EUROPE 2016

Two nights in Paris

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To get to Paris we once again took the Lime 2 bus into Reading. Then a fast, non-stop Great Western train into London's Paddington station, the underground to St. Pancras Station, and the Eurostar (chunnel train) to Paris's Gare du Nord.
Getting our bearings outside Gare du Nord
Trudging the 0.7 miles from the station to Ibis Canal St. Martin hotel.
On our way we crossed over tracks exiting Gare d'Est, another Paris station
We spent the two nights in Paris at the Ibis Canal St. Martin hotel. It was walking distance from Gare du Nord and had rooms with three beds allowing Paula to share with us. When visiting large European cities, you can spend a lot of time researching reasonably priced hotels that are quiet, have AC, and are in good condition, and have style, or you can count on Ibis. This one did not disappoint. The rooms are on the small side; but they all look modern and like they were just built.
We decided to visit the Eiffel Tower the first thing the next morning. The closest Metro stop is École Militaire, 0.7 miles from the tower.
Quite a ways away.
Still not there
As we were walking, we were entertained.
Almost there
The first order of business upon arriving at the tower was to use the small round building in the trees.
One look at the line just to walk up to the second level turned Jeanine and I off. Having done it back in 1999, we opted to skipped in favor of walking along the Seine to Notre Dame, a distance of 3.2 miles.
There are multiple promenades and bike paths along the Seine on different levels. We started out on the upper level.
Still on the upper level (building across river?)
Home of Bateau-Mouches, one of the larger tourist boat operators
Grand Palais
Pont Alexandre III with Petit Palais in between the columns.
Palais Borbon, home of the French National Assembly, across from the Place du Concorde
Crossing over the Pont Neuf to Ile de la Cité, the island where Notre Dame is located.
The facade of Notre Dame.
The left (from the front) side of Notre Dame. The crowd is waiting in line to climb the tower.
Some of the wrap around line waiting to get into the front door
The tail end of the long line. In 1992 we were able to walk right in as if it were a regular church. Based on the crowds everywhere, the recent atrocities didn't seem to dampen tourism.
Near Notre Dame we made use of a Paris icon, the circular public toilets. The line wasn't long but took forever. In between each use it locked itself and did a thorough self cleaning: toilet, walls, and floor.

After Notre Dame we retraced our steps, this time via bus, to the Place du Concord. We had tentatively arranged to meet the rest and have supper there. In 1999 we had enjoyed dinner at an outdoor restaurant nearby; but I couldn't locate it. In any event they did not show by the cut off time, so headed back to Ibis and had döner kebabs at Grill Istanbul, a small Turkish restaurant near the Metro stop.
Ferris wheel at Place du Concord viewed from the bus on the opposite side of the Seine.
We sat next to the railing around the famous Egyptian obelisk but forgot to take a picture. But we did get one of the beautiful fountain.
Column in Place du Concorde
The Place du Concorde separates the Champs-Élysées to the west from the Tuileries Gardens on the east. Here we are looking up the Champs-Élysées with the Arc de Triumph in the background.
Posing on the bridge of the tracks coming out of Gare d'Est on our way back to Gare du Nord to catch the Thalys high-speed train to Amsterdam
A weird leaning house spotted on the way to Gare du Nord
For some reason our seats were in a first class coach. We didn't get first class amenities; but the seats were the wider 2x1 configuration with wider aisles between them. The card game must have made the 3:17 ride go pretty fast.
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