Today has been much hotter than yesterday - about 34c - and after the big day we had yesterday we decided to take it a little easier and just hit a few of the sights - with the Eiffel Tower the first on the list.
We headed off reasonably early from the apartment (while it was still cool) and headed across the river, past Notre Dame, and then onto the train station we thought would take us straight to the Eiffel Tower - unfortunately that part of the line (and the station) are closed for works... there go those plans and our early start.
After a brief chat with some helpful tourist information staff we were on our way again - however we 're-interpreted' their instructions removing a change of train line and swapping it for a small walk - which ended up being quite pleasant.
It wasn't long before the Eiffel Tower appeared from behind the many other tall buildings along the street - at least we were on track. A pleasant walk through some gardens brings us to the base of the tower - and its only 9:15am... We made it in pretty good time - only 20 busloads of people in front of us.
After a brief group conference at the base of the tower - and based on the size of the line for the elevator, we decided to walk up the stairs - how bad could 669 stairs be after all?
The thighs were burning for the first few flights - carrying an 18 month old added to the burn - but in the end we made it up to the first level.
A well-earned coffee while we looked out over Paris was that much more enjoyable having earned it by walking the stairs.
Not being an enthusiast of heights (in fact I hate them), level one of the tower was actually pretty easy - except for the glass flooring in the centre - which Archie seemed to be attracted to.
The first time Archie ventured out onto the glass flooring he didn't realise and then froze stiff once he looked down - but quickly realised he was ok and kept going. From then on it was a game - and I suspect he realised both mum and dad didn't like going near it. He would quickly get himself just out of arms reach - just to taunt us I am sure.
We ventured up the next set of stairs and made it to level 2 - for an even better view of the city. A good number of photos later we made the journey back down the 669 stairs to the ground - and were glad for the early start, as the queues were much longer now.
From here our group went in two different directions. Mum and Jo jumped on one of the hop-on-hop-off buses to get a better look around the city while Laura, Maddie and I took Archie back to the apartment for a sleep - 2 minutes later he was asleep in the pram.
We arrived back at the apartment just as the little man was waking up - a good hour of sleep under his belt, and just in time for lunch. For lunch, we decided to check out the Falafel bar about 5 doors down from the apartment - it was awesome. For 6.50 Euro we got a falafels, salads, cooked eggplant, hummus and yoghurt in a nice fresh pocket bread - it was absolutely beautiful... and for desert... 2 doors up… we sampled decadent éclairs from L'Eclair de Genie - which as the name suggests - were magical. We had Chocolate, Strawberry and Pistachio, and Salted Caramel.
After lunch we headed out to the Jardin du Tuileries. Laura and Maddie headed to the Museum at the end of the gardens; while Archie and I sat in a restaurant beer garden under the trees and watched the people flow by. It was here I discovered Hoegaarden Rosee (regular Hoegaarden wasn't available) - it’s a lighter version of Hoegaarden (3%) that is mixed with a red berry juice. I wasn't quite sure what to expect - but it was actually quite refreshing on a warm afternoon.
The girls got back from the museum and joined me (and Archie) for a few drinks at the restaurant in the park under the trees. It wasn't long and the entire group was re-united when Mum and Jo came walking across the park and found us. From here we headed back home - we were done for the day.
Back at the apartment we let Archie run around and play for a before heading out for dinner. The girls had found a nice secluded square a few streets down from where we were staying that was enclosed by 5 or 6 nice little restaurants. We sat down and ordered - tonight we had the dry sausage (two types of salami and prosciutto) as well as 3 types of cheese to start and then the girls all had a mixed grill, and I had the confit d’oie (goose) - which was delightful. It was my first time eating goose, and I will be back!
We are now all sitting around the little table in the apartment. The girls are playing cards, and eating gelato - while I punch out another blog post and sip away at the last of the limoncello we were still carrying with us from Tuscany.