[Final installment of the Paris trip!]
Saturday morning, we woke up, had our breakfast, and caught the shuttle bus again. This time, instead of heading into Disney Village, we went into the train station. G and I entertained ourselves in the gift shop while Andy waited in line to buy our tickets.
After a short train ride (45 minutes or so), we found our way up out of the Paris Metro and were greeted by this.
In pictures, the Arc de Triomphe looks big. In person it is just huge. I was very surprised by its size.
We wanted to go look at the Arc from close up and there were two ways to get there: Run across that busy street (no thank you and also not a good lesson to teach G, haha) or go under the street and wait in line to get in.
That’s what we thought, anyway. It turns out there was a third way: Go under the street and skip the line completely. You actually only needed to stand in line and buy tickets if you wanted to go up to the top of the Arc, which G and I did do. Andy had no interest in it, so in essence, his ticket was wasted, but that’s no real biggie.
After we had our tickets, G and I went to find our way up. I was afraid we would have to take a million stairs (meaning I would have to carry G up a million stairs), but the lady offered me the elevator, which I gladly took.
There were wide viewing platforms all the way around the top of the Arc with sturdy railings. They also had a couple of panorama platforms that named all the buildings and monuments you could see, but people were just using them for selfies and I didn’t have time to wait around, since I was herding G up there.
Anyway. The view was pretty nice.
After taking in all the views, G and I took the elevator back down and found Andy. I snapped a few more pictures.
G was getting restless and we were all getting hungry, so we left the Arc in search of food. As we were walking along Champs Elysées, we passed some pretty impressive stores. G fell in love with a necklace at Cartier and also this staircase at Swarovski.
Right next door we found Pizza Vesuvio, which had immediate seating outdoors and a kids’ menu. We were sold.
In addition to all that ice, they gave us free bread and free water! You don’t get that here in Switzerland! We were practically giddy!
Andy and I got a delicious pizza to split. G’s meal came with dessert that we all shared. The whole thing was great except for two parts:
1) When G was messing around and knocked her water glass off the table and it broke. Oops!
2) When the table next to us ordered salmon pizza and the smell nearly did me in.
After lunch we started our walk to see the Eiffel Tower. [Note: I don’t know why, but I can’t bring myself to call it Tour Eiffel. I guess just habit? Who knows?]
We passed some pretty swanky stores.
G and I wanted to go up the Eiffel Tower (Andy again planned to stay on the ground), but the lines were ridiculous. After two days at Disney, I was over lines, but also spoiled by lines that told me how long I was going to have to wait. There was no way I was getting in a line of indeterminate length and waiting with G. The line to walk up the stairs wasn’t bad, but again, not happening with G. So I snapped some pictures and then we hit the gift shop. (We are horribly clichéd tourists.)
Then we went to find Le Carrousel de la Tour Eiffel. I had spotted it on our walk and pointed it out to Andy, but didn’t tell G what was up until she could see it for herself.
After the carousel, we hopped in a bike taxi to go to the Louvre.
In retrospect, I understand why the pricing is done this way. But I don’t feel that a 3-year-old should pay full fare and I also think you shouldn’t hide the “Price per Person” part of your sign until you’re charging the fare at the destination. But anyway.
The Louvre is one of the biggest buildings I have ever seen in my life. Scratch that, because it’s not just one building. It’s a ton of buildings and they’re all big. We knew with G in tow there was no way we were going to make it through even a tiny fraction of the galleries, and certainly not without a fit. So we hung out in the gardens outside.
G announced that she needed to use the bathroom, so we headed down into Le Carrousel du Louvre and found the PointWC. I would gladly pay €1.50 to use a public bathroom every time if they were all that clean. And as a bonus, each stall has its own theme! I didn’t get to experience that too much, though, as I was in the family stall with G. She was pretty happy about the tiny armchair she got to sit in, though, so that’s cool.
We made our way back up above ground and set off to find Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris. Not being Catholic and never even having seen the Disney movie about the famous hunchback, I was only marginally interested, but Andy was excited to see it and he put up with all of my sightseeing requests, so I was happy to walk along the (stinky) river and take in the sights.
(More information here.)
I could have spent the rest of the evening taking pictures of the gargoyles. I’m really glad we went to Notre Dame and I would like to go back and actually make it inside sometime.
We hopped a cab and headed back towards Pizza Vesuvio. There was a movie theater near there that had evening showings of Inside Out (aka Vice Versa in France) in English and we thought that’d be a nice way to end the day. (Inside Out isn’t coming to Switzerland until October and we have no way to know if there will be English prints or not.)
Then we took the train and shuttle bus back to our hotel and all crashed out.
Sunday morning we had breakfast and played in the pool before heading to the airport.
Finally finally finally we made it home. We didn’t end up needing our passports (since the Basel airport is actually in France, our flight was “domestic”), but it was definitely a better safe than sorry scenario.
All in all, a great, but exhausting, trip. I can’t wait to go back, though.