Wednesday, July 9
We started the day slowly after being up late the night before.
The first thing we noticed was the difference between an English and French
breakfast. We had read that the French consider breakfast an afterthought
and that the meal often consists of leftover French bread or baguette with
butter and jam along with coffee. While our hotel also offered croissants
and cereal, there was a big difference between the breakfasts in London. Another
striking difference from London is the weather. Today again was sunny and
hot and we found it difficult to adjust-we were exhausted by midday and decided
to rest back at the hotel before heading out again in the evening.
In the morning we walked along the Seine River, where there was a nice breeze,
making our way to Jardin du Lexembourg. This beautiful park is flanked by
the Palais du Lexembourg, a palace built by Henry IV. The upper houses of
the French Parliament or Senate convene here. The kids loved the large fish
and duck pond in the center of the park and we rented a model sailboat that
they enjoyed for over an hour. We
explored the Left Bank and Boulevard St. Germain, and had lunch there
in a small café. The streets were crowed with people, many with roller
blades, scooters and skate boards. Motorcyclists even seemed to feel
that the sidewalk belonged to them when they became impatient with the road
traffic. Despite the crowds, Paris seems easier to navigate than London and
the cars seem more willing to stop for pedestrians.
After resting in the hotel, we took the Metro (Paris' subway) to the Hotel
des Invalides. The Invalides was built in the 1670s by Louis XIV to house
war veterans. It is best known for the fierce fighting that took place there
on July 14, 1789 that marked the start of the French Revolution.
We walked past the Ecole Militaire and through the Parc du Champ de Mars on
our way to the Eiffel Tower. The park is huge, and was filled with Parisians
relaxing or playing soccer.
arrived at the Eiffel Tower around 9:30 PM - it's still amazing how late it
stays light here! Before making our ascent, we needed some dinner (sometimes
we push it too far and forget to eat
), so we found another café
nearby, and ate before returning to climb the Tower. We decided to walk the
first two levels - David counted 671 steps before we reached the second level.
The view was spectacular, but we decided that we needed to make the trip all
the way to the top. From the second level, you take an open-glass elevator,
and the views all the way up are amazing. Katie was the most excited to be
up there. However, David wasn't quite so happy to be that far up (the elevator
ride kind of did him in), and started to feel queasy. So
to not spend too much time up there, and it was already after 11:30PM.
After making our way down, enjoying some ice cream as a reward, and after
heading back to the hotel, we crashed (exhausted) at 12:30 AM. ~Paula
Distance Walked: 6.14 miles