Sorry for the delay getting these posted. Internet woes, what can I say.
This was our most active day on the walking front. My leg was feeling much better. We started out morning with a cruise on the Seine.
Back in 1910, when the Seine flooded, the waters rose so high that only his head was visible above the water. Since then the people of Paris judge the height of the river by how much of the statue is submerged.
Once a royal palace, The Conciergerie became a notorious prison and Marie Antoinette was kept there until she was executed by guillotine in Place de la Concorde.
Almost every bridge or fence that has a place for a padlock has one on it these days. The names of lovers are written on them and the idea is that their love will last forever when the lock bearing their names is fastened to the object. The city of Paris comes along and cuts the locks off the bridges because when they get this filled, the wind can’t pass through and the bridge will begin to sway in the wind and become unstable.
On Avenue New York, a replica of the flame held by the Statue of Liberty stands above the entrance to a tunnel. Many people believe this is the tunnel where Princess Diana was killed and leave flowers (and padlocks on the chain barrier surrounding it) but it isn’t.
Since we didn’t have to be at the Eiffel Tower for our Behind the Scenes Tour (and jump the queue… ya right), we walked further along to Pont Bir Hakeim.
By now it was getting close to the time for our Eiffel Tower tour. We walked back and waited near the north pillar for our tour guide. While we waited, the wind came up and it began to rain. Not a nice place to be stood waiting to see if “maybe” (that was the word used by one of the earlier tour guides) our guide would turn up.
The wait to get tickets and get to the top level was going to be at least two hours, not to mention it would be that long to get back down afterwards. As much as I wanted champagne at the summit, I caved and we walked down the stairs from level 2 to level 1. Stairs and I still aren’t friends and going down is much harder than going up. Our guide said there were about 700 steps from the ground to the second level, so I figure we traversed about 350 give or take.
On one of our rest stops on the way down, I got this photograph of the Eiffel Tower elevator. Years ago, a man controlled the weight and speed of the elevators at the Eiffel Tower. He sat on a seat outside the carriage and turned the wheel one way or the other to make adjustments. Not my idea of a fun (or even safe) job. Now, a mannequin sits in his place so that people can see the technology from years gone by.
Whilst disappointed about no champagne en coupe lumineuse au sommet de la Tour Eiffel, we decided to find a place where we could buy a bottle of nice champers and we’d have it back at the hotel where it would be just the two of us and we wouldn’t be rushed.
A plus to the day was we were ‘downtown’ so got to see the Eiffel Tower lit up after dark. A tripod would have worked better but I tried to balance myself against the stone wall to keep the camera from moving too much.
Once an hour, on the hour, and lasting for five minutes the Eiffel Tower glitters. Lights randomly go off and on and it’s truly a sight to see. When I was in Paris in 2003, the main tower lights went out and it was just the glittering ones that were on. Either way, it looks amazing.
BTW, we walked a mere 27,467 steps today… and I feel fine.