Our first actual day in Paris, we did our own little walking tour. But first things first – food. We sit down at a cafe, and Daniela orders her usual – a Coke. They have three sizes, so she asks me which one she should get, and I say medium. But of course, she goes for the large size. Next thing we know, the waiter comes out holding a 2-liter mug filled with Coke, complete with fireworks. If that’s not the breakfast of champions, I don’t know what is:
Our first stop on the Agatha and Daniela Walking Tour was Ile de la Cite, the island on which the Notre Dame is located. It was insane to actually stand in front of this immensely historic building.
Then we kept strolling to the other bank and walked all the way to the Louvre. When we walked into the main courtyard of the Louvre and saw the huge pyramid structure, I have to admit that I got a little emotional; I just felt a burst of emotion swell in my chest. Paris seems to have a very emotional effect on me – just being here for the first time and seeing these world-reknown sites. They are truly beautiful and impressive.
At this point, we had taken a little detour to Starbucks and the tourism office to collect a bunch of brochures. We were hot, tired and sweaty, so Daniela and I headed to the Tuileries Gardens right in front of the Louvre to sit and rest. And watch the adorable duckies in the pond – well I watched them, you know how Daniela feels about animals.
We decided to take a champagne cruise to top off our first day in Paris. The boat cruise was a good call. On our way to the boat, we got our first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower, since our tour took off from the Seine right at the foot of the tower.
Our group of champagne drinkers had a nice VIP area at the front of the boat, closed off from the rest of the people (thank God!). And our group was pretty small, just about 10-12 people altogether. Funny enough, there was a family there from Chicago, too. Either it’s a really small world, or us Chicagoans really like our champagne cruises!
It was a beautiful cruise up and down the Seine River, right as the sun was beginning to go down. The boat took us from the Eiffel Tower, down to the Notre Dame, around Ile St. Louis and back again. Plus we had fun chatting with the other folks in the group – the family from Chicago, an Australian couple and our champagne tasting host, who ironically was from Indiana.
After the cruise, Daniela and I decided to get some dinner before tackling the Eiffel Tower, especially since we were feeling the effects of the champagne tasting. After dinner, we had a decision to make: pay extra to take the elevator to the very top (yikes!) or climb up God knows how many stairs to the second platform. I’m not sure if it was the champagne talking or us just being cheap – I mean frugal – but we decided to take the stairs.
It was pretty rough, especially since we were dolled up in dresses and not optimal climbing shoes. It was worth it though, being inside that steel structure and looking out over Paris. And we climbed back down in time to see the tower light up in the dark with thousands of twinkling lights – another emotional experience.
At that point, we were truly exhausted (and a little crabby) so, after a little drama catching a cab, went to the hotel and literally knocked out as soon as our bodies hit the bed. Ok, maybe I woke up a couple hours later to throw a tantrum about Daniela’s purse being on my side of the bed, but after that it was back to sleep.