Paris, France: We must keep busy so we don't fall asleep. Big Day Today. I booked a three-course lunch with wine pairings with famed French chef Alain Ducasse. He has a boat! The boat is ridiculously beautiful and it is electric - so no diesel smell nor engine vibration. I will guarantee you, Mr. Ducasse was no where even near his boat at any time today, but this mere fact did not stop his staff from serving us a wonderful meal.
After coffee at our hotel, we walked north to the Seine River and took a left until we reached the luncheon boat which is docked just across the river from the Eiffel Tower. It was over two miles from our hotel to the floating meal.
Then we crossed the river on a pedestrian bridge and followed the river a few blocks to the bridge at the tower to find our waiting luncheon vessel. After checking-in, we were seated on the starboard side of the boat, with full views to the Eiffel Tower. Tables for two are just perfect for this dining experience, as they are placed around the perimeter of the boat, with floor-to-ceiling glass walls to enjoy the beautiful Paris views as the boat goes up and down the Seine in the heart of Paris.
We were greeted with champagne and several bite-sized portions of appetizers. I did not take a photo of every morsel, but have several to share with you tonight. True-to-form, we each chose the same choices from the menu. Surprise!
Though we could each order one dessert with our meal, they kept bringing out more bit-sized sweets and occasionally tid-bits between courses like we might starve if left idle for two minutes. All-in-all a fun dining experience. Ducasse is a mad-scientist with his unusual creations and combinations. Who thinks to smoke potatoes? A fabulous afternoon. I made a 90 second video, which is terribly not-edited and shot through the boat's glass windows. Enjoy, or just skip ahead:
The minute the boat docked after the luncheon cruise, we disembarked and rushed across the river to meet our guide for a ride to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Of all the times we have visited Paris, neither of us has ever been on/inside/up the Eiffel Tower. We have photos of us posed in front of the tower. We have seen it from the river. We have seen it sparkle from a hotel room balcony - and from the top of the Ferris wheel in the Tuileries Garden. Never actually been on the tower. Time to fix that. (Lisa and her family went up during their visit in July.) Following Lisa's advice, we booked a tour ticket so we would be able to "skip the line" and have access to the elevator. After our luncheon, we met our guide and headed over to the tower. As Lisa had told us, the SKIP THE LINE feature does not mean you still will not have to wait in line for ticket scanning, hand baggage searching, hand bagging x-raying, and waiting for masses of people to get into and up the lifts to the top of the tower. What you do get to skip is standing in line with the masses who are waiting to go through security. Today, this easily saved us two hours of line-standing. Our guide (Zack, a law student with Viator tours) was personable and funny and gave us so many fun facts about the tower.
We learned today the Eiffel Tower was originally painted lipstick-red for the Paris Exposition. Mr. Eiffel hated the color, as he wanted it be metallic gold. There was no explanation given to us as to why it was painted it red if Mr. Eiffel designed the tower, built the tower, and paid for the tower? Anyway, for the 2024 Paris Olympics, the tower will be metallic gold and the paint job is over half-way complete. (They started at the top are working their brushes down to the ground.)
We stayed with our group until the second level, where our informative guide left us on our own with instructions that we could stay on the tower until it closed. We took the elevator from the mid level to the very top and walked the perimeter of the platform nearly a 1000 feet high. DT was not bothered with his random vertigo today, but it was a bit disconcerting being up so high and dealing with such crowds was not pleasant.
We stood in more lines to catch the two elevators down to earth and began the long slog back to our hotel.
We stopped at a café on the lovely car-free Rue Cler for a cold drink, then continued to our hotel for a quick rest.
We ended up going to Café de Flore on the corner of our hotel for a light meal. Yes, it is touristy, but this café has a menu filled with small plates and salads - which was just perfect after our massive luncheon. Plus, we had never dined here before. Checking so many things off our "let's do this" list today.
Until my next update, I remain your touristy correspondent.
Pedometer: 21,000 steps.