May 08, 2014

Paris, Day Trois: Views from Above and High Tea

We spent some time near the Eiffel Tower on Saturday and realized that even the line to walk up the stairs was nearly a four hour wait. (You can buy tickets in advance, but they were sold out in February for April when I tried to purchase them).

Our plan of action was to arrive before the Tower opened and get in line as quickly as possible.  After only waiting about an hour and a half, we found ourselves crammed into an elevator full of other tourists headed to the top!

I loved the panoramic view of the city.  It was interesting to get a bird's eye view of the layout and to be able to pick out places we had already visited.

The one aspect I was not prepared for (and this seems silly) was the crowds!  The platform was packed.  It was hard to get anywhere and I did not feel like standing and staring because there would be a person directly over my shoulder trying to see too.

Everyone should go to the top of the Eiffel Tower on their first trip to Paris, right?

It was amazing to just be there, standing on the iconic symbol that represents Paris in so many minds.

After the Tower, we retreated to a sidewalk cafe for a coffee and crepes.

Then it was on to the next site: Saint Chapelle.  I especially wanted to visit this church because my mother told me it was one of her favorite sites in Paris.  The stained glass did not disappoint.

The glass casts a rosy glow over the whole room--it is gorgeous.

After St. Chapelle, we hopped back on the metro and headed back to our hotel to change for a special afternoon treat.

Each metro station in Paris is unique and most are colorful and interesting.

They also have fruit stands, patisseries and boulangeries located underground so you can grab a banana and a croissant before you catch your train.  Is that dreamy or what?  (DC's Metro has a strict NO food or drink policy)

Our afternoon excursion was a champagne tea at Le Meurice, a gift given to us by friends.  It was one of the highlights of the trip!

They brought out a tray of the most exquisite treats...and there was two of everything so we didn't have to share (very important when delicious treats are involved!).  We started with five tea sandwiches, then moved on to scones with clotted cream and fresh preserves.  The finale was five different types of desserts ranging from fruity to coconut to chocolate.

I do not remember the last time I was that full!

After leaving Le Meurice, the only activity we could muster the energy for was a snooze in the green chairs in Tulileries Gardens.

When we could finally walk again, we strolled down the Champs Elysees and decided it would be a good idea to climb the Arc de Triomphe.  Originally, this was an item on my list, but it was a low priority.  

The Arc de Triomphe is the best kept secret in Paris!  It was not very crowded and we easily climbed to the top.  There is not an elevator, so you have to be able to make it up the spiral staircase, which is likely what keeps the crowd smaller.

We were treated to fantastic panoramic views and this time (unlike the Eiffel Tower) I felt like I could stand, stare and take it all in at my leisure.

We waited until 9:00pm and watched the Eiffel Tower and light up and sparkle.  It was pure magic.

After taking our time and enjoying the view, we left and went to Laduree's for macaroons.

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