Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Europe Trip: Day 1: Welcome to Paris

After a long flight courtesy of American Airlines,  Paris's CDG International Airport greeted us through the fog. It was early in the morning, and we had 4 bags between the 4 of us; this led to us taking 2  cabs to our hotel. The Paris Marriott Opera House, is an old, historical place in one of the best parts of town; after checking in and dropping off our bags, we rode the metro to the Eiffel Tower. The best part? The metro stop is literally 1 block from the hotel door! 

We arrived at the Eiffel Tower stop, got out, and immediately scratched out heads. We appeared to be in a pretty nondescript, business-ey looking area. After turning the block, however, we got our first real glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. The approach to the tower was nice and scenic; fountains, staircases, and grassy patches greeted us, as well as a bridge. Under the tower were the entrances, and by extension, the lines.Although guidebooks scare you with horror stories of extremely long lines, we found the lines to not be too bad, even at 10-11 in the morning. Perhaps half an hour to an hour?

 My father and I decided to climb the stairs up to the second floor, while my mother and sister opted for the standard lift line. This was not a good idea, and I don't suggest that anyone else do the same thing. The 2 groups got separated for a long time on the middle layers of the tower, and eventually met at the top after hours of waiting.

The views at the top were very nice, but, more then anything else, it was nice to be finished with one of Paris’s most important sites so early into our trip.

On our way down, we spent some time relaxing on the 1st level of the tower, where there is a cafe, and for the adventurous, see through floors. After coming down, we ate some crepes at the foot of the tower while taking in the hectic, touristic atmosphere. One observation I made was that the sheer number of street vendors here is incredible; they mainly hawk selfie sticks and little Eiffel Towers models.

The evening saw us taking a boat cruise on the river Seine; the first of many river cruises on our trip. We bought tickets literally at the foot of the tower, and boarded our boat nearby. A long, lazy loop ensued, going as far down the river as Notre Dame before turning back around.

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