So my first day in Paris.
Around 12pm, we got on the RER and headed in. Once we got there, we walked around to try and find something to eat. Grabbed something, and then headed to the Louvre. It was really cool seeing the giant glass pyramid in real life. We then got online and headed below the pyramid to get our tickets. European students get free admission, and since we have our student ID cards from Goldsmiths, we got in for free! Of course, we went right to see the Mona Lisa. It was so crowded around that area. It was no where NEAR as big as I imagined it being. It was a normal sized painting...that didn't look that special at all. Still it was pretty cool to see it.
After the Louvre, we headed toward the Arc de Triomphe. It was a pretty decent walk from the Louvre to the Arc, but majority of it was through a park so that was nice. The arc was another really cool thing to see. Mostly, you revel at its size. After getting our pictures and taking a short break sitting down, we headed to the big center piece, the Eiffel Tower.
Now let me tell you, the Eiffel Tower did NOT disappoint. Not one bit. We all took TONS of pictures of the tower. I mean, the structure of it is just incredible. The whole thing.....just.....we were speechless. We walked around both sides of it, under it, looked at it from every angle. Then, since we were hungry, we went and picked up a few baguettes, some cheese and some wine and headed back to the grass area in front of the tower. We sat down and had a picnic with the tower in the background. After all of that walking, it was so nice to sit. And with the tower as your background....just the most incredible thing ever.
After we finished eating and drinking, we decided it was time to climb this thing. So as dusk began to set in, we made our way back towards the tower. We decided it would be more exciting to take the stairs to the 2nd level as opposed to the elevator. Though it was exhausting, it was definitely a good decision. When you climb the stairs, you really get to see the structure of the tower, and you get to really feel how high up you are going. Though, you don't always want to look down. We were climbing the stairs as the sun was setting...and of course I got some good pictures. 1st level is where all the restaurants are. Plus a big wrap around viewing area. The 2nd level was even cooler...because we were even higher. While we were there, we got to see the tower sparkle. After dark, every hour on the hour the tower sparkles for 5 mins. It was really cool seeing it while on the tower. Not just seeing the tower, but seeing how it lights up the area around it. Then, it was time to go to the top. No stairs for this part. So we got on the elevator and rode it to the top. We got there, looked out the window, and were AMAZED by the view. You see everything. They even have signs around the top to tell you which countries you are facing on different sides of the tower (and how far away they are). I just couldn't get over how high up we were. After taking our final pictures, we headed back down. This time, we took the elevator all the way. They are nice enough not to check tickets going down (so the people who paid for the stairs don't have to walk back down the way they came up). After we got back down to the ground, we walked away from the tower and sat down so we could see it sparkle one last time. It was unreal to be seeing this place in person. It sparkled, the show stopped, and then we headed back to our hotel.
This first day was amazing. Lets hope the rest of the trip is as good as this.