Photo Diary #2 brings you some of my favorites shots from our walks to the Eiffel Tower and the Garden des Tuileries. Our strategy for our trip to Paris was very simple. Mission #1: Be quintessential flaneurs and walk as much as possible. Mission#2: Eats lots of great food. Mission #3: Do some quality shopping. Sounds easy right? But, Paris is a big city in the truest sense of the term. It’s easy to spend a big chunky of your vacation getting suckered into the worst of tourist traps. To avoid this, whenever I visit a metropolitan city, I make it a point to find a way to cut down the city to a size I can digest in a few short days. This means researching the things that matter most to me and curating a list of must-see (and maybe-see) sights for the stay. This also means I have to except that I won’t see everything. I’ll admit I had trouble excepting that at the end of this visit to Paris.
Google Maps really became my electronic concierge. Leading up to the vacation, I starred interesting restaurants, cafes, shop and landmarks on my map of Paris and saved the map offline. Over time, adding to my Google map gave me an understanding of the different neighborhoods in Paris and a realistic idea of their proximity to our Airbnb. Using this map all along the way, I think we just about walked ourselves to death. I use the health app on iPhone to count my steps and the most we logged was about 30,000 steps in a day. We spent the bulk of our trip walking from the 11th arrondissement down into Le Marais. On one of these days, we ventured on across the Seine to make our way to the Jardin des Tuileries and finally, over to the Eiffel Tower.
Now, I’m sure going to the top of the Eiffel Tower is a wonderful, memorable experience, but I’m not so sure that it would outweigh the misery of waiting in a long queue. I freely admit that I will do anything (or not do anything) to avoid a long queue. So we opted for simply walking to the Eiffel Tower and enjoying the view from below. The park at the bottom of the Eiffel Tower is lovely in its own right. The landscaping is elegant, dreamy and wilder than the perfect tree lines of the Jardin des Tuileries. I was worried that the scene would be nothing more than bus after busload of tourists lining up to make it to the top of the Eiffel Tower, but just a few steps away in the park, there were lots of people picnicking, children playing and people walking dogs. It was a little chilly on that day (note the photo of mulled wine), but the vibe made we wish we had a blanket and picnic basket of our own. One note of complete realness about walking around Paris; On this particular day, I felt like I spent most of my time hunting out a ladies room, buying an obligatory drink for the privilege to use said ladies room, thus beginning the cycle all over again. There’s got to be a better way…or maybe not. I suppose it’s just part of the experience.