After an almost 4 hour train ride from Frankfurt, we arrived in Paris around 1 in the afternoon. Then came the fun part...hauling all of our luggage to our hotel, which was 3 metro changes away. It was an adventure to say the least, but we made it there, dropped off our bags and changed our filthy travel clothes, then made a beeline towards one of Paris's most beloved landmarks, the Eiffel Tower! As we were walking through the 7th arrondissement, we could see the top of the tower peeking out above the quaint cafés and businesses lining the Avenue de la Motte-Picquet. My heart could have burst from my chest when we rounded the corner onto the Champs de Mars and I finally had the full scope of the Eiffel Tower in my sights. There it stood...hard ironed, commanding, larger than I'd ever imagined; the iconic symbol of the city of love...right before my tourist eyes. I never thought that in my lifetime I'd be standing in Paris with the Eiffel Tower just inches away from me. I remember taking in that sweet moment, thanking God for blessing me, us, with the opportunity to be amongst such an elusive piece of history. Getting to share it with our dear friends was just icing on the cake! Having only ever read about Paris in books and seeing the Eiffel Tower in photos made the moment surreal, like it was a dream. Any second I was going to wake up and be back in my bed, shaking the sleep from my eyes. But it wasn't a dream. We were really there, standing below its iron beams. Naturally, after gazing in awe of it all for quite some time, we whipped out our cameras and took lots of photographic evidence of our good fortune. I could have stood on that patch of grass all day, but we had reservations to venture up into the Eiffel Tower the next afternoon, so we decided to make our way to Le Dôme Café for quick snack. Croque Monsieur's, anyone?
A little French cuisine lesson for you:
Croque Monsieur-a broiled ham and cheese sandwich.
This ham and cheese sandwich becomes a Croque Madame when you add a fried egg on top of it. The French are brilliant...and cheeky, huh? These sammies were delicious. Worth every calorie and over-priced bite, for sure. ;)
After our snack, we really had no agenda. All of our tours started the next morning, so we made our way across the Seine River and walked along the Champs-Élysées for a while. We passed lots of fancy stores, got macarons from Ladurée, and spent some time on the lawn in front of the Les Invalides on our walk back to the hotel before dinner. It was a nice little walking tour to get us acquainted with the lay of the city. As our feet grew tired, we made our way back to the Eiffel Tower area to eat some dinner and catch the tower lit up against the night sky. It couldn't have been a more perfect first afternoon in Paris!
Up next from Paris...Notre Dame Cathedral, Arc de Triomphe, Montparnasse Towers, and our evening on the lawn of the Champs de Mars. Au revoir!