interesting than the next.
We followed Google Maps on our phone to help us navigate the city, but most of the time, when we saw a street that looked intriguing, we just went that way knowing the GPS on the phone would get us back in the direction we were headed.
We passed a few more Metro stations. I was expecting to see more of this Art Nouveau style but this signage was the only one we passed.
These stations were designed by French architect Hector Guimard at the turn of the 20th century. The avant-garde entryways have symbolized the city’s Golden Age of art and architecture for over a century.
Before heading back over to the Left Bank of the Seine, we decided to head west to see one more tourist destination.
I wanted to walk along the colonnade at the Palais Royal which was in one scene in the movie Charade, with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. As we got close, we found it was blocked off for Fashion Week. We saw a few areas around the city being set up for Fashion Week events. Some were pretty elaborate.
So instead of getting to check that off my site-seeing “to-do” list, we headed…
…to the Place Vendôme. It is a square in the 1st arrondissement, located to the north of the Tuileries Gardens where we had been the previous day in the rain.
It is also where The Ritz hotel is located.
I was expecting something grander, but the entrance was understated. I am sure the inside is pretty grand. :-)
Once we walked around the square, we headed back to our hotel and then took an Uber to the start of the second part of our 11-day trip.
A moving hotel on the Seine. The second part of our trip was an 8-day Viking River Cruise that started at Le Pec – a suburb outside of Paris. Our cruise was headed to Normandy and then back to Paris.
Ed and I have been on a few ocean cruises aboard big ships. This was our first time taking a river cruise on what is called a Longship.
We had a fabulous time, made new friends, business contacts for Ed, and saw many charming towns all the way up to the beaches of Normandy where the Allies landed during WWII.
Stay tuned as I continue to share more about this part of our trip along the Seine on a Viking Cruise.
If you look down on the water from where I am standing at the ruins of Chateau Gaillard, you can see the ship docked along the town of Les Andelyes. Ed and I walked up the hill, but it was the most we walked on this part of the trip. The ship or a tour bus took us everywhere we went. More soon…
If you missed my first two Paris posts. You can find them here: