Following a second, perfect breakfast at La Beaujolais, we headed for the Eiffel Tower, walked under it and made for the bridge over the Seine, taking in the Palais de Chaillot.
This building is described in the Rough Guide as ‘breathtakingly ugly’ but we disagree. In fact, I think it’s quite attractive.
Mind you, I was amazed at the two storey carousel. There’s even seats around level two for parents to sit and watch their kids on the horses.
Now, Mirinda was well prepared to dislike the Naval Museum. She knew it would be full of ships and all things nautical. But, despite herself, she actually enjoyed it.
The models were amazing and the figureheads simply incredible. Some of them were massive.
We wandered right round the first floor then Mirinda sat and read while I attempted to go downstairs. Unfortunately, downstairs was being used for a temporary exhibition so I returned to her and we left.
One thing I really need to say about the museum is the fact that they (being the French) claim to have built the first ironclad warship. While they did produce the first warship clad in iron, it was actually a wooden ship first and they just covered it in iron sheets. They omitted the fact that the British Navy built the ironclad Warrior, from scratch and fully intended to be clad in iron in 1860 and it was the real first one.
I should mention the Eiffel Tower sellers. These are guys who wander around and try to sell tourists tacky little plastic models of the tower – they even have flashing lights! Most of the time they hold onto their tiny towers all threaded through big rings. Sometimes, however, they put their wares down on a piece of material so suckers can see what they’re going to buy. Apparently this is against the law.
On the steps of the Palais de Chaillot, I watched as a guy suddenly wrapped his stuff up and ducked behind a handy corner. He had three friends with him and one of them stood at the corner, watching up the stairs as four policemen started descending towards them. It was all very serious and the Eiffel Tower sellers quickly dispersed as the police headed for them.
A little later we saw some selling some of their little towers to a group of tourists. I had asked Mirinda who she thought actually bought them (they really are rubbish). She pointed to this group around the seller and said “Them.” They were Japanese.
Anyway, we left them to their haggling and popped into a cute little Salon de Tea for a coffee and the biggest ham and cheese baguette I’ve ever seen. It took a while to eat them in our tiny little chairs at the equally tiny table. Eventually we headed off for a wander around the streets, leading up to the Arc de Triomphe.
Paris has an awful lot of art deco buildings, some of them are even included in the Rough Guide. These are always quite extraordinary so we try and find them. We weren’t disappointed.
They all feature the most exquisite carvings, sometimes of faces, sometimes vegetation. They are all pretty amazing.
Eventually we arrived a the Arc de Triomphe. It’s quite amazing. We drove around it the second time we visited Paris on the open topped bus. Today we marvelled at it from across the road on the footpath before heading under the subway to see it up close.
As usual it’s yet another marvellous monument completely ruined by the traffic. Both aesthetically and physically. The sculptures have all been re-made because of damage by the air pollution. Such a shame. Still, at least they’ve been fixed and now treated to last longer. Pity the traffic wasn’t stopped instead.
We then headed down the Champs Elysee, stopping for a bit of a foot rest at a Starbucks before continuing on to the Christmas market.
Unlike our usual Christmas markets, the Paris version is down either side of the very busy street. The constant traffic sort of ruined it. We rather like wandering around the markets we’ve visited in Europe. It’s not quite the same when the traffic is non-stop, noisy, smelly and unavoidable.
Still, we bought some Christmas treats and joined in the general festive fun.
We ended up in the Place de Concorde, opposite the big wheel (not as big as the London Eye, I must add) and surrounded by streams of beeping traffic. We headed for the nearest Metro, our legs and feet begging for rest.
Mirinda ended up being a bit irritated when we realised the Metro line we were on wasn’t going to stop where we wanted it to because of some sort of construction work. We had to get off one stop afterwards and come back a station.
Eventually, we arrived back at the hotel and our feet sighed collective sighs of relief as we collapsed onto the bed.
We had dinner at the hotel, an interesting mix of French and Californian cuisine. My only complaint would be that the lentils and sweet potato mash was a bit strong for the scallops in my main course. Otherwise, it was all lovely.
Bed couldn’t come quick enough.