09.01.2013 - 09.01.2013 4 °C
We have had a huge day today! We have covered most of the main sights in Paris all in one day! We started after having a sleep in (10:30am...oops!) by heading to the Arch De Triomphe which is right near our hotel. To get to the Arch you have to go down under the road that goes around it. It is like a huge round about that is about 10 lanes but there are not lanes! The cars all just go where they want. So we headed down into the metro tunnel thinking that this is the way to get to it. We walked around the tunnel for about 20 minutes trying to find the correct exit but got very lost! In the end Ed just went back up to street level and happened to choose the correct exit. Turns out that the tunnel to the Arch has a different entry and we had not noticed it last night because the sign for it is totally covered with stickers and we could not read it!
We decided to climb the Arch so paid our 9.50 Euro each and headed back up to street level, this time directly under the Arch. It is quite an amazing structure with such detail carved into the stone. After checking it out, taking some pictures and looking at the tomb of the unknown soldier we made our way up the 300-odd stairs to the top. The majority of this is a metal spiral staircase. It is pretty tight and quite a climb. It is over fairly quickly though which is good. At the top you enter two floors of a mini-museum before you head right to the top where the viewing platform is. It was a really spectacular view from the top. We could see down to La Defense on one side and then down the Champs Elysee to the Louvre on the other. We could also had a great view of the Eiffel tower. The top of the tower was in the clouds so we had to re-asses our plans for the rest of the day as we had planned to climb the tower as well.
We finished up at the Arch and decided to walk towards the Eiffel tower and check it out from ground level. On the way we found an awesome patisserie and had some yummy eclairs for morning tea. As we got closer to the tower I expected to be hounded by hawkers but there really wasn't much around. One guy called out to us saying 'You are from Australia....'. Not sure how he knew but we just kept walking and waved him off. We got some nice pictures under the tower (including spending quite a lot of time trying to get a good 'selfie' of the two of us with the whole tower in the background) and then headed in search of somewhere warm for lunch.
We found another awesome little french cafe that was packed with people. They sure know how to jam you into these places! It was nice to sit and soak up the warmth for a a little while and do some people watching.
From here we decided to head towards the Louvre. Neither of us was overly interested in going inside the Louvre but we wanted to go and see the famous glass entrance. After risking our lives crossing many roads on the way we found the large park area leading to the Louvre and it started raining a little. We decided to keep on braving it and kept walking.
When you arrive at the entrance of the Louvre it is quite funny to watch people around taking pictures. Many of them are doing the pictures that look like they are touching the top or touching the side etc but they look so funny when you don't see it from the correct angle!!
After taking photos we headed away from the main tourist part and managed to stumble across the bridge that is covered with padlocks. I think it has something do with love but I don't really know much about it. Tyson and Alisa (friends of ours) visited Paris earlier in the year and had told us that they had put a lock near the end of the bridge. We found it! YAY!
From here we headed to Notre Dame. Once again we were not really interested but we went inside to check it out anyway. It is a beautiful church with such amazing detail. We were both really annoyed with how rude people are in these places. There were a million signs saying 'Silence Please' but there were so many people walking around chatting at the top of their lungs. Very rude.
We were both exhausted by now so caught the Metro back to out hotel to chill out for a while.
For dinner we decided to walk the streets near our hotel rather than head to the 'tourist strip'. I know this sounds crazy but we found a nice little Italian restaurant for dinner. We decided to stay away from French food as such because it is usually full of garlic so we went the safe card and Ed had pizza and I had pasta before heading home and calling it a night.