Paris: Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and Notre Dame
On our second day in Paris we got up bright and early to beat the crowds, and it really paid off!
Our first stop was the Arc de Triomphe since it was close to our hotel and we had to walk right by it to get on the metro anyway. The Arc de Triomphe honors those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. Beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I.
It really is a beautiful monument. Since we were so early we got a few rare glimpses of the traffic circle without cars in it.
Our next stop was the Eiffel Tower. I was so excited to see it in the daylight. We headed over to the Trocadéro metro stop, walked outside and in between the aquarium and the museum there and had a full view of the tower. This was a great spot to take our pictures!
I was surprised at how many people were there for as early as it was, but we were able to get up close to the barrier still. We walked back by this area at around noon and it was packed! You could hardly even see a free spot to stand here (and it is a large area!).
Unfortunately during the time we were in Paris the smog was the worst it had been in some time. Everything had a haze cast around it. It was a little disappointing, but the metro was free because of that so that made it slightly better. It was still cool to see the Eiffel Tower. It is so massive!
Forgot my selfie stick, so we had someone else take a picture and he took it SIDEWAYS! Who does that?
Had my first crêpe with Nutella. So good! This was probably my favorite thing I ate in Paris. Yum!
The next stop was Notre Dame. It’s a very beautiful cathedral. I will say that of all the places in Paris this was the place where I felt the most like I could get scammed or pickpocketed, so if you ever go be aware. There is a large police presence here running off gypsies and beggars who are only up to no good, but we still did see a few people taken for a ride. A common scam is that they ask you to sign a petition of some sort. You sign it because it is normally something like “keep drugs out of schools” or something that nobody really would object to. Then, as you walk away they start telling you that you have to donate to the cause. They hound you until you eventually give them money to leave you alone. We also heard a tour guide saying that if homeless looking children come up to you asking for food to beware because they work in groups and will pickpocket you.
It is free to visit and the line to enter moves pretty quickly. The church is massive and holds a lot of people inside comfortably. We waited in line maybe 10 minutes around 9 am. It was hardly any time at all.
I loved all the stained glass windows! We spent around an hour and a half inside. We visited a museum of artifacts that did cost some money to see. For us it wasn’t really worth it, but maybe for some others it would be.
We walked around to the side to see more of the building. Look at that line now! Insane!
We then ate a croque-monsieur in one of the nearby restaurants. It was just a fancy ham and cheese sandwich. Overpriced. Should have eaten another crêpe!
More from Paris: