Friday, July 25, 2014

Cruise on the Siene

Due to a long day in Bordeaux, we had kept the next day light on purpose. We had only two items on our agenda - a visit to Montparnasse Observatory and a cruise on river Siene ending with a visit to Eiffel Tower.

We left the hotel around noon and found absolutely no queue at the observatory. The view of Paris is amazing from this place. It has 59 floors of which the 56th floor and the terrace are open to public. The view covers a radius of 40 km; aircrafts can be seen taking off from Orly airport. 

We took an elevator to 56th floor and spent some time drinking more rose wine at the café cum bar there before we walked up a few flights of stairs to the terrace. It was a very sunny day and almost on the verge of being hot. Hence we couldn't spend much time on the terrace and came back down on 56th floor as the view is beautiful from this height as well.

After that we headed towards a tour agency at rue de Pyramides. Since July is a peak season and I wasn't very organized while planning the vacation, I couldn't procure regular admission tickets or even guided tour tickets to the Eiffel. The only option left was an expensive combination of late evening city tour + cruise on Seine + Visit to Eiffel. This was my first (and hopefully last) experience of boarding a tourist bus with a planned agenda.

We started with the 75 minute long cruise on the Seine. The hot day had given way to a warm evening and it was a pleasurable ride. It was a lovely way of looking at the attractions that we had been to and those that we had skipped. Overall worth the price.

Then we proceeded to climb the Eiffel where I almost fainted at the sight of 2 mile long queue. However we had priority entry as we were with a guide and we went directly to the elevator lobby. These elevators go from ground to Level 1 and Level 2. For Level 3, one has to purchase a separate ticket (at ground floor) and then take a different elevator from Level 2. The elevator took 15 minutes to arrive at the ground floor and we decided to head directly to Level 2 instead of stopping at Level 1 because of the long wait time for the elevator.

As beautiful as it looked from a distance, up close it just felt like a big iron structure - I couldn't feel the beauty of it while standing on it. However I am aware that the Eiffel is an engineering marvel - Towering nearly 320 meters tall, and weighing 10,100 tons, the Eiffel tower stands both as a landmark, recognizable throughout the world as the icon of the city of Paris, and as a monumental example of materials' structure, properties and performance.

I also didn't find the view of Paris from Eiffel as stunning as it was from Montparnasse Tower. But that's probably because we couldn't make it to Level 3 as we hadn't purchased the tickets needed for it and we were in no mood to go down and stand in a long queue and then wait 15 minutes again for elevators. So we decided to head back down which meant almost 20 min of wait this time before the elevator arrived.
Once down we decided to skip the evening city tour by bus and headed towards the metro station. On the way, we crossed Seine and went through Jardins (gardens) du Torcadero and Palais de Chaillot (a building that houses couple of museums now). The view of Eiffel from Palais de Chaillot was breathtaking - the puddling iron of Eiffel shined like bronze under the evening rays of the setting sun and Seine flowed in front like a soulful melody. I chose to enjoy the beauty of the Eiffel from this vantage point in stead of losing the moment by taking pictures. Soon the sun set and the temperatures dropped again and we boarded the metro back to the hotel.

View of Eiffel from Montparnasse

View of Paris from Montparnasse
View of Eiffel from river Seine
While on cruise on Seine

View from Eiffel Tower

No comments:

Post a Comment