We started our day at Sacre Coeur Basilica. The Metro let us off in Montmartre and we wandered in search of the artists' square and then the church. We toured inside the church and then Zoe and I climbed the 300 stairs to the dome where we were treated to an amazing panaorama of Paris. Afterward we had lunch at a nearby cafe. Zoe had a sandwich of gruyere cheese on French bread. After lunch we traveled to the Arc d' Triomphe where Zoe and I again climbed a long spiral staircase to the top for views of the Champs Elysees and the nearby Eiffel tower. Next we hopped the Metro for the Eiffel Tower but shortly after getting in the ticket line they closed access to the top only allowing access to the 2nd floor. We left the line and instead got on a Seine river sightseeing cruise. The cruise described the points of interest along the route and returned us to our Eiffel Tower starting point. By that time access to the top had reopened and we were able to ascend just in time to watch the sun set from the top. Janet and I shared a champagne toast and we returned to the ground with lots of pictures. We walked to the other side of the Seine for a good vantage point to photograph the illuminated Tower. There were some street performers there that kept us entertained until the Eiffel started its sparkle show. Afterwards we went to a cafe in Trocadéro plaza with good food and even better macarons. We got back to the hotel after midnight.
We slept in today and made it to breakfast just before it ended. The day began with a Metro ride to Chateau Vincennes. We toured the grounds, chapel, and the Keep. Next we headed by Metro to Ile de La Cité. We arrived and had a late lunch at an outdoor cafe. We were going to tour St. Chapelle but it appeared to be closing when we arrived. So we went to Notre Dame and toured inside and walked around the perimeter outside. We looked into doing the tower climb but it was closed for the day. We walked from Notre Dame to the Louvre and went inside to photograph the inverted pyramid. Then we walked through the Tuileries gardens all the way to the Concorde plaza. From there we rode the Metro back to the hotel. After a brief rest at the hotel we got ready for our dinner reservation at Ciel de Paris. We took the Metro to dinner and when we arrived we were a little disappointed to be assigned a table in a corner without much of a view. Janet told our waiter that we were celebrating with Zoe and asked if we could move to a table by the window. There appeared to be some discussion between the waiter and manager as to whether that could be allowed but ultimately we were moved to a window table with a very nice view. Dinner was very good. Zoe had a vegetable dish called Vegetable Napoleon. We also had some delicious desserts. It was after midnight again by the time we got back to the hotel.
There was no sleeping in this morning. We planned to go to Versailles but first wanted to be at Notre Dame when they opened the Bell Tower climb. When we arrived the line was already very long. We waited in line for an hour before we could begin the tour. It was worth the wait. At the middle level you can get close up views of the chimera and then climb the rest of the way to the very top of the bell tower where the views of Paris are breathtaking. After returning to ground level we took the train to Versailles. We stopped for lunch at McDonalds where we ordered on self serve kiosks and were surprised to find we could get macarons at the McCafe counter. After lunch we toured the Chateau using self paced audio guides. Then we took a long stroll in the gardens before returning to Paris. On the way back we detoured on the Metro so we could return to the Carette cafe to get more macarons. We had dinner at the hotel restaurant again. It was nice to return a little earlier for a change.
Friday, August 30, 2013