Sunday, September 6, 2009

Saturday Walk to Eiffel Tower with a Croque-Monseiur for Lunch

(Instead of chronicling some of our longer day-trips with one long post, I will sumamrize the walk and reference highlights in later posts. Remember you can click on any picture to enlarge.)

On Heidi and Stephen's first full day, a Saturday, we repeated the walk Amanda and I had done last Friday evening to the Eiffel Tower. Given that this was a Saturday early afternoon and Paris had returned from holiday, we hoped the streets would show a little more life, which they did. Also, weather was a little overcast and cool with threat of small showers.

This the map of our walk, which was followed later by a train ride to Versailles (see later post).

View Walk to Eiffel in a larger map

The walk through Luxembourg Gardens was largely for Heidi and Stephen's benefit as they had not see the western side yet, with all the children's areas (playground, pony rides, etc.). The walk along Rue de Fleurus and Blvd Raspail was unremarkable except for the many retail stores along the boulevard.

We turned left on Rue de Grenelle for reasons I do not recall except those were the instructions in the walking tour that Amanda had been given as a gift by her friend Liz Edwards. Obviously however when you look at the map, we ended up circling back a block to Rue de Varenne and I don't recall anything notable on Rue de Grenelle.... except I just happened to glance down a side street -- Rue de Martignac -- and noticed the two spires of a gothic cathedral just a block away. I recognized the two spires from panoramic views in the past but had never been able to associate them to any structure I was familiar with. Now I know. It is the Basilica of St. Clotilde (see later post).

We returned back to our our path, and on to Rue De Varenne where the Rodin Museum was on the left. You can see into the courtyard with several of his sculptures in plain view. We did not have time to visit the museum on this walk but it is definitely something we wish to return to.

With Les Invalides now in clear view as we approached the Blvd les Invalides, we stopped for lunch at the Café Du Musée Rodin on the corner, a pretty typical Paris corner cafe.

(The golden dome of Napoleon's Tomb is faintly in the background)

I had the Croque-monsieur, which is the fancy french name for a grilled cheese sandwich! (The Croque-madame has a fried or poached egg on top.) Actually, the recipe is a little more than that and this is considered something of a french classic, although I had never heard of it before. The literal translation is "crunchy mister."

After the meal it was time to tour Les Invalides, home of Napoleon's Tomb and the Army Museum. Amanda and I had visited the outside last Friday at night but of course it was closed. Now we would be able to devote a little more time (see later post).

At this point, I was starting to drag a little. While the others stopped in a little shop to get a cheap bottle of wine, I quickly popped in the adjacent shop and bought a Monster Energy drink. I had never had one before but I knew it was going to be a long day.

We then followed the same short path as previously to the Eiffel Tower, walking up the Champs de Mars ("Field of Mars," the God of War), the long public green space that connects the Eiffel Tower to the Military School (École Militaire).

(Picture is compressed due to zoom lens. People in foreground are actually under the Eiffel Tower, with Military School and Montparnasse Tower in background. For better picture (not mine), of the Champs de Mar from the Eiffel Tower, click here.)

We stopped on the grass for a brief wine picnic. They drank the cheap wine they had purchased at a shop after lunch while I finished off the Monster Energy drink which wasn't tasting so good as it did when I started it.

There was an impromptu croquet game just ahead and off to the side a troupe of "actors," led by a guitarist, were performing some goofy dance that was being filmed.

After walking under the Eiffel Tower again so I could take a picture from directly underneath the center of the tower straight up the middle.

Pretty cool, huh?

We then proceeded to the RERC, 350 metes away along the Seine to begin our journey to Versailles (see later post).

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