A Half-Dozen Healys

The Adventures of Amy, Jason, Seth, Evan, Nora, and Maya

Blog Masthead: A Half-Dozen Healys

Stalking the Eiffel Tower: Three Non-French Speaking Americans Explore Paris

by Amy

Amy: We are thoroughly enjoying our stay in this apartment! We are so grateful to our hosts, who will be arriving home tomorrow. For those of you who were confused about yesterday's blog title, part of our "entrance ticket" to Paris was to transport a rather large and heavy copper fish pan that Joe and Lisa had bought for Joanne back in the states. Jason had meticulously packed the fish pan within our luggage (along with a bottle of Basil Hayden Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey, a request from our host), but the airlines decided to search that bag and throw the weight off-kilter. So the fish pan has heard some sarcastic comments from Jason as he wheeled it through the streets of London and up and down stairs in the subway. But, at long last, it has found it's home!

We slept in a bit this morning, as we were exhausted from yesterday's travel. We learned to use the tub - not being used to a hand shower nozzle, it took some adjusting to figure out how to wash our hair. But soon enough we were washed and ready to set out. We stopped at our favorite creperie from last night for a delicious breakfast. We have been practicing our French by reading the back of the tour books and getting store merchants to take pity on us and teach us words. Of course, Carolyn and I quickly learned the words for "coffee with cream."

We then decided to set out on a tour of "The Things That One Must See When One Is In Paris!" We took the Metro out to the Musee de Louvre. We managed to buy our tickets underground at the subway station, so we avoided the long line once we reached the Louvre itself. Today was the day of "Oops, come back later, the bathroom is closed for cleaning now." Jason was the first victim. We meandered through the Louvre for several hours, taking breaks to sit down and stretch our backs as the books recommended. Sunday late morning seemed to be a good time to visit, as the lines to look at the major works of art were not very long. We gawked at the three most famous works - the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, and the Winged Victory of Samothrace. We walked through several other sections, including Egyptian Antiquities, Objets d'art, and French paintings. We posed with statues and made the requisite jokes about the number of "private parts" on display. (Yes, we're still ten-years-old). We marveled at the size of the Louvre (we didn't even make a dent in what was available).

We left the museum proper and wandered out into the courtyard, where we saw the well-known glass pyramids outside the museum. It was very warm at this point (in the 90s, much warmed than London). We walked through the Jardin des Tuileries, the gardens just outside. They were very pretty, though the flowers looked very hot and sad. We then began our day's goalsetting: "Let's just walk to that arch." "Let's just walk to that street." "Did we want a nice lunch at a restaurant," a waiter enticed us. "Pshaw," we said. We forged onward. And onward. We saw many beautiful sites, and we remarked at how the streets we walked did not have the usual stores and restaurants present in tourist locations. We liked it. After following the Seine, we ended up at an intersection near the Eiffel Tower, where we chose a restaurant to eat some paninis to refuel. We also drank lots of water. Did we mention it was really hot? We toweled ourselves off, and began to "stalk the Eiffel Tower." As we walked closer and closer, we thought we surely must be there yet.

We did reach the Tower. It was massive once we were standing near it, looking much bigger than when we had first spotted it in the distance. Carolyn decided to relax in the park, and Jason and I paid the 3.80 Euro to ascend the stairs to the first landing of the tower. (The line for the elevator was hours long). We paced ourselves going up the stairs, as I didn't want a repeat of the "Diamond Head Stair Climbing Debacle of '98). The observation deck gave us a great view of the city, and Jason took one of his famous panarama pictures. It was romantic to be at the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris right before our third wedding anniversary! Jason even managed to spot Carolyn reading down on the ground (I think he has inhumanly awesome vision), and we videotaped her from way up high.

Going down the stairs proved to be much easier. We met Carolyn, and walked to a Metro station and came back home (eating popsicles on the way). After a nap and some laundry washing, we went out to the street below for dinner. We picked a cute cafe and had some authentic French food. Carolyn had Croque Monsieur (open faced ham and cheese sandwich), and Jason and I shared some fromage (cheese, yummy!) and some tomato and basil penne. I seem to have a mental block and answer all questions here with "Si," instead of "Oui." I did this at the restaurant, and the waiter started giving me Spanish vocabulary because he must have thought that was my country of origin. That was a first for me! Also, we didn't quite remember that a certain phrase meant that we did not have to leave a tip. So our waiter got a nice treat. We relaxed at the apartment after dinner, and now we're going to sleep to prepare for another day.