It has been fairly crummy weather since leaving Beauvais raining on and off the entire time. It makes it hard to want to get up and get out and walk around a city in. So we slept in a bit more than we wanted again. Lets say around noon.
We planned to meet Jonny at 6pm under the Eiffel Tower, but until then, we were free to do whatever we like. The night before we talked about renting bikes through the city bike service and exploring the city that way so we went online and got day passes for the both of us for 1.70eu each on the Velib site. That doesn’t seem like much but they charge you more and more the longer you keep the bike. Your first half hour is free, the next half is 1 euro, the next is 2, next is 3, and 4 and 5 and you get the point. The bike stations are located every 300 meters (at least that is what they advertise). So we set an alarm for 25 minutes or so and ride on until the alarm goes off and we park the bike. We wait 2 minutes and check out it out again. From there you basically have free transportation all over paris.
It’s a great way to get around on the cheap and cheap, but it is most definitely not for the faint at heart. I would not recommend this for beginners, and some roads, I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone at any level. Drivers seem to disregard cyclists completely, be careful. On the other hand there are some roads that have bike dedicated lanes. Bikes can also share the bus lanes, but apparent so do the scooters, taxis and delivery drivers, so pay attention even in the dedicated lanes. Kristin got her crash course into riding a bike after 12 years here. But she’s a beast and did her best. We even rode up Champs d’Elysee. Not recommended, that’s a shit show to begin with, without adding in bikes.
We rode over to the Arc de Triumph and walked around the base, took pictures and hung out for a bit while it rain some more. When the sun came put we walked around a bit in the are and grabbed some more bikes and road along the river towards the east side of the city eventually ending up at the Eiffel tower. We grabbed another bottle of wine and some fruit and relaxed in the little bit of sun while we waited for Jonny to meet up with us.
After we met up, we walked over to the Trocadero across the river. We were hoping to sit in the cafe inside the Architecture wing because it gives a discreet elevated view of the Eiffel tower and tourists don’t typically know about it, but unfortunately it was closed. Fun fact, in the 1937 worlds fair there were two massive towers erected on each side of the palace one for fascism and another communism. They were to recognize these movements as part of modern life. Pretty crazy, could you imagine what they would look like now if they weren’t removed after the exhibition.
While at work that day, Jonny had been gifted some good quality cheese from a shop he stops by while touring. After talking about the history of the area we decided for dinner to grab some baguette, meat and some more wine and go to the top of Montparnasse Tower and have a little picnic at 210 meters above the city. The building was erected in the 70s and the french consider it the ugliest building in the city and I believe if I recall correctly voted the second ugliest building in the world in 2008. It is also the second highest point in the city, so what better to stand on than the eye sore of the city to watch the sun set. We got to the top 20 minutes before sunset ad watched it fall almost directly behind the Eiffel tower. Absolutely beautiful.
Now dark and getting cold we went downstairs to the top floor to have dinner there instead. Ok, so it isn’t the helicopter pad, but we did get to walk all over it and we could probably had a picnic there if it was still sunny. The cafe on the 59th floor already had stuffs we needed so we ‘borrowed’ 3 glasses and sat in a window table and ate dinner. Did you know every hour on the hour for 5 minutes the Eiffel tower lights up and flashes until the last show at 1am. That last show they turn off the normal lights that are always on and all you see are the flashing ones. I didn’t get to see this but cool to know. Supposedly it runs the city 2000 euro every night to do it. A great ending to another good day.