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Trip Start Mar 10, 2009
Trip End Mar 14, 2009

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Where I stayed

Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I arrived from Brussels on the TGV into Gare du Nord station early in the afternoon. The first order of business was to get a transit pass for the Metro. I had pre-paid for an all zone, 5 day pass but still had to get to the store to pick it up. This tourist trap was located on Rue de Rivoli right across the street from the Tuileries gardens where the Louvre is located. I wisely used the time spent waiting for them to process my information from Travelocity to purchase postcards. Unfortunately I still had to get to my hotel and check in and I really wanted to ditch my suitcase and backpack before sightseeing. I got my pass, jumped back on the Metro at the Tuileries station and headed to the 16th arrondissement to 44 Rue de l'Amiral Hamelin and Hotel Elysees Union. Designated a three star hotel by the travel board, it was clean and unassuming. It was close to the Eiffel Tower and between it and the Arc de Triomphe off of Avenue Kleber near the Kleber Metro stop. Check in was uneventful. The trip to my room on the 6th floor was in the very small, very slow elevator. Lights in the narrow hallways are on motion sensors and click on when the elevator doors open or you exit your room.

It was now 4 o'clock and I hadn't eaten all day so a short walk around the block brought me into Savenay Caffe which, unlike most of the cafes which close between 2 pm and 7 pm, was open continuously. The country pate with fresh bread, rotisserie chicken with pommes frites, dense chocolate cake with anglaise, glass of wine and cup of French cafe was heavenly. And just the constitutional fortification I needed to blaze through a little sightseeing. Since I could see the Eiffel Tower from the door of my hotel, I decided to make it my first real stop. Walking toward the Seine, I passed by the Palais de Chaillot or Trocadero which faces the tower across the river. These beautiful buildings and esplanade have a magnificent view of the Tower and house 3 museums and a theatre, none of which I visited. I crossed the bridge and queued up for a ticket to ride up which took about 30 minutes in a biting wind. This turned out to be a good thing. I got up to the observation area just before sunset and was able to take pictures in daylight, at twilight, and at night all in one visit! I crossed back over the Seine and into the Metro station to go to the Louvre. It was closed when I got there but the night pictures of the glass pyramid with the moon was worth it. Then, I called it a night.
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