October 8, 2012 (Monday): our fifth day in Paris. I remember that this was the first day that we woke up relatively late. Up until this point, we had been waking up in the early morn due to jet lag from flying to Europe from the East. It was already 10:00 AM, and as it was our last full day in Paris, I quickly went online and ordered a couple of summit-lift tickets for the Eiffel Tower.
We walked over and stopped by a crepe stand that we had patronized the other day. Their chicken crepe was pretty good and I wanted to eat it again for breakfast. That’s when JC got the treatment from the crepe lady. I had a coffee in addition to the chicken crepe, JC had the jambon, œuf, and fromage. It was good, but not worth the shit that came with it.
Alas, it was a rainy and dreary day, and we wouldn’t realize until we were at the summit that it was not the best day to go up there:
Still, the views from the 1st and 2nd levels were pretty good:
In the end, the whole thing, from the crepe treatment to seeing only white fog at the top of the tower, was pretty underwhelming. I felt like I’d just been in a boxing match except I was the only one taking punches (ouch).
We walked away from the Eiffel Tower, across the river, the gray sky and drizzling rain doing nothing to take us out of our daze. Trudging along, we walked onto an area of dirt that was now pretty muddy from the rain, and looked up: Aquarium de Paris. Aquarium de Paris was here? If this was fate’s idea of a consolation prize, then we were going to take it. Inside we went.
As it turns out, this wasn’t just a consolation prize, but a complete 180. The Aquarium de Paris is the best aquarium I have ever been to. It’s clean. It’s modern. It has a good variety of animals. The tanks are crystal clear. There’s even a miniature movie theater inside (where we took a nap!). I was very impressed.
After viewing all those fish, I was in the mood for some sushi, so while we were back at the hotel for a short rest I started looking around online to see what was good. In a review for a Japanese restaurant, there was a reference to ramen, and it reminded me of how much I enjoyed eating ramen in Tokyo. After narrowing down reviews, we decided to give Kotteri Ramen Naritake in Paris’ Little Tokyo a try.
There was a line outside that blocked the entrance to the shoe store next door (as can be seen in the photo above). The owner came out and gave the ramen people an earful, and then the staff asked us to queue up on the other side.
Once we were in, it was ramen time. Since we could barely speak French and the staff was almost in the same predicament, we resorted to some of our recently-learned Japanese to order (broken French to broken French vs. broken Japanese to native Japanese). I knew not deleting the app from my phone would come in handy! We had a couple of ramens, an order of gyoza, and a bowl of steamed rice. As can be seen from the photo, the ramen was authentic: rich, greasy, and delicious. Oishii!
From Little Tokyo, we took the Métro from Pyramides back to Trocadéro; it was our last night in Paris after all, and we hadn’t yet seen the Eiffel Tower at night, not to mention we needed to walk off our hearty meal. Luckily, unlike earlier in the afternoon, the sky was much clearer and we were offered breathtaking views of the tower at night.
It was still cold and rainy, but our last full day in Paris ended in a completely different fashion than the way it started. That’s the way life unfolds – one moment it might seem like things couldn’t get any worse, and the next moment it might seem like things can’t get any better. If anything, the way this day turned out taught me that you just gotta keep going, because in the end the good will outweigh the bad, by far.
So as not to sidetrack this post, I posted a separate gallery of the Aquarium de Paris photos.