Eiffel Tower: Sights, sounds & smells…

Photo by Bryon Meyer

Photo by Bryon Meyer

The Eiffel Tower is a “must see” when visiting the grand city of Paris, so we crammed this icon into our itinerary.

We walk from the metro… Hmmm… where is a bathroom?  Ah-ha! Just after we passed the Louvre (and a Gypsy having a loud argument with an African Eiffel Tower vendor), Randy spies a small pay toilet and he pays the lady attendant.  Randy proceeds to conduct his business  only to notice the woman is still standing there watching him.  Awkward…

After a lengthy walk, we arrive at the latticed wrought iron landmark and find we are not alone. The area around this popular tower is crammed with tourists, vendors with large rings of tiny Eiffel Tower replicas, Gypsies attempting to scam tourists… Do you speak English?  Sign my petition for orphans… along with the regular pick pockets. They would have to dig pretty deep to get any of my valuables and I’ve learned to say “No,” so I’m still feeling pretty secure.

We stroll through the area and see a man urinating in the bushes right by the sidewalk. We continue on our way and see another man doing the same thing and we soon discover why.  The only bathroom facilities we could find was one of the automatic pods that takes a minute to disinfect  between users.  Long line backed up waiting, waiting, and waiting some more. This may explain why so many areas in the city smell like urine.

The Eiffel Tower, La Tour Eiffel in French, was the main exhibit of the Paris Exposition — or World’s Fair — of 1889. It was constructed to commemorate the centennial of the French Revolution and to demonstrate France’s industrial prowess to the world. Not all were pleased with the project as a group of 300 artists, sculptors, writers and architects sent a petition to the commissioner of the Paris Exposition, pleading him to halt construction of the “ridiculous tower” that would dominate Paris like a “gigantic black smokestack.”

There are many fun fact to know and tell about this massive structure, but the most interesting to me was the effect of the sun. Logically, the tower was built to sway slightly in the wind, but the sun affects the tower more. As the sun-facing side of the tower heats up, the top moves as much as 7 inches (18 centimeters) away from the sun. The sun also causes the tower to grow about 6 inches.  livescience.com

Even though the tourist trap atmosphere and lack of bathrooms at the Eiffel Tower are negatives, you can’t help but be amazed at the architecture and stare at the design from all angles possible. It is a worthwhile stop.

Best advice when visiting the Eiffel Tower?  Restrict your liquids or wear Depends.

Rollin’ On the River Seine

Since 1991, the Seine is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, protected as an important natural and cultural artifact.

 

 

 

 

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The river runs for 776 km (482 miles) through France and into the English Channel at Le Havre and Honfleur (Belgium). Its source is in the French region of Burgundy, and its mouth is the English Channel. These houseboats could go for quite a ride with that kind of distance. Wonder how much it costs to park here?

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In Paris, the banks of the Seine are connected by a total of 37 bridges and provides plenty of background for photo opps.

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The river’s name originates in the latin word, “sequana”, which some believe relates to a Gaelic name that would have been attributed by the earliest Celtic settlers.2014Paris-1080021dmv

Hey, guys… what’s for dinner? I see wine bottles and glasses, so I’ll bet a fun time will be had by all. I do wonder why so many have their heads down when the view is the selling point of this experience. 2014Paris-1080018dmv

Here come some more boats of tourists using the services of a company called Bateaux-Mouches. (Click on the link for their website and touring options.)

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There are many boat tour operators in Paris offering various levels of service from taxi-boats to private dining experiences. The most famous are still the Bateaux-Mouches.2014Paris-1080015dmvcr

Yep, there they go.2014Paris-1080140dmvWe appear to be forlorn since we did not go on a river boat cruise. It was a lucky day for the cruisers since they were able to watch us watching them.

Inquiring minds want to know…

 

~A Paris Guide:  The River Seine