Paris Day 2: How Cheesy Can It Get?

Paris is rich in both culture and history making it one of the most beautiful cities in the world.  Anywhere you go in Paris there’s always something to see like gardens, bridges, buildings, museums, streets and neighborhoods. We love to visit them all but one week isn’t enough.  That is why we joined the Sandeman’s New Paris Tour.  Solely based on tips, this walking tour gave us a good introduction of Paris by visiting major sights for just three and a half hours.  We met our quirky, hyper, and a little bit over-acting tour guide named Camille in front of St. Michael fountain.  Together with other thirty tourists, we visited few of Paris’ top attractions including Notre Dame, River Seine, Pont Neuf, Pont des Arts, Louvre, Tuileries Garden, Invalides, Cleopatra’s Needle, Concorde and Assemblee Nationale.  Using the events that took place on these landmarks, Camille was able to give us a basic overview of the history of Paris.  At the end of the tour she asked/begged for tips.  Almost everyone gave her 10 Euros.

Contrary to its direct English translation (new bridge), Pont Neuf is actually the oldest bridge in Paris

Happy faces at Notre Dame
One of the most romantic spots in Paris minus the trash bag

Love locks in Pont des Arts

To the Louvre!

Tuileries Garden

Grand Palais

Eiffel Tower and Pont Alexandre III


It was a very long walk.  We walked from St. Michael to Invalides for almost 4 hours.  That was 4 kilometers of non-stop walking under the heat of the sun!  Although I love walking, what we did was no joke even for my standards. However, without this tour, we wouldn’t have visited most of these places because of time constraint.  So, I’m still glad we joined the tour.  It made us see the real beauty of the city.   

After the tour our stomachs were all growling.  Imagine, it’s already 5 o’clock in the afternoon and we still haven’t had any kind of meal.  I don’t know how we survived that 4k walk without any food.   Tensions are high when we’re hungry.  My aunt and I tend to lose our patience easily when we’re hungry so we’re all very careful not to piss one another.    

Our main agenda for this day was to visit the Eiffel Tower.  We took the metro from Asemblee Nationale station to Bir-Hakeim, the closest station to the Eiffel Tower.  Outside the station of Bir-Hakeim are typical Parisian al fresco cafes with menus written in chalk.  Streets are lined with trees like most streets in Paris.  Busy pedestrian, mostly tourists, are all going at the same direction.  The air feels colder as we get nearer River Seine.  After turning around the corner of a street, I felt like I bumped my head against a wall.  I was literally stunned.  It took me a while to realize what I just saw.  It’s the Eiffel Tower!  It’s THE Eiffel Tower!  I just had to say that twice.  There was no warning like “Hey I’m coming out in a bit.  You might want to hold on tight!”  It just appeared out of nowhere.  My brain wasn’t ready to process that kind of data at that moment.   Not when I was about to die of starvation.  We laughed about it for a few minutes because apparently all of us had the same reaction.

Standing tall and proud

The Eiffel Tower looked surreal at first.  My mind was saying that it's impossible.  There was no way I was looking at the real one since it’s halfway around the world in Paris.  But then I remember I was in Paris!  It was unbelievable!  It’s so… perfect.  I used to only see it in packaged tour magazines but there it was, in front of me.  I’ve never thought that I would see it in person at such a young age.  Wow.

After we run out of superlatives to describe Eiffel Tower, we felt our stomachs rumbling again.  We ate at Oh! Regalde de la Tour Eiffel a small café at the foot of the tower.  Though their meals are priced more than what it should be, we didn’t care.  Our instinct for survival prevailed over rationality.  Plus the location is to die for.  How many people can say that they’ve eaten at the foot of the Eiffel Tower? Exactly. 

Eating at the base of the Eiffel Tower
Isn't she a beauty?

There are things money can't buy
We went at Esplanade du Trocadero and took millions of photos.  It has superb views of the Eiffel Tower and a garden where you can have a picnic on.  It was getting dark so we headed back to buy our tickets to go up the Eiffel Tower.  The tower has four elevators that bring people at the top.  However, due to technical difficulties, only one elevator was working which made the queues horribly long!  We have an option to use the stairs which has barely any queues but my mom and aunt didn’t like the idea of it.  It was getting colder as it gets darker.  We stayed in line for 2.5 hours.  We got up there at 9:00 pm, just before sunset, so we were able to see Paris with and without lights. The view at the top is breathtaking.  The 360˚ view of Paris was absolutely amazing.  Pictures don’t do justice to it.

Intricate design
Horrible Queues
Showing her some love

Lights on
Lights off

Glittering Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower at night
We experienced two awesome events up there.  First, we witnessed a marriage proposal.  Though I found it quite cheesy, I applauded together with the other people (read my tips).  The other one happened when my sister and I were fixing the camera to take a video of the city lights.  All of a sudden I saw a streak of light in the sky.  I immediately shouted, “What’s that?!”  while pointing at the sky.  Nicole and I were like, “no way!”  It was a shooting star!   An old American couple beside us also saw it and even thanked me for shouting.  Imagine, this is our first time to witness an actual shooting star and we experienced it not just in Paris, but on top of the Eiffel Tower!  Can’t get any better than this. 

Paris day 3 will be posted soon! 

Read my tips!

1. Sandemans New Paris Free Tour

2. I would still recommend the free tour but avoid Camille. She’s over-acting. We joined the 1:00 pm tour.  

3. Bring food to munch and a water bottle.  Eat before you join the tour. 

4. If you want to appreciate what you see, you have to understand its background because you can never grasp the real beauty of a place if you will only judge it through what a camera can see.  What we see in the outside of let say a monument, is mere physical appearance that makes it attractive, grand and magnificent but what we really want to understand is the story behind it, its soul.  So join tours like this and don’t just settle for the physical beauty.

5. Other free tours worth checking out: Discover Walks and City Free Tour Paris.

6. If you’re visiting Paris with a love one, don’t forget to bring a padlock with you and visit Pont des Arts. Seal your love and attach a padlock with your names on it on the fence of the bridge and throw the keys in the river to secure your love.  If you’re unsure about your relationship, no worries. You can always bring a coded one so you can unlock it when the need arises *wink*.

7. Eiffel Tower: website, directions, opening times, rates, online tickets, and weather at the top.

8. The Eiffel Tower sparkles after sunset every hour on the hour for 5 minutes.

9. Sunset time in Paris. 

10. Have a picnic at Champ de Mars.

11. Send a postcard.  The post office at the top uses the one of a kind Eiffel Tower post stamps.  

12. Proposing in Eiffel Tower: Every hour there’s someone proposing on the Eiffel Tower.  The girl might already be expecting something to happen since it’s the dream proposal place not to mention almost every couple beside her is having a proposal.  My idea is not to propose on top of the tower but at the bottom of it.  Just let her be devastated for expecting  nothing.  When you get down from the tower, she’ll be confused and ask her herself, if not on the Eiffel Tower, where the hell is he planning to propose or worse does he even want to marry me?  This is the best time to propose.  This time she’ll be surprised.  Go to a quiet spot in Trocadero or Champ de Mars since these places have unobstructed view of the tower.  Get on your knees and propose as the Eiffel Tower sparkles in the background. That’s more romantic and less cliché.

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