Le Tour Eiffel

March 16, 2013-LaTourEiffel-3206

The Eiffel Tower was built in 1889 as an entrance to the World’s Fair (the reason for this someone rare view).  Everyone has seen the Eiffel Tower in photos from a distance, so I decided to try and mix it up a little. It was the tallest structure in the world for roughly 40 years.


The private 3-person room was definitely a great idea for this trip.  It meant a good night’s sleep, a clean bathroom/shower, and some security at night.  After all, we decided we’d only book one room, since our bus back to the airport was at 6am on Sunday morning.  Crazy? Well, Europe has made a dent in our wallets.  And by dent, I mean a crater.  Study A(broke).

After a simple croissant, bread, and coffee breakfast.  We set off towards Versailles for the first trip of the day.  Versailles is about a half hour outside of the city, but is very simple to get to.  A simple regional rail brings you within about a quarter of a mile of the ground’s gates.

March 16, 2013-VersaillesLOUISXIV-3034Statue of Louis XIV – One of the Kings who played a major role in the development of the property

Walking up to the gates, clad in gold, the Chateau de Versailles looms ahead, with its gardens in the back.  We walked to the ticket booth to take a look to see how much it’d cost to walk around the Chateau.  France was good to us.  With our roughly 160 euro visa’s, we were waived of the admission fee!  In almost all of their monuments and museums, students and youth under a certain age are free (awesome!).

March 16, 2013-VersaillesGoldGate-3052 Gate to the Chateau

March 16, 2013-VersaillesGardens-3084Gardens to the South Side

The weather forecast had said rain was a possiblility around 1pm, so we decided it was best to check out the gardens before going inside.  The Gardens are HUGE.  Acres upon acres of perfectly lined trees, shrubs, statues, ponds, and fountains.  Thank you King Louis XIV, you did something great.

March 16, 2013-VersaillesGarden2-3093 Major Part of the Gardens to West

March 16, 2013-VersaillesFountain-3116Front of the Grand Canal

March 16, 2013-VersaillesGardens1-3122Perfectly Groomed Trees

March 16, 2013-VersaillesGarden4-3106The Colonnade

Unfortunately it’s still very cold in Paris (snow still on the ground cold) so everything was dead and many statues were still covered.  Even though we couldn’t see some water flowing out of the statues, there is no reason to not be able to respect the beauty of the place.  We walked around for roughly two hours before venturing inside.

March 16, 2013-VersaillesGarden3-3102Snow…

March 16, 2013-VersaillesChateau-3141King’s Courtyard/Front of the Chateau

They have done an amazing job restoring the chateau and making it touristy friendly.  The tour of the inside had some amazing videos of the progression of the property along with 3D representations.  Truly hard to imagine living there/owning the property, but I definitely wouldn’t hate it.

March 16, 2013-VersaillesLouis-3145Sculpture of King Louis XIV

March 16, 2013-VersaillesLeRoi-3180The King’s Apartment

March 16, 2013-VersaillesHallofMirrors-3184Hall of Mirrors

After a short train ride back towards the city, we hopped off near the Eiffel Tower. There was some sort of trail race ending right before the tower that we walked by.  Made me miss racing even more, but even more excited for the season in a few short months!

With the tower being possibly one of the most prominent/frequent images I have seen in my life, I thought I knew what I was about to see.  Not surprisingly, I wasn’t.  The Tower is MASSIVE.  Standing under it is something else.  We walked around the base a little and was even able to enjoy it with French military men walking around with SCAR rifles.

We got a better vantage point from the Esplanade du Trocadero, instead of the more common Champ de Mars.  There was some sort of car show/race leaving near the Esplanade, which we still have no idea was.  Lots of activity in the area!

March 16, 2013-LaTourEiffelGroup-3235Group

A few miles later, we were climbing the Arc de Triomphe!  (Another free ticket thanks to the student visa).  This was one of the most worth while things we did.  The top of the Arc gives you an amazing view of the Champs de Elysees along with the rest of the city (see tomorrows photo!).

Another 2.5 miles later (we walked a crazy amount today), we had made it down the Champs de Elysees to the Louvre.  We walked in and found it was closing in ten minutes. That pretty meant one thing, a sprint to the Mona Lisa.  As expected, they could have basically just had a copy on the wall, and I wouldn’t have known the difference.  I really should look into it, but I don’t understand why it is so famous.. there were thousands of other more impressive paintings in the Louvre that I wish I had seen

March 16, 2013-LouvreMona-3363There it is…

We went to a fondue place for dinner which was a pretty cool experience.  They served us cheese fondue with bread and beef.  The wine that was served with the meal was in baby bottles… that was a first.

IMG_0783Cheese Fondue (iPhone)

IMG_0781Wine Baby Bottles.. (iPhone)

After dinner we headed to a club/bar/terrace called Wanderlust.  The place is pretty popular in Paris when it is warmer for it’s terrace along the river.  Unfortunately it was pretty cold still, so the terrace was out of the picture.  After a few hours, we headed out back to Steve’s apartment to continue the marathon of the day…

…To be continued tomorrow.

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