Climbing Paris

“Hey Mark, How did you loose 20 lbs on your holiday?”

“I ate bread sticks and climbed a bunch of stairs!”

Bread sticks is unfair and truthfully they are quite good but I am starting to miss the idea of a big breakfast, and today even though I have left the Alps behind we found ourselves either gaining or loosing altitude the manual way…. walking up or down stairs.

It seems that Sarah and I left the most iconic Paris landmarks for my last day here. With no rush needed to get through a line (or so we thought) we wandered out to the metro slowly this morning and headed to the Avenue des Champes-Elysees. We had sort of seen it yesterday while watching the last day of the Tour de France but this was our chance to really walk along it.

The Champes-Elysees is something that I have seen once a year on tv as one of the older traditions of July was waking up and watching the Tour de France. The final day of the race comes into the city of Paris and does 9 laps around both the Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe all along the cobblestone streets. When watching the telecast there is usually quite a lot of time and the announcers interject all sorts of French history of the things that are being shown. Today, as the structures were being taken down from the race, Sarah and I walked up the length of the street periodically crossing the street in order to get photographs up towards the Arc.

The Arc de Triomphe is very cool but not unique in the city. There are other Arc’s around in what seems random places (although I am sure they are not) but because of it’s location and size it is the most well known. It is also surrounded by an amazing traffic circle that seems to defy all logic of traffic circles. In no other place have I seen the idea that people getting on to the circle have priority over those already on it but I spent quite a long time today watching and there is logic to it…. just none that I agree with. The Arc itself is quite impressive and we spent the time and suffered our own dizziness climbing the stairs to get to the top. It was the first time we had had a chance to look over the city.


Our next destination and last on the must have places to visit in Paris was the Eiffel Tower. The first thing that my sister did when she made it to Paris was to facebook a picture of the tower out saying that she could see it from her hotel room and so it is rather strange maybe that we didn’t get to it until today. As with everything at the moment we had to stand in line for the security check and by the time we got past that our patience for standing in more lines was limited. So for no strange reason at all when you look at your options you can go stand in the very long line to buy tickets for the elevators or you can go into the very short line for the chance to walk up to the second level of the tower. Feeling that we just hadn’t had our fill of walking or stairs, the short line is where we headed.

Other than the pure ‘athletic’ achievement of walking up the stairs the climb isn’t that bad. I have done the CN Tower stair climb but that is all indoors. This trip is much nicer as it is in the air and of course you do get very hot but hey, look at where you are. With views of the city looked at and many pictures taken we both sat down, had a slushy and then headed back down to ground level.


The rest of the day was taken up with a boat tour along the Seine (great for another angle for pictures) and a proper cafe dinner. And finally some packing up.

So that is it really for part 2 of the trip. I am headed North again tomorrow as I leave my sister behind only to catch up with her in England a day later. Tomorrow I head out for Calais so that I can get the ferry over to Dover the next morning. I like Paris, and it will go into my list of cities worth revisiting which surprisingly isn’t a huge list. I don’t normally enjoy being in cities and would normally choose country side areas on my vacations but places with an obvious soul are places worth coming back too. I like the madness of this place and the way that it handles the masses of people doing what they want to do. The way that it has held on to it’s culture and its place in the world is fantastic too. Finally I love how all of the history blends together to make something quite unique in all of the places I have been to. I feel that cities like Toronto seem to impatient to destroy the ‘old’ things and replace them with what is new and shinny and that they have not figured out a comfortable way to make their own stamp without destroying the old one.

Good on ya Paris. I am sure one day I will be back to see you again.


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