Friday, 8 April 2016

The Towers of Paris - Day 17

Weather was odd today, there seemed to be a few rain clouds just doing laps around Paris, it could be sunny and then the rain would roll in then pass in another 20 minutes. A couple of times throughout the day we got wet then warmed up again. Of course I got my coffee before we did anything else

We got a train from our closest metro station at Anvers and then changed at Charles de Gaulle Etoile station on the "6" line and go off at Bir-Hakiem station which is only a short stroll to the tower (and passes the Australian embassy). The train on the "6" line felt more like going on an amusement ride at Disneyland than a metro, and when we got off I realised why. Its not actually a train at all, but runs with rubber wheels in designated track more like a bus.

Got to the Eiffel tower, took a few pics from the ground and started looking for the entry queue. Having prepaid tickets rock, every time we thought we had to join a queue, they saw us holding our tickets and directed us around the queue to the fast entry section, before we knew it we were in the first lift going up the tower. There was a queue waiting at the half way point for the smaller lift that goes up to the summit. Thankfully there was a heated indoors section there where we could warm up after going out side. Even though it was 10c at ground level, at the top of the tower it was somewhat closer to freezing (I was really missing Italy at this point). We spent time taking pics, looking around etc then head out of the tower taking the lift down.Out of tower, starts raining instantly so I didn't manage to get a great picture of the tower from the grass will have to wait till later in the week to do that.

As its raining and cold, we look for cafe but can't find any where there is spare seating for 5 people so decide to get train to Montparnasse where we had pre-booked tickets to the 56 Montparnasse tower viewing deck. Once there we start looking around and can't find anything lunch oriented with sit down for less the €20 a person (I'm not keen on spending over $100 just on lunch). Emma want's chips, so we decide McDonalds is an option and find one 50m away. Didn't actually think I'd do McDonalds in France, but when its cold and wet and sandwiches are €15, you can change your position on food relatively quickly, and I can finally say I've had a Royale with Cheese!   (We were spoilt in Italy, great panini for round €3)

Interesting note about the McDonalds here, they have the new "design your own" just like at home, but they also run the way they used to work at home, where they just keep pre-cooking stuff and take it from a tray. So unlike at home, they could actually hand the food over seconds after placing the order. A passing hint to McDonalds at Heathcote in Sydney, I was able to place an order in English, with a person who's main language is French, and they got it 100% perfect, something that *never* happens at Heathcote.

Went to Montparnnasse tower. Really a 1970's turd of a skyscraper that is a blight on the Parisian skyline but they have recently polished (and rolled in glitter) by adding a viewing deck. Even though the building in a monstrosity, the viewing area both indoors and outdoors is actually really pleasant as your can see all of Paris, including the Eiffel tower from it, and as almost no one knows about it, its not at all crowded and we were able to have a quick afternoon tea there (including coffee, which will be detailed in tomorrows coffee report).

We got out from the tower and decided to walk down to the Luxembourg gardens, passing first through the Galeries Lafayette where Emma did some clothes shopping. Once there we head out, Emma found a cart selling churros, and as we are buying that the heavens opened and it starts pouring again, so we change our minds and headed for the metro to come back to the apartment. We exit the metro at Abbessess station. We decided to take the stairs as there was a queue for the lift, but what a silly decision that was as we didn't realise how deep underground the station actually was and it was something like 10 flights of steps to get to ground level. Of course I've just now read the entry in wikipedia and apparently its the deepest metro station in Paris, at 38 meters underground.

Links for the 56 Montparnasse tower :-

Emma was keen to go back the the "cat restaurant" for dinner, which we did, but unfortunately her little kitty friend was sleeping and didn't come out to play.

Our closest Metro Station

Crossing the river just before Bir-Hakiem station

Waiting for the elevator

If you go, get yourself a prepaid ticket

The view is of course, stunning.

Plenty of selfie stick and Eiffel tower sellers in the area

The relative spacious and uncrowded Montparnasse tower 

The view is just as stunning.

The outside observation deck at Montparnasse 56

The vertical turd itself.

The funicular railway to the Sacre-Coeur right outside our apartment 

Emma's shopping results.

Dinner tonight.