October 4th, 2012 – Thursday
We got off the Eurostar and tried to figure out how to get to the Paris Métro. Apparently, there is a tunnel walkway that takes you from Gare du Nord to La Chapelle, but we didn’t find it and walked on the surface streets instead. Our first impression was, “wow, this is pretty gritty”. This was reaffirmed when we finally made our way to La Chapelle station and some guy got up in my face scalping Métro tickets (billets) in French. I was tired and exasperated from being new and not knowing which way to go; I wanted to smack that guy and tell him to get the f*ck out of my face. Eventually, we figured out how to buy tickets (officially) and made our way onto the train and to our hotel.
Once we settled in to our hotel and made our way out, we walked along Avenue Kléber until we reached the Arc de Triomphe. I’ll never forget seeing it in person for the first time. It was so much bigger than what I expected.
We paid the admission fee to get to the top and made our way up the 284 steps. Once at the top, I had forgotten about the Eiffel Tower. When I walked around to the south side, I saw it in person for the first time. It just sort of struck me in the face. The Eiffel Tower! It was unbelievable, breathtaking. It looked more metallic than what I had seen in pictures. It stood out amongst its surroundings. Beautiful. Marvelous. I just couldn’t believe that I was seeing it with my own eyes.
Later on, we stopped by a Carrefour Express to buy dinner. Of course, I had to try some French wine, and went with a Bordeaux. I enjoyed the wine and enjoyed the fact that we had finally made it to Paris, the City of Light.