Today was the big day to finally go to the Eiffel Tower! We left our hotel and quickly learned that it was going to be a very cold and rainy journey. After breakfast (another “salad” for me, and a ham/egg/cheese melt for Brian), we bought some cheesy souvenir shop umbrellas and headed out… not as many photos to share today because our hands were too frozen to mess with the cameras! Once on the other side of the Seine, the wind was less blustery and we had a nice walk through the neighborhoods of St Germain-Des-Pres and Invalides. Hotel des Invalides is the site of Napoleon’s tomb… kind of ironic that it is this enormous monument and museum for such a little guy. Ha ha.
I don’t think either of us realized how massive the Eiffel Tower was until we were actually in front of it. We took some token photos out on the lawn of the Parc du Champs de Mars (with a million other freezing tourists!) but I am ashamed to admit that when it came time to take the elevator to the top, I chickened out. I never used to be afraid of heights, but the thought of riding up over 200 stories in a tiny, rickety, claustrophobic elevator petrified me. Brian however took the risk and came away with some incredible shots of Paris. I stayed warm and dry in the adjacent gift shop and attempted look French. C’est horrible, I know.
We then took a taxi to the legendary Angelina for the world famous hot chocolate… founded in 1903, and famous apparently for past literary patrons Marcel Proust and Gertrude Stein. After that I consulted my trusty tour book to find the nearest place for us to wine taste. Formidable! We ended up at a place called Willi’s WIne Bar in a cool neighborhood just north of our hotel near the Palais Royal. It is still so impressive to see so many beautifully old buildings on nearly every corner. Anyway, back to the wine tasting, once inside we learned from our charming sommelier, Ollie, that this was the first wine bar in Paris, established in only 1980… weird, no? Oui. Anyway, he explained that wine tasting bars aren’t that popular in Paris because the French are so arrogant and self righteous about their wine, that they prefer to stick to what they know and not try anything new… hilarious. So we sampled some French reds, then tried a really interesting and delicious Spanish white called Saint Joseph something or other (can you guess we were a little over served?) and enjoyed the rest of our last day in Paris drinking wine in the afternoon. This guy, Ollie, convinced us to come back later and try their dinner… after translating the whole French menu for us, of course, and pointing out the variety of vegetarian dishes I could have, and indicating all of the animal options for Brian. We made an early reservation for 7pm and then wandered the streets some more to find an internet cafe that served drinks… coincidentally, “happy hour” translates to “happy hour” in Paris and we ordered a few Tequila Sunrises for only 6 Euros AND got free Wifi. Sante!!!
The dinner at Willi’s Wine Bar was in fact very good… so good that Brian and I each ordered a 2nd entree, and a 2nd bottle of wine. Why not indulge? Last night in Paris, then back to London in the morning… Bonsoir!
(Note: Brian will post all the “cool” photos in a later post.)