Like I mentioned before, we had purposefully left the big landmarks for weekdays, hoping to avoid huge crowds. We scored at the Eiffel Tower. There were plenty of tourists and even school kids on a nice field trip but we had no trouble getting our passes to start our 1,664 step workout. The weather had turned a bit overcast and brisk with a promise of some rain, which was perfect. This was quite the challenge and the overcoming of fears for 3 of our 6, as there is quite a bit of fear of heights.
Luckily, as we had been already forewarned, the tower is not that big.
So we were prepared for it to not be as tall and towering as imagination can make it. However, in it’s day, it was the tallest tower around. Parisians hated the completed work, calling it an eyesore, but it eventually became the single most iconic landmark representing France.
Fun fact: when Paris was invaded by Hitler and his regime, some of the maintenance crew at the Eiffel cut the cables to the elevators that transported people to the top decks to prevent Hilter from being pictured standing on the decks overlooking Champs-Elysées-a huge statement of dominance to be sure. Hitler declined the 1,600 step alternative, so he never was able to be on the Eiffel Tower.
After our climb, we stood on the sidewalk marvelling at the skill of the drivers attempting the big roundabout that circles the Arc de Triomphe. That was quite a show, and it was done mostly without honking. Very impressive. But then we were faced with a problem: how did one cross the roundabout without being killed, or worse honked at? Luckily the Parisians had thought of this and an underground walkway leads to the very center of the round about so be able to get a close up of the Arc. Now to find the sign showing how to get there….
Another fun fact: every 7 years workers have to paint the tower its trade marked color to prevent the rust and to keep it pretty. If you have ever seen pictures or in real the criss crossing iron bars that make up the tower, you can just imagine how crazy this task is and how expensive. Thank you tourists. Another fun fact: tourists seem to like the tower better than the French still, and a lot of them have never visited.
In the center of the Arc is the Tombe du Soldat Inconnu, a monument dedicated to the services of an unknown soldier (whose body is buried under) and to the common memories of all soldiers killed in any war. An eternal flame burns there and an elderly soldier rotates the flower wreathes.
This day clocked another 20,000 steps so a unanimous vote was made to skip the Musée du Parum. We needed some croissants and a couch. Especially if we were to take on the kings palace in the morning…