May 2006 - Tokyo & Europe
It was 1030am before I managed to step out on the town and it was straight the the Effiel Tower and to the top... well that's how it worked in my head, the reality involved an epic amount of queues. Queue 1 for the tickets, 2 for the lift, 3 on the second platform to make it to the top. Painful. And the view? Okay, very hazy and overall I much preferred the view from the Arc de Triomphe. There is something about that view, like I said before symmetrical. You feel more in the centre of the city, the straight lines fanning out to many of the major sites of Paris. You're sense of direction is harder to come by in the Tower, for example trying to see The Louvre through the haze (not easy). Number 4 on the queue list was to get back to the second level. Number 5 was where I muttered to myself 'Bugger this. I'm taking the stairs'. Thankful that I didn't try to take the stairs up, legs were jelly 10 minutes after reaching ground level.
The afternoon was spent walking around Paris. Effiel Tower along to Alexander III Bridge, down to Hotel des Invalides, across to the Place de la Concorde, down to the Louvre through Jardin des Tuileries, along the rue du Rivoli to the Champs Elysses and the Hotel. Could have easily spent the rest of the day in the Jardin des Tuileries people watching but with a lack of sunscreen and a 4pm spa appointment the Hotel was calling me back.
It was rather indulgent of me, but I just had to have that Chocolate Massage, unlike the chocolate scrubs and baths that you can have that use real chocolate, this uses Oil that smells like chocolate. In other words you walk around smelling like chocolate until you decide to have a shower afterwards. Yum…. I can still smell it… just kidding I’ve had a shower!
I kicked back after that in my room. There were a lot of interesting noises coming from the room next to mine for the two days that I was there. Either there were high heels coming and going all day, in and out of the room, or the lady next door liked wearing her high heels in the bathroom… and never took them off…. Then there were squeaking noises, so I retaliated by putting the Disney Channel on and made sure the volume was up. Outside both their’s and my rooms was a marble floor that tended to squeak with a particular shoe that I wore and since they weren’t trying to keep the noise down, neither was I. (I also found these shoes to be slightly annoying when walking through the lobby).
Deciding to blow my food budget with a last supper in George V I headed down to the Gallerie for some dinner (and some more people watching of course!). I hadn’t had much to eat during the day so I decided to spoil myself with a glass of wine and the beef that was on the menu. To my surprise what arrived at my table was a rather large chunk of beef that I knew straight away, there was no way I was going to eat that all and I wanted dessert! To tell you the truth I was expecting a little more since I was at the George V, the beef was nice, but in no way spectacular… maybe you have to go to their Premiere Restaurant La Cinc, but since the clothing card that is left in every room says Lady’s should wear a suit or evening dress, I was ill-equipped. Thankfully I had a look at the menu, and it probably would have been a little too much for me. So, stuffed with beef do I try and fit in dessert? The answer would have been yes if either of the following items were on the menu… a) some form of chocolate mousse… or b) chocolate pudding with a liquid centre. The latter was on the menu. 94 euro later (thankfully that was 50% less on checkout) I went back to my room for an early night.
Yet another sleep in later I had to pack to move to another Hotel which is just a few blocks from the Louvre. The George V was beautiful but I needed to get back to reality. And reality set in right about the time I opened the door to my new room, about half the size of the George V room, with a bathroom about a quarter of the size. In FS Provence terms, the whole room was as big as the bedroom, not including the lounge room, bathroom or walk-in wardrobe, in fact I think the bathroom might have even been bigger than this room. Reality indeed. Ironically both my rooms in Paris have had the same room number, a very strange coincidence if you ask me!
So what to do with the rest of the afternoon? Go shopping of course! Most of the shopping was average, couple of cool stores here and there but nothing overly exciting… that was until I went to Galleries Lafayette, now this is my kind of playground. I think I spent a decent two hours in there and completely forgot to buy Sue’s chocolates (don’t worry Sue that’s an excuse to go back!) There must have been a modelling competition in store because on the second level there was a huge queue to have their photos taken. I had had enough of queuing from yesterday, so I didn’t join in the fun. I went up to the roof where there is a pretty good view of Paris, there was a lot of shouting coming from the street; a huge protest walking down the street (no Paris experience is complete without this). The protest stretched as far as the eye could see in either direction, so I decided to take my time getting out of Gallerie Lafayette as I needed to cross that road to get back to my Hotel. I purchased some AAA batteries for my little idog and a drink in the Maccas they have in the building, this was a rather restrained shopping experience for me. By the time I reached the surface again (and by that I mean outside) the protest was still going in true Parisian Style, a sea of people…. CRAZY!
The Louvre will have the pleasure of my presence all day tomorrow, better set the alarm!