The second day in Paris we walked to the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triumph. To be fashionably woogie-ish we had lunch on Champs de Elise (Of course now I say it “shan-say leee-zay” because I’m learning French finally and I’m sophisticated like that. My old stupid American self said it just like it’s spelled.) The Champs de Elise was fun and interesting but just as the guidebooks warned, the population is made up of mostly tourists. The stores are very similar to the ones we have in the big fancy mall at home. Except they are on French steroids of course. Everyone speaks English.
We stopped in one store I’d never seen before. A gourmet food and chocolate store called Faschon. It’s like a William Sonoma with a fantastic offering of fine chocolates, and cookies that go with tea. Everything is wrapped up in the most amazing packaging. I bought a box of cookies for 10 euros just because I like the pink tin they come in. I’m in love with the packaging. Maybe I should move to Paris and become a package designer. I find myself thinking about moving to Paris at least once a day.
After a lunch of salad with corn, chicken and green beans (right out of a can), we took in the view from the top of the Arc de Triumph and headed over to the Eiffel Tour. You know how much I love the Eiffel Tower? You know how it symbolizes Paris and it is oh-so-romantic and all that? Well, I fell out of love with the Eiffel Tower. I still think of it fondly but our relationship is on the rocks.
It’s a very impressive structure and the gardens and the public areas around it are beautiful. Everywhere you look the lawns are full of people lounging the day away. There are skate boarders flying off ramps and jumping over poles, there are children playing in the public fountains, there are lovers kissing and roller bladers holding hands… I could stay all day just watching people. It’s the waiting in line in the sun with five zillion other tourists that I could do without. So with just a tiny tinge of regret I’m adding the Eiffel Tower to my list of monuments I’ve seen but was too wimpy to go to the top of.
It’s just the crowds, and the heat and smelliness of bodies cramming all together in small spaces. We waited in a line for an hour or so, crammed onto a elevator (which would be fun if I could make myself to the edge and look out but of course I was stuck in the middle hanging onto the bar overhead for dear life) rode up to the second level (they advised us to skip the top since the wait was twice as long and the sky hazy), walked around and saw the view (which was impressive but no more so than the top of the Arc de Triumph) and then rode back down again.
I prefer the Eiffel Tower in the Paris skyline better than I do up close.