Mark\’s Rants, Raves And Other Things ;)

Rants and raves about things that interest me

Paris Day 3

Posted by Mark Sztainbok on April 22, 2008

After breakfast we hopped on a train and headed to the Les Quatre Temps shopping centre in La Défense where we did some shopping at Build-A-Bear Workshop (more about this in a much later post) and Craig did some clothes shopping.

After this we walked outside to look at La Grande Arche, which unlike other arches such as Wellington Arch and Arc de Triomphe, is a modern arch and was only completed in 1989.

We then headed to the station to head back to Central Paris. For some reason my Paris Visite ticket started playing up and wouldn’t be accepted by the ticket machines. I went to the ticket counter and unfortunately the lady there didn’t speak English. I used my limited French to explain that the ticket wasn’t working. She tried to fix it but her computer wasn’t working correctly so she gave me my broken ticket back and a free one to get back into Paris with.

Once we arrived at Charles de Gaulle Étoile station, I went to the ticket counter there and once again the man at the counter didn’t speak English but he was able to replace my ticket. We exited the station and headed up the Champs-Élysées where we had lunch at a French Italian restaurant change called  Bistro Romain.

We then went to look at Arc de Triomphe but had to go to the top one at a time as we were told our camera bags were too big and wouldn’t be able to climb the stairs with them as they are very narrow. As such, one of us had to stay with out bags while the other went to the top. I went up first and then Craig went up while I watched the bags.

We had to walk through a subway to get back to the station and in the subway we stopped by a lady who started talking to Craig and asked him to put out his arm and them proceeded to make a bracelet. She then asked for my arm and started to chat to me and make a bracelet on my arm. When we finished and were about to leave. she asked for €10. I had my suspicions as soon as she came over that she was going to ask for money and this confirmed it. Craig paid the €10 and to make things worse, she expected €10 each for the bracelets. As soon as I heard this, I said no way and proceeded to walk off. Her goon (for better words) who was nearby started to walk towards us but she told him it was OK and said that €5 would be OK. We still refused and walked off. I was actually surprised that Craig stopped in the first place especially given that we were running short on time at this point.

We then headed to Bir-Hakiem station. There we had a coffee at Cafe Eiffel which was located next to the station and then headed off to the Eiffel Tower. Around the base there were a lot of Serbian or Bosnian woman who would ask you if you spoke English and if you said yes should you a prewritten letter which effectively asked for money. Funny thing is that if they asked you if you spoke English and you said no, then they would walk off. They clearly weren’t smart enough to realize that you had to understand what they said in order to reply to them!

We decided to head up the top section of the Eiffel Tower but didn’t realise the queue was going to take so long so we had to quickly have a look and take some photos.

At this point, it was already after 6pm and we need to be at the Moulin Rouge by 7 so we had to rush back to the hotel and quickly iron the clothes we were wearing and have a shower before catching the Metro from Rue du Bac station to Pigalle (which luckily was on the same line).

I’ll talk about our visit to the Moulin Rouge in the next entry.

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