On the 13th, we had one reservation. That was for the Eiffel Tower. Our reservations were scheduled for 6pm. We started out the day going to the Arc de Triomphe. It was much largert than I anticipated. We were planning on going up to the top, which meant walking 284 steps to the top. I have to say I wasn't looking forward to that, but it didn't matter-the inside was closed. There have been strikes this week. The people of Paris have been demonstrating against the government trying to raise the age for retirement. They're trying to raise it to 62, I believe from the current age of 60. During the strikes, certain rail lines, flights, etc. and some sites have been closed. On this day or the previous day, we never saw the demonstrations even though we heard they wrecked havoc on certain parts of town. So anyway, we enjoyed our views from the bottom, and then headed for a stroll down Champs-Elysees.
The Champs-Elysee, which is still very nice, evidently isn't quite what it used to be. A lot of chain stores of lesser quality (or price, really) have come in. There's a McDonalds, a Swatch Watch sore, and I can't remember what other stores that suprised me. We stopped for lunch at a little bar on a side street off Champs-Elysee. Scott had a Croque Monsier (basically, a really good grilled ham and cheese sandwich), I had a Croque Madame (like a Croque Monsier with an egg on top), and we each had a glass of Sancerre white wine. The wine tasting class the day before came in handy, as I now recognized the wine list easier. Sorry, but you're not going to get too many photos of our food in Paris. For some reason, I feel uncomfortable here pulling out my camera to take photos of the food.
Next, we decided to head over to the Eiffel Tower. We knew our reservations weren't until 6pm, but we really were expecting the tower to be closed due to the strike. It was closed the day before, and with the Arc de Trimphe being closed, ...but when we got there we saw the lines of people and the elevators going to the top. So we took some photos, then walked around the neighborhood. We were quite tired, as we had been walking a lot this day, so we sat down at a corner bar for a glass of wine and to rest our feet. The waiter as a little short at the first, but then ended up being nice. We didn't have our camera out, but he came over and asked if we wanted our picutre taken. No escaping looking like tourists. We handed the camera over, and here's the photo we got:
He had turned the camera the wrong way and had it pointed at himself! So he took another. Here it is-it isn't a good photo of me at all, as it looks as if my eyes are closed.
We managed wasting away the time until our 6pm entry. If you visit the Eiffel Tower, be sure and make reservations in advance online. We had to wait in line for only about 5 minutes before going inside. The reservations are made in 30 minute increments, so for the 6:00 you can enter anytime between 6:00 and 6:30. We rode the elevator to the 2nd level, and were amazed at how enormous the tower is. The views from here were unending. You realize from this vantage point how large Paris really is. I made a mistake when I purchased the tickets online of only buying to the 2nd level, and not all of the way to the top. I sent an e-mail to them immediately after I purchased, and they said no worries, we could buy a supplement ticket to get to the next level. Well, that didn't happen. I don't know if it was because of the strike and fewer workers, but the ticket booth on the 2nd level was closed, and the area where the self-service ticket machines were was locked. Scott was very disappointed he wasn't able to go to the very top, but I didn't care. The views are better from the 2nd level because you're a little closer and can identify buildings and areas from here, but more than that, it was freezing up there! I can't imagine how cold it would have felt at the top. I was very happy to have my gloves with me. But with was still so cold, we decided not to wait around until it got dark. Our plans had been to book for 6:00, enjoy the views on the 1st and 2nd level, visit the top, and by that time it would begin getting dark and we could enjoy the views of the city in the dark. But comfort won out, and we had a cold walk back to the Metro station instead.
For dinner that night, we went to a small neighborhood bar right across from where we're staying, called Le Bistro. I had Bavette a l"echaolte, frites maison, salade. This was a thin beef steak with an onion sauce, french fries, and a salad. Although the meat wasn't very tender, it wasn't too tough and the flavor was really good, so I enjoyed mine. Scott had Faux filet, sauce au bleu d'Auvergne, pommes de terre sautees, poelee de legumes. His was a different cut of beef than mine, and was very tough. He didn't enjoy it. His came with a nice sauce, wonderful sauteed potatoes, and some vegetables.I don't remember the price, but it was in the range of 38 euros with 2 glasses of wine. And no food photos today.