Trip Report Day Fifteen: Je Suis Fatigué

I hit snooze on the alarm by accident and fell back asleep, but I got up the second time since I knew we were on a schedule. Grandma had a hard time waking up and was talking near nonsense to me while I got my things together. She was saying something when I went to go take a shower and when I emerged all ready for the day, she woke up and resumed speaking. I had forgotten what she was talking about, but it is sort of impressive that she was able to remember. It didn’t make a ton of sense anyway though, as I said, she wasn’t really awake yet.

She did get up eventually and we went down to have breakfast in the buffet area. I got eggs, sausage, cheese, and fruit (not sure what kind but it was good). After breakfast, Grandma went to the front desk to complain about the room. Our room wasn’t a handicapped room, probably because the cruise decided to switch hotels. Yesterday, our hotel was fully booked, so they didn’t have a handicap room available, but today they did. So the front desk guy said he could get us a handicap room and roll in another bed and give us a shower chair. This was fine by me (and it was pretty much up to me since I would have to repack, unpack, and move everything around myself) so we said we would move our stuff once we got back from the tour.

The tour guide was standing at the concierge desk, but the front desk man told us that he had called and said he was running late, so we sat in the lobby. I read the newspaper until a woman approached me and asked me (in French) if I had a tour and if I was Ms. Beasley. I replied (in French) that yes I had a tour but that Grandma was Mrs. Beasley not me. The tour guide took us out to the car and we loaded the scooter into the back.

I rode in the front seat next to Angelo (our guide) and Grandma sat in the back. We started by going around to the Champs Elysées while Angelo explained the magic of Parisian architecture. It was all designed by a German guy in the 19th century which is why everything is so uniform (except Mont Martre, but we’ll get to that). The buildings in Paris are all 6 stories tall and they can’t be any higher. The exception (there’s always an exception) is Montparnasse Tower which is that ugly, tall, black building you see in pictures taken from the Eiffel Tower and such. It was such an eye sore that a law was passed stating that no buildings in Paris could exceed 6 stories to prevent the city from becoming riddled with ugly, modern skyscrapers. This worked, and now all the tallest buildings are outside the city.

We went passed Les Invalides which is a place built for French soldiers to stay when they were injured. We went by Opera Garnier which I thought was really awesome. It has composers’ heads “carved” into the building with their names and years of life engraved beneath them. I wanted a picture of Debussy (because I watch too much TwoSet Violin for someone who isn’t a classical musician) but I couldn’t seem to find him. I did see Beethoven and Mozart and several others of high achievement. We drove by the Pantheon, Saint Chapelle, The Louvre, and The Arc de Triomphe. We stopped and walked around in the Tuileries Garden which was very nice. It has a big Ferris wheel in it, but it isn’t open until it’s really summer.

Today is technically the first day of summer actually, and there’s a music festival happening. Apparently it’s something that’s happened for over 30 years and different stages are set up around landmarks. All kinds of music is played in the evenings, so no matter what your music taste is, there’s something for you.

Also, I learned the true function of the big cement blocks at the end of the garden.

We went by place de la Concorde and saw the obelisk. Down another street is a monument of Napoleon on some tower. It was once bronze but has turned green. People used to be able to climb the tower, but a lot of people used it to commit suicide. Eventually, some guy jumped off and landed on a woman and her baby and they all died. That’s when the monument stairs were closed. Very sad story.

We stopped and ate in Montmartre. The reason it doesn’t have the same architectural uniformity as the rest of Paris is because it wasn’t built while the architect was still alive. The tour guide and I went to a little cafe and ate. I had salad, he had shrimp and clams. I got confused because the word for clams also sounds like the word for eighteen, but I puzzled it out eventually. We bought a ham sandwich for Grandma to have in the car although she later told me she didn’t like it very much. We went back to the hotel after Montmartre because grandma was tired and we needed to change rooms and prepare for dinner.

The room wasn’t ready yet, so we returned to our old room and I frantically packed everything up. When the room was ready, the front desk called and sent the bellboy and we went down to see the new room.

The new room was on the ground floor at the end of a hallway and the shower had no tub. There’s a lot more space in this room as well. Grandma deemed it acceptable, so the bellboy ran and fetched our bags and sent for someone to bring a showers chair and an extra bed. I asked for them in French successfully.

We got the new room set up and grandma took a shower while I got ready for dinner at Le Jules Verne which is a restaurant in the Eiffel Tower. Grandma finished getting herself ready and we headed to the front to wait for our taxi. While we waited, we spoke to a couple of women and the daughter of one of them (I think they were sisters) about the scooter since their mother was planning on traveling to Paris with a scooter soon as well.

The taxi arrived and we loaded in and drove to the Eiffel Tower. Once there, we went through some confusion with the entrances but eventually got through security just fine. We got to the other side and followed the signs until we were directly under the Tower, and then there were no more signs for the restaurant. We opted to just look for an employee at one of the pillars/legs and found one. He told us that the Jules Verne is closed for two months while they do construction. His boss arrived and confirmed this. We were disappointed, but there wasn’t anything we could do to change it, so we asked if we could still go up and they said yes.

We followed the woman to the elevators and boarded there. It was very cramped as they were trying to pack in as many people as possible. The elevator took us to the first floor where we were able to get a great view of the city.

Then Grandma suggested I go to the second floor and take pictures from there, so I did. What a mistake. It felt like there were a million stairs and I was wearing heels because I had thought we were eating somewhere fancy. My legs were on fire when I finally got to the next floor, and right as I got there Grandma called me to let me know she was done and was going to wait in the cafeteria. Sigh.

I took my time with taking pictures anyway because the boats were going under the bridge on the North side and it was cool. Besides, I had more than earned that view.

When I finished, I descended the stairs (another great feat) and met grandma in the cafeteria on the first floor. I looked for a restaurant on my phone but was exhausted and said we should just go back and eat at the hotel restaurant which was fine by Grandma. We got in an elevator and headed to the ground floor and then hailed a cab to take us back to the hotel.

Even though it wasn’t a fancy restaurant in the Eiffel Tower, the hotel restaurant was still very good. I ordered the yellow chicken breast.

For an appetizer, I was brought some carrot soup which was quite tasty. They also had gluten free bread which seemed freshly baked as it came out very warm and not looking like it was packaged. As far as gluten free bread goes, it tastes pretty good.

My main course came (at last!) and it was beautifully plated. It came with puréed sweet potato, mushrooms, and carrots and potentially beets but I couldn’t tell. I’m not a fan of mushrooms or beats, but in this dish I liked them both, so props to the chef on that one. My only wish is that there would have been more!

Grandma’s back was hurting, so we wrapped up dinner quickly and returned to the room. I’m very tired now and in fact I fell asleep in the middle of writing this and am now typing up the rest at 2am. Grandma said she was just going to take a nap, but she is still snoring away on the rolling bed.

Tomorrow, I will try to exchange my money for euros and get some snacks before my tour of the Catacombs. Grandma is set to tour the Louvre.

Update: just as I started to publish my posts, I spilled the glass of water on my bedside table and had to go get a rag to clean it up. Now I’m fully awake so I guess I’m going to eat some Oreos with Pete McFee and listen to Reply All until I get tired again. Sigh.

3 comments

  1. Great photos from the Eiffel Tower! I’ve only been up there once. I think it must have been in October 1966 (I’ve got the date written down somewhere).
    I was in Paris again two weeks ago and among other things went to an exhibit about how they are planning to re-model and de-uglify the Tour Montparnasse and the adjoining area.

    Like

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