Trocadero, Eiffel Tower, Champs de Mars, four blondes at the Night Café
Back at our hotel, we had a little rest, and then headed out again. We hadn’t been to the Eiffel Tower yet. I know it’s a cliché, but this is Paris and you have to see it.
If you’re heading there, try to get off at the Trocadero Metro station. That puts you right at the Palais de Challoit and the Place Trocadero, two massive buildings that were built for the 1937 Exposition Universelle. They now house museums and theatres. Seems many of Paris’ monumental buildings were built for expositions, including the Eiffel Tower. The buildings frame the Eiffel Tower – a classic Paris view.
The square was full of north African guys trying to sell you little Eiffel Tower trinkets or helicopter toys. Problem is, there are hundreds of these guys and they all have the same stuff! Guys, c’mon, vary up the merch! We made it through the gauntlet without making a purchase (already have a little Eiffel Tower). The best part of the Eiffel Tower show was to come later.
We didn’t go up this time. Next time for sure! We walked under the tower and down into the Champs du Mars. Heading left through the park, we came upon a few very elegant apartment buildings, right on the park. One of the apartments had the lights on and the curtains open. You could see the paintings on the walls, the grand rooms. We wondered who lived there. The apartments had to be worth millions. Just then, a white-haired gentleman entered the room, looked out the window for a moment, walked over to the other window, and slowly started to close the curtains. We imagined what it would be like to live there, in that kind of building, with that view.
From the side street, we saw a larger street with two cafés on opposite corners. A perfect evening for an outside table. No sooner did we find a table with a view, than we got the Eiffel Tower light show. The tower is laced with thousands of lights that seem to flash randomly so that it glitters madly. A cheap thrill, but a fun one.
In front of us was a row of blondes, two young women and a couple, all Americans. They were from Detroit, and one of the women seemed to have just graduated with a chemical engineering degree. Maybe this was their post-grad European tour.
Leaving the café, we crossed the Pont d’Alma over the Seine to get to a Metro stop. On the bridge we saw the statue of the Zouave soldier whose unofficial job it is, is to show everyone the water level on the Seine. If the water level reaches his feet, they close off the footpaths on the banks. Apparently during the great flood of 1910, the water reached his shoulders. Man the lifeboats!
BTW, the Pont d’Alma is close to the tunnel where Princess Di died in the car accident. There’s a Flame of Liberty at one end of the bridge which has become the unofficial memorial for Diana, where you’ll find flowers, drawings and other offerings to the memory of the princess.
Getting into the Metro, we saw a poster for a Munch exhibit. We put it on the agenda for tomorrow, our last full day in Paris. After walking through most of Auvers and our evening that ended at about midnight, we were tired.