Saturday, 8 June 2013

The Paris Diary: La tour Eiffel

The Champ de Mars
Saturday was a very different sort of day - starting out the many failed attempts at purchasing a Navigo Card (the new version of the Carte Orange, a metro travel card reserved for those who work in the Île-de-France) due to "technical difficulties", (despite plenty of employees telling me where to go, it seemed none of them knew it was closed) leaving me and a few other fellow citoyens scratching our heads at the SNCF office in Gare du Nord.

After this was a brief trip into Barbès for some UK-to-Europe socket adaptors (nowhere had them - not even Carrefour or Tatti!) and then for a French sim card (again, no-one had them except for Lebara sims, however our landlord has given us a phone with free UK calls, so there would be no need... all I need is internet!). Instead I decided to buy lunch for my family and walk to where they were staying, but as soon as they came down and saw my bulging bags they told me I was too late - they'd already had lunch!

Brasserie de la Tour Eiffel
However the day was turned around with a trip to the Eiffel Tower and then La Brasserie de la Tour Eiffel, a French restaurant just around the corner. I have to admit, I don't really get why people visit the Eiffel Tower. Sure, it's a breath-taking monument, especially when you see it for the first time, but to queue for a good while and spend a good amount of money to climb some stairs to see Paris from above - when there's plenty of other places to do the exact same thing for free - has me confused. It's basically France's answer to the Iron Giant - with a pricey fee, e.g. a plastic 330ml bottle of Coca Cola costs €5 there!

The Eiffel Tower
The restaurant however was amazing. Pricey and completely worth it - I had the best bolognese ever (even if it's not very French!). Then it was a quick run back to Toracdéro metro to avoid a heavy storm and all the way to Abbesses for a good walk around the - sadly closed - patisseries. The proprietor of La Brasserie did however recommend visiting Madeleine for the best patisseries - something I'll have to take up soon!

I also will quickly mention how I got locked out on the street - despite the three keys and five flights of creaky wooden stairs to get in, there's also a code on the main door that I hadn't been told. Magically the caretaker was sitting at the first floor window and shouted it to me, otherwise I don't know what I would have done!

Tip of the Day: Buy at least two adaptors before travelling abroad!

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