EuroTrip 2013 | Paris Day 5: Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysees

There it is - the Eiffel Tower

There it is – the Eiffel Tower

Our last day at Paris is today, and we wanted it to be memorable and chill. So we decided to visit a must-see structure in the City of Light – the Eiffel Tower. After a quick metro ride, we were outside the plaza beneath the massive structure. It was insanely big and impressive, and also extremely beautiful in a functional sort of way, if that makes any sense.

When the tower was first built, the locals hated it because they thought it was really ugly – it had been the winner of a competition for a plan to build the tallest building in Paris, and it was three times taller than the next tallest building submission (a civil engineer designed it). Over time the tower has become an iconic symbol of Paris, and the rest is history.

Back to the courtyard. We were met with some bad news after seeing some signs around the area. Apparently there was a strike going on, and elevators to the tower were closed until further notice. Major bummer, but we made do with a nice picnic lunch in the grassy area in front of the tower, enjoying its presence and soaking up some amazing Parisian sunshine.

After lunch we headed to Arc de Triomphe and paid for tickets to get to the top viewing deck. The deck provided a very nice 360 degree view of the entire city, and we snapped some pictures and enjoyed watching the traffic below. The huge traffic circle surrounding the monument is one of the biggest in Paris, spanning nine lanes and experiencing a car accident every 17 minutes on average.

Thankfully we didn’t witness any during our stay, and soon we were walking the streets away from Arc de Triomphe, heading back in the direction of the Louvre. This huge boulevard is known as Champs-Elysees, and is one of the swankiest touristy spots in town. We did a lot of window shopping, watched street performances, and enjoyed another set of best macarons, this time at the famous Laduree.

Interesting thing happened to me earlier today: I experienced my first scam attempt. A man at the Eiffel Tower asked me if I spoke English and tried to get me to sign a pledge sheet to donate money to a “charity.” I refused and later found out that this was a well-practiced scam by some gypsy (Roma) people, and I later saw them again in droves flocking unsuspecting tourists at Champs-Elysees. It was fascinating trying to figure out how they worked (in groups, usually younger girls going around with clipboards), and it gave me a wake-up call to be even more vigilant as we travel to our destinations in Germany, Italy, and Spain.

Anyway, we’re going to call it an early night and wake up around 3 AM to catch our morning flight to Berlin. Au revoir to Paris, hallo to Berlin!

Arc de Triomphe!

Arc de Triomphe!

Read about my other days spent in Paris and London!

Steps taken: 17,716 | Miles walked: 5.87

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