Only the good die young... The rest of us queue

Trip Start Apr 20, 2012
Trip End May 23, 2012

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Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Thursday, April 26, 2012

What a magnificent sleep in a seriously comfortable bed! Liz has to wake me at 9am this morning. So it is with some bemusement we find new mattresses arriving in the hotel foyer as we leave. "Time for better quality", says our host.

Today has to be the Eiffel Tower. The forecast from tomorrow onwards is colder and wetter, so we buy coffee and French pastries from a local patisserie en route to the Metro. And what are the chances? When trains run every three minutes or so, the same elderly lady from yesterday is wailing her way along our carriage. We change connections and a man in the next train starts chanting phrases in a foreign tongue - and is rapidly ticked off by another this time. Passengers sitting in the fold down seats near the doors stand as soon as that space fills, to increase the floor space. There are no signs ordering this - it appears to be good train etiquette observed by all.

At the Eiffel Tower according to Liz, it HAS to be to the very top... a choice we have both regretted not making in the past. Not even closure of one lift and a snake of people queueing back and forth under the Tower's legs deters her!

Not even after three hours!

The line shuffles slowly and a baguette from the takeaway kiosk is actually delicious. Do the French do ordinary food anywhere?!

At the very top, we find stunning views and heaters inside the observation deck. An upper open level sees us retreating quickly to the warmth. The biting winds and prolonged standing/walking on hard concrete pavements are sapping us. Descending to the second level reveals clearer views of all the landmarks, the mish-mash of endless Haussman Parisian apartments and the machinations of the tower itself.

We watch people trudging up and down the stairs and wonder whether the exhaustion would have been better than the queue...

There is now time for a quick dash to the nearby Maison La Roche - a house built by Le Corbusier in 1923 and now open to the public. Some original furniture pieces decorate the mostly spartan three levels that demonstrate his groundbreaking use of bare shapes and lines at a time when most houses where still highly ornamental.

The surrounding streets near the "Jasmin" metro stop have small local shops and the non-English speaking locals sell us delicious tarts as we rest before heading home. A nearby French bistro for dinner is excellent.

And the new mattresses are even better!
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Angela on

Looks awesome Jenny!

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