Meghan

This morning, we woke up from a solid 12 hrs of sleep only because we were going to miss breakfast. Quite frankly, it was much needed/deserved. After all, we are on vacation. I scoped out the weather by sitting out of our hotel room window and taking in the lovely Paris surroundings, we decided to head up to Montmartre and the Basilisque Sacre-Coeur. Located on a hill overlooking the city, Montmartre was not only a feat (in my eyes) to get to using a manual transmission VW, but finding a parking spot in such a cozy and primarily pedestrian-oriented town would be challenging. That is, unless you are us and find a parking spot in the center of all the action.

My photo finger was going crazy from the minute we got out of the car. The basilica is breathtaking, as is the view from the front staircase. We roamed the small streets and side streets taking in all the action and the aromatic air of all the cafés. In the central square of the town, artists set up their easels and showed off their skills for all and any to watch in amazement. This is where Ron pointed out the bar that he and his grand dad drank the night away on a previous trip…as good a place as any for us to take a seat for a café au lait, some crepes and people watching. We fell into a great conversation with an older couple from England in the area to visit their son (the photographer) who lived around the corner from the café. The conversation was very lively and included various topics including crazy Republicans in Texas and Arizona, the BP disaster, Canadian politics and even some science. It just so happened that this couple has a son who is a faculty member at Yale in Biochem/Med research in cancer drug development. So cool.

After saying our farewells, we continued to explore a bit more before deciding to move onto more outdoor venues. The weather was incredible and the idea of being indoors, even if those indoors were the Louvre, seemed stifling. So our next stop was L’arche de triomphe. I can honestly say that (thus far) it is the most impressive structure/monument/attraction in Paris. And I say this after having been to the Eiffel tower. The view was incredible and the displays describing the history and structure were “just very well done” (Ron’s words). Despite the signage prohibiting it, this is the locale from which I gave my Mom a call, just to say hi  Back to the base of the arche, we had a light snack of bread, cheese and beers. Stay classy, Paris!

Next stop, up the Eiffel tower. The line was fairly long, but well worth it; Again, breathtaking views. I still can’t believe that I can now say I have been up the Eiffel tower. Luckily enough for Ron, the very top level was closed due to high winds, and so his strength of courage to tackle the great heights was not challenged as much as it was planned for. Riding down, we both got our hunger pangs.

What to do when hunger strikes in Paris? How about grab a beer and some frites at a pub across the street from the Moulin Rouge. I can get used to this.

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Ron
I championed the height that is the Eiffel Tower. Unfortunately the top was closed or I might have run up it. We will never know.
I was very excited to get back to the Monte Martre. My Grandfather had a special place in his heart for it and I can see why. We really explored this area and it was my favorite part of the day. We veered off a side street and came across a beautiful park. Greenery, people having lunch and a school group playing games in the court yard (with a priest). It was so peaceful and perfect, I mean literally perfect. I could have stayed there all day.

The Arc du Triumph was great! Everyone had to take the stairs to get to the top and I thought “right on, sticking it to the tourists!” We made it to the top, received a history lesson and ventured onto the ledge. Fantastic city view, as far as the eye can see in all directions.

The Eifel Tower I didn’t enjoy as much and not because of the heights!
There were so many people trying to sling product at you. In some parts you had as many street slingers as you did tourists. I don’t like the “in your face” approach and particular, I don’t want to buy an Eiffel Tower knick-knack.
It made me want to avoid parts. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind people trying to make a buck but the area was littered with knick-knack crap.

For dinner we headed back to the red light district and settled in at a restaurant across from the Moulin Rouge. The waiter knew we were tourists right off the hop as I ordered a burger and fries. The burger comes with an egg on top with no buns – love it!!! Meghan, not so much.

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