Posted by: M.J. Bolstad | November 1, 2019

EU Go, Girl! Adventures in Europe #6


L’Arche de Triomphe

The whirlwind of activity has continued, this time over two days of sightseeing in Paris. Though I’ve been before, it was nice to have several stops focused on historic highlights. The problem is, perhaps, that Paris has so many of them!

We started yesterday with a stop at Napoleon’s Arche de Triomphe (there are others, but his is the most famous), which dad and I had driven by 14 years ago but not actually stopped to see. There is a tunnel leading to it, so no one has to navigate their way through the insanity of a French traffic circle/roundabout with many lanes and none of them marked. Very smart to do for sure! Then it was the obelisk and nearby fountains for pictures, before stopping for lunch and free time near the Eiffel tower. Though I would like to go up one day, I’ll have to inclined to queue for several hours first. Still, she is lovely from the ground up.

After lunch, it was a tour of Versailles, which is beautiful and yet so ostentatious. It’s incredible, but it certainly did nothing for the poor but make them poorer. I can certainly see how that kind of living would lead to a revolution, and it couldn’t help but resonate with the tongue-in-cheek “Eat the rich!” slogan I’ve seen on the internet in these days where a handful of people own 99% of the world’s wealth.

Cathy, Jhoy, Yvonne, Payton and I stuck together for dinner at a cafe where we ate happy hour appetizers, two orders were forgotten, and it took a lifetime to flag down the bill. Then it was off to do a Paris by night tour. Yes, I did stay up past my bedtime – and perhaps past when it was smart for someone attempting to cough up her lungs on the regular – but it was so worth it. I could have done without the “last ten minutes of Princess Diana’s life” part (a bit tacky, I think, but haven’t quite the courage to say), but the rest was glorious. The tower at Montparnasse, with the city panorama, was one highlight, but the light show at the Eiffel Tower from Trocadero was amazing. Pictures don’t do it justice, as the sparkling lights flicking rapidly like it’s a sparkler.

It was back to the hotel after that, at about 11:30 by that time. I did not get to sleep in, however; this morning was likely my only chance to do laundry, so I got up at six to be dressed and ready to trek to the laundromat for its’ seven o’clock opening. It was extra fingers crossed, as All Saints Day is a holiday here, and the short walk felt long in the semi-pouring rain. It seems the door unlocks automatically, though, and even though I stood in the rain a few minutes longer than I had to before figuring out the door was open (and a push, not pull), I will have clean clothes for the next segment of my adventure.

Today was a little slower, which was good. The rain had lightened up for the canal cruise, so I stayed on the open top to try to get better pictures. My coat is warm, but not waterproof, but since it is wool, it help up just fine, as did I. I wanted to get a picture of Statue of Liberty so held out to the end… only to have the boat turn around before we got more than a distance glimpse of her.


Mona Lisa, or La Jaconde, at the Louvre. I love this painting.

After that, it was the Louvre. It is as impressive as I remember, and I’d like to spend more time there, but I was also glad to leave. It’s much busier than the Musee D’Orsay, which makes it louder and crowded. Also, I got a little lost twice inside and then went out the wrong exit on the way out. I was a little late for meeting up with my group, which I feel badly about, but thankfully the man selling chestnuts helpfully pointed me in the right direction and I managed to be close to on time.

After that, it was free time near the Galleries de Lafayette for shopping. I helped Payton and Jhoy with some spice purchasing (translating the little signs so they could make decisions), but the five of us were pretty toured out by that point, so we found a cafe and had desserts and/or wine instead of shopping. We took pictures of the Opera House while it was still light, but then made our way back to the bus where we said goodbye. I’m the only one of us continuing on to another line. We’ll be keeping in touch, though. And of course, Yvonne and Payton are going to climb Arthur’s Seat with me when I’m in Edinburgh.

I’m now back in my hotel room for the night, getting ready to head to bed. It’s an earlier call tomorrow, as I’m off to Switzerland, then Italy, then Monaco before looping back to Paris next week. I foresee some bus naps for me tomorrow!




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