Thursday 12th September 2019
The plan was to go up the Eiffel Tower early and when we arrived there were signs alerting visitors to the fact that the upper level might be forced to close. We therefore decided to go to the very top first and work our way down.
The views are impressive, with the River Seine snaking its way through the city to left and right . . .
. . . while the Champ-de-Mars spreads out toward the Place Joffre and the École Militaire.
Partly due to its sheer height – the Eiffel Tower measures 324 metres to the tip – even famous landmarks can be hard to identify and we struggled to find Sacré Coeur from the platform at the summit, although we found it could be seen clearly silhouetted against the sky from the lower viewing platform.
Apparently Gustave Eiffel built himself a small apartment at the top of the tower where, accompanied by his daughter Claire, he hosted exclusive receptions for important guests. This has been staged to show the visit by Thomas Edison on 10 September 1889, when he gave Gustave Eiffel a model of the famous phonograph which he had just presented to the world at the Universal Exposition. Presumably the toilets on this level were originally part of these apartments.
The Arc de Triomphe, commissioned by Napoleon to celebrate France’s military strength is less prominent from on high . . .
. . . than it must have been when it was built, though it is still an impressive 164 feet high and stands imperiously at the intersection of the twelve avenues radiating out from Place Charles de Gaulle.
Many visitors seem to avoid standing on the glass areas of the floor on the first level but even from here it seems a long way down.
Unfortunately Robert had to prepare for his next Tour Manager trip so, after descending the Tower and having a late breakfast, the party split up and Robert returned to the hotel to work whilst the remaining members walked to Les Invalides.
This was originally built as a hospital and retirement home for injured soldiers and now houses museums and monuments relating to the military history of France. The golden dome of the church is strikingly visible from both Sacré Coeur and the Eiffel Tower and Napoleon is interred here, under the dome.
We then walked along the Avenue des Champs-Élysées past the Batman event at the Gallery Lafayette . . .
. . . and on to the Arc de Triomphe. Having seen the views from the Eiffel Tower, we decided against going up on this trip.
Having glimpsed Paris’ Statue of Liberty earlier, we went to get a closer look at this quarter-scale replica of the New York monument which stands nearly 38 feet tall on the man-made Île aux Cygnes in the River Seine, the third-largest island in Paris.
Although the featured Dish of the Day [below] is not vegetarian, we had already identified several vegetarian options on the menu at the cafe where we had had breakfast and returned to eat there.