We got up Friday morning, got a cappuccino at the hotel breakfast bar, and walked to the metro station. This time there were a million vendors set up along the sidewalk, much like the markets we saw all over Rome.
The metro drops off across the street from the Arc de Triomphe, so we took the pedestrian tunnel over to the plaza. There was a huge line for tickets, and we weren’t even sure what that was for. We followed everyone else outside so we could just take pictures. (I think the tickets are so you could go up to the top. I didn’t even know that was possible! It was kind of London-y and overcast in Paris, so we didn’t feel like we missed much.)
We could see the Eiffel Tower in the distance! Once again, I was shocked at how big it was.
We headed down the Champs Elysees, taking way too much pleasure in doing super-touristy things. It just seemed extra-funny in Paris. We stopped into a patisserie and bought pain au chocolate, then kept walking.
Back out on the Champs Elysees, I noticed a guy who appeared to drop something very near us, then go scrambling to pick it up. When I looked to see what it was, there was nothing on the ground, and yet he suddenly he had a ring in his hand. He tried to get our attention to point it out. I knew it was some kind of scam, so we kept walking. (I figured it was the typical ‘distract them while someone else picks their pocket’ routine.) It was so obvious, though, I wasn’t sure how he could possibly get away with it.
The President had made Matt an even bigger fan of Citroen, so we stopped into their multi-level museum/shop and checked out the cars. Matt bought a model of the President so we could take our awesome car home with us.
We walked down a few more blocks, then cut over to the river to find the Batobus stop. It’s the water taxi that stops at several points along the Seine. That worked pretty well in London on a short trip, so it seemed ideal in Paris as well.
The boat arrived in ten minutes or so, and we all piled aboard. We were planning on riding down to the Eiffel Tower, the last stop.
The Eiffel Tower was even more gigantic up close! We went upstairs from the boat launch and immediately noticed the massive lines underneath. We hadn’t really planned on going up in the tower if it was really busy, but had no idea it would be that busy. As we wandered around underneath, though, we soon figured out why: only one of the elevators in each tower was running, so it was doubling the wait times.
After taking a bunch of photos there, we went back down to the Batobus and boarded one for the Musee d’Orsay. We didn’t really have anything in particular to see there, we just knew it was famous, and we figured we could probably find some lunch over there too. At the top of the ramp from the dock, we saw another guy pulling the exact same ring scam in front of us! We ignored him as well and kept going, but I couldn’t stop laughing about it.
The museum also had a massive line out front. We walked around it and headed into the neighborhood to look for restaurants. It was lunchtime, so everything was pretty busy. We found a place with a patio that looked decent, so we tried to get the server’s attention. We thought she was going to seat us, and then she didn’t, and seemed bothered that I was standing there looking at the map. Matt said she was being really snooty, so we decided look elsewhere.
We walked a few more blocks, and I’m glad we did, because then we found Le Square. We got a table on the sidewalk, and ordered their lunch deal that included an appetizer and entree. They had Leffe on the menu, too, which was awesome. (Though if you pronounce it the correct way, like the Belgians do, a French speaker will correct you. Haha.) I had goat cheese on toast and a raviolo, and Matt had serrano ham on toast and beef tartare with frites.
Our lunch was excellent, so we were very pleased we’d found that place. We headed back in the general direction of the river, passing the National Assembly building along the way.
Back near the Batobus stop, we noticed that the British couple in front of us was talking to a woman about a gold ring. She had apparently given it to them, and was asking for money for it. They were laughing and refusing to pay or give the ring back, because they were obviously wise to it. (Here’s more about how it works… it’s not really as shady as it looks.)
We got back on the Batobus to ride back over to the stop near Notre Dame, so we could take Bally to the Hotel de Ville.
I love the walkways all along the river in Paris. There were so many couples sitting alongside the river, and people having lunch. That’s really awesome.
We got off the Batobus and walked over to the Hotel de Ville to see it during the day.
Bally got his photo taken with Tony Parker this time.
From there, we went over to find the Pompidou Center.
The plaza surrounding it was crowded with locals, tourists, and buskers. It was really interesting, and I loved the modern art fountain.
From there, we went to see the Louvre!
It’s too bad it was overcast again, but at least it wasn’t raining.
After wandering around the Louvre for a while, we went to find the Ritz. It’s another of the super-famous cocktail bars where Hemingway used to hang out. It took us a while to find it, and it was clear just from the outside that we would never be well-dressed enough to be in there. But we played the tourist card and went in anyway.
We got a table and they brought us snacks and a menu. The cocktails were all 30 EUROS. There isn’t a drink in the world worth 30 euros, but apparently that’s the price you pay at the Ritz. I got a sidecar, and Matt got a French 75. We sat there laughing about how ridiculous it was to pay 30 euros for a drink. And I took a picture of Bally on the table. What were the French going to do, disapprove? They do that anyway.
We stopped to use the fancy restrooms in the hotel before leaving, and the women’s room had a MAID. Like, wearing a French maid uniform. God, that was uncomfortable. There was also a porter turning the revolving door, because obviously people couldn’t do that themselves. Rich people are hilarious.
We walked over to the metro stop by the Opera, the one that’s known for being the scene of the Phantom of the Opera.
We rode to Goncourt, and it didn’t take us too long to find our destination: Baron Samedi. We conveniently arrived right at happy hour, though I wasn’t sure at first they were open because we were the first ones there.
One of the bartenders spoke a tiny bit of English, and the other none at all, but that didn’t matter. We ordered from the menu board and got a table. They had Ti Punch!
Matt was in heaven. They were playing the Dirtbombs, and the bar reminded us of Triple Rock in Minneapolis. For some reason, I’ll never forget that the co-ed bathroom door said ‘Mixte’ on it. A few people came in after us, and they ordered a round of beers, and a round of Ti Punch. Baron Samedi is the kind of bar I’d like to own someday.
Matt got another Ti Punch, and I went with a Kronenburg lest I not remember my name anymore. After that round we needed to find some food, so we set off wandering again. We found a place that reminded us of the Sultans of Kebap, but they didn’t have anything vegetarian (which is really unusual for that kind of place). We walked some more and settled on a restaurant called L’Autre Cafe. I had a salad with grilled cheese toasts and vegetables, and Matt had confit de canard. We had Pernod Ricard to start, and then I had a Leffe while Matt had wine.
After dinner, we stopped at a market on the way back to the Metro and picked up our last hotel-room beers.
We rode back to Hoche, and went to the hotel to finish packing.