. Erin had already purchased train tickets for us so we headed for the RER. When we got there a train was waiting and left less than five minutes later. We arrived in Paris half an hour later, got off the RER and on to the Metro (MEE-tro). It was here that it got tricky for me. We had to go through so many tunnels without escalators and I had to carry my luggage. I actually carried Larry’s and he carried mine. I was huffing and puffing but I made it through. We had to change lines one more time before arriving at Tour la Maubourg stop. We walked just a few blocks to Rue Cler and Hotel La Serre. By the time we arrived it was after 1:00 and our rooms were ready for us. They are very tiny but in a great location. We walked down Rue Cler and the market was in full swing. We bought our lunch at a bakery on the street. Larry got a Croissant with Jambol (ham) and Fromage (cheese). Erin and each got a Croque Monsier a sandwich with ham and cheese in the center and cheese melted on top. Derek got a footlong hotdot in a baguette with melted cheese. We walked about three blocks and sat at a park to eat them. The park is at the base of the Eiffel Tower. After eating we walked around the base of the Tower.
Next we took a cruise on the River Seine. It started at the base of the Eiffel Tower. The cruise was good because it helped with where things are in Paris. We saw lots of different bridges and along it we saw many famous buildings including the Musee Louvre and Notre Dame
. When we got back we had all been lulled into feeling sleepy. So we rented bikes and road to the Champs-Elysees. We road all the way from the Arc de Triomphe to Cleopatra’s Eye which is a huge obelisk from Egypt. On the way I got really tired as it was pretty much uphill until we got the Arc. After that it was downhill to Cleopatra’s Eye. But when we got to the Eye Erin and Derek sped up across four or five lanes of traffic to get to the bike rental kiosk on the other side. Larry and I didn’t make it. We were a little behind them and couldn’t keep up. Larry finally did make it across but walked my bike across. It took a few minutes to find each other again. We returned our bikes and then spent some time taking pictures there. We walked back up the Champs-Elysees. It took a long time to do that. When we got to the Arc de Triomphe we bought tickets to climb to the top, 294 stairs most of them in a spiral. Before we went up we looked at it from the outside. We noticed a group of Veterans and Soldiers who were getting ready to lay some flowers at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the center of the tomb. It has an eternal flame like at President Kennedy’s burial site at Arlington National Cemetery. We got tired of waiting for the ceremony and walked to the top of the Arc. The weather was perfect and the city was beautiful. Most of the buildings are built from white stone which makes the city seem to shimmer in the sunlight. We could see the Champs-Elysees, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame, Cleopatra’s Eye, the gold dome of Les Invalides, the greenhouse-like roof of the Grand Palais and the church of Sacre Coeur. When we came down from the top of the Arc, we took the Metro back to the Rue Cler area. We went to eat at La Terrasse which was recommended by a friend of Erin’s. We started with drinks all around, beers for Larry, Derek, and Erin and wine for me. Larry and Erin got Sea Bass, Derek got Salmon and I got Chicken Brochette, which ended up being chunks of chicken and vegetables on skewers with a good sauce. Everyone’s food was really good. We each got a different dessert: Larry got Rum-soaked puff pastry, Derek got Crème Brulee, Erin got Tartar Tartin, and I got Caramel Mousse. We were full but not overly so as the portions were a good size, not too big like in the U.S. After supper we went back to the hotel and got ready to sleep. It was about 9:30.
We were woken up by a bright orange glow in the cabin which simulated sunrise. It got gradually brighter until they served breakfast, a muffin and juice, coffee and tea. By that time we had less than an hour to go. Soon we spotted Brittany and Normandy and then we landed in Paris at 9:30, 15 minutes ahead of schedule. You would think that was good. Well it took half an hour to get off the plane and go through the first of two passport check points. It took another half an hour to get our bags and then we stood in line for 45 minutes to go through customs again with our bags. It was a ridiculous system. They just had 3-4 people interviewing people as we walked through the exit. Some people had to show boarding passes and others didn't. When we finally got through all that it was about a 10-15 minute walk to the RER train station where Erin was waiting for us. She didn’t have to go through the hassle that we did. We made a pit stop at the nearest Toilette at a cost of 50 Euro cents each. We got money out of the ATM