(September 6, 2007) Eiffel tower, Montmartre and Versailles
Tight agenda for this last day. The morning would be spent
visiting Eiffel Tower and then moving to Montmartre in order of see
Sacre Coeur Basilica, then we would walk down from the mount until
reaching the famous Moulin Rouge. After lunching, we would take a train
to Versailles to visit the palace.
Back in Paris, at night, we would do a cruise
along Senna River as final apotheosis.
The spots marked at map for visits on this day are:
0- Hotel Eiffel Cambronne
4- Eiffel Tower
11- Sacre Coeur
12- Moulin Rouge
On despite of yesterday’s tiredness, we do for
going out early as we need the time at afternoon for visiting
Versailles. We take breakfast in a bar very close to the metro station
where we get, as every morning, two Mobilis cards but, this time, for 4
zones, as we need to reach Versailles: 9€ each.
So at 11h we’re going out from Trocadero metro
station and we can see the walls of some palace. Just need to walk a
few meters for the walls to open to access to a big courtyard dominated
by the eternal vigilance of Eiffel Tower. It’s not a beautiful day
today, but views are still there and the tower appears, magnificent, in
front of us, as if it was trying to rip the cloudy layer to let some
rays of light passing through. The first picture we get here is the one
we use as header for these web pages.
The monument is looking with a big rugby oval ball
in the center celebrating the Rugby world cup, which is going to be
played in this city, starting tomorrow, just the day we leave. This
part is limited at sides by Chaillot Palace’s walls and its statues
with this brighter golden things use to have in this city, and in
front, with a stone veranda high as people’s chest, becoming all this
area in a huge balcony to Eiffel Tower
Once we’ve got the pictures we wanted we go downstairs and go
along the little park by one of its sides full of trees for crossing
the bridge. But before we find one of these traditional carousels with
that vintage looking.
At the other riverside the leading is entirely for
the huge mass of iron with that rusty red color which has inspired this
entire Paris travel chronicle look. In a closer look, the first floor –
which is the one we’re going to go to – looks very high. There are some
peculiar elevators on each one of the four legs of the tower, which go
up in diagonal, although one of them is exclusively used by restaurant
customers. The restaurants in the tower are expensive, but the one at
first floor is the “cheaper”.
We purchase a couple of tickets to the stairs to
first floor, which are the cheaper ones (4€) and follow our way up the
steps of this stairs rounding all four sides of the square shape of the
leg, around the hole in the middle for the red elevator. You can enjoy
this path if stopping every short while to watch the views, from higher
every time, to the four cardinal points of the city.
But it is at the end of the stairs, where the
first floor is designed as for having 360º views, with information
about what you’re seeing – or you can see -from every side. For
example, picture at left is showing Trocadero part, which is the point
we are coming from; at right, the Champs de Mars, big gardens between
Eiffel Tower and the Military School appearing on our first photo in
I ask in the restaurant for the chances of having a dinner
tonight in there a little afraid of the prices, which I shouldn’t. Not
because of the prices but because there is no vacancy on the restaurant
for weeks. That’s the reason I was looked by the hostess as if I was
crazy – which is not confirmed yet -.
Restaurant’s name is 58, meaning the number of meters it is.
When we’re done for the four sides of this floor, close to the huge
inflatable rugby ball, we decide to go back down. The visit has taken
40 minutes, which first 10 were spent on coming up the same stairs
we’re going to use for returning to the ground.
We take the metro at Champs de Mars-Tour Eiffel
station and go out from Abesses station after changing line on “Musée
d’Orsay”. We’ve spent 45 minutes in the way, so it’s 13h now and we can
feel the pressure of time. Because of this, of using the cheaper
walking option on Eiffel Tower and because it is free with Mobilis
card, we use funicular of Montmartre to go to the top of the mount…
Before taking funicular we can already see the Basilica of
the Sacred Heart, but now, in a closer look, it is even more beautiful,
with its egg-shaped domes which seem to belong to another continent.
The white stone it is made with looks spectacular and makes the green
statues to stand out. The staircase is full of people seated on and
resting and we look for our way between them to reach the door to go in.
Inside, the white is still the main color, but for
the impressive golden mosaic of Christ in the apse. It’s a pity photos
are not allowed here
In 30 minutes our visit is over and we take the stairs down
slowly, for being able of enjoying the views, and later on, the
neighborhood, with the painters, and we go into a souvenir store and
purchase a model of Notre Dame and Arc du Triomphe because it is the
cheapest place for them. As the store is sited just on the top of the
staircase on the picture at right, we use them to go down and reach the
place with the carousel and fountains which I can clearly recall from
“Amelie” movie. It’s 13:45h and the plan now is passing by Moulin Rouge
before looking for a place to lunch. It seems we’re on time for it.
We don’t get lost in our way down to Boulevard de Clichy.
Since we went out from metro station last time it was obvious we are in
a different kind of Paris area than the ones with all the visits
before, a lot less clean one. But this boulevard, also, is the street
existing on a lot of cities with night clubs and prostitutes. I knew
Moulin Rouge show is based on topless dancers, but I didn’t know it was
the softest show in its street.
So, after passing by several clubs we reach the
famous Moulin Rouge. It’s a visit offering just the icon of the small
red windmill on the roof and a big entrance full of pictures of cabaret
stars and choral dancers with so much feather and so less clothes. It’s
14h, lunch time.
As we still don’t know where to do it, we get our steps out
of the bizarre atmosphere of the boulevard to the Rue Blanche until
reaching Lafayette shopping mall, in front of the Opera. In our way
down here we’ve been able of checking small stores and La Trinité,
which is a beautiful church. But just before going into Lafayette, we
go into another department store: Primptemps. At its top floor there is
a fantastic restaurant where we lunch under a beautiful dome of glass.
We eat a steak tartar and a big plate of
spaghetti, coke and wine, by 52€. One main dish is the normal here.
It’s 15h when we go into Lafayette mall. I’m advising to my
wife they’re too luxury for us so she shouldn’t expect buying
something. The building is magnificent from inside and clothes prices
seem to show a desire of recoup the cost of the construction.
The Opera house is right there, but Eva keeps
looking to a shoe shop window, which is quite usual. Somehow, she wants
to go in and I go too to look after making the visit short, which is
I don’t manage it and we spent more than one hour
inside with a man thinking it is the longest sale he ever had. The
point is the damn shoe shop – avoiding speaking ill of my wife - has
broken our agenda and now we’re in a rush for taking the train to
We see Opera closer and then go to La Madeleine,
which look as ancient Greek temple surprises me, before going down to
metro station. It’s 17:15h and it really seems crazy going to
Versailles so late, but as everything is paid, we’re going to see what
we meet at this time. Paris Museum card guide tells the Palace closes
At least, Madeleine metro station is just two stops from
change to RER going to Versailles in “Invalides” station.
And we arrive around 18:15h. There are two train stations in Versailles
town, but I’d already checked we should get “Versailles – Rive Gauche”
for going to the palace. I try to get my bearings and go to Sceaux
avenue which takes us directly to the palace complex.
While reaching the railings doors we can see we’re walking on the
opposite direction then everyone else. They’re going out from the
place. It’s spitting now too. But we’re already here, so we go in.
Nobody asks us for tickets and we can check we’re not going to be able
of doing interior visit, so we walk along the gardens, getting a bit
On despite of all these bad points, we must
say it is really spectacular. What it will be inside! Gardens are vast
area of well cared vegetation between fountains and statues. We can see
Grand Canal which, in the times of the use of this palace, with king
Louis any-number living in it, was used for the party guests could
arrive by boat. Everything is amazing, which makes I never regretted
this much to be late somewhere and never damned this much a shoe store.
We leave the area a few minutes past 19h for coming back to Paris
with this feeling we’ve missed something good although we’ve liked what
we’ve been able to see of the Versailles palace – or, actually, because
of that -. We go directly to hotel, but we will go out tonight for a
while to do that cruise in Senna by night.
A few minutes to 22h we’re going out from Champs de Mars – Tour Eiffel
metro station and the tower welcome us with a different look than the
one it has this morning due to its colored lights. We walk along the
jetty there looking the offers for cruises and we choose “Bateaux
Parisiens” by 10€ per person. While waiting to leave seated in front of
the boat, with views at right and front, I’m thinking we haven’t used
Museum Pass card today in any place, so we’ve used it wrong in this
travel because on Tuesday it had been saved 15 € to each of us.
We enjoy the sail, taking us under the most beautiful bridges of Paris,
including the one sadly famous because of the car accident where Lady
Di died. The riversides show buildings we’ve already visited with their
look at night, with plenty of light over them. Every seat has an audio
guide which tells stories and history anecdotes continuously. Among
them, one tells how a Nazi major disobeyed Hitler when he ordered
blowing all the bridges up when Paris was going to be taken by allies.
The Eiffel Tower with its colors and its head as a lighthouse is
showing the end of this round trip. It’s a fantastic end to this travel
to this fantastic city.
When going upstairs, in our way to the metro station which will take us
to the bed, Eiffel Tower offers a farewell to us with sparkling lights