After a few days in Amsterdam, we took the high speed train to Paris. They had free wifi in first class on the train and served a meal and a snack. It was a very comfortable trip. We stayed at the Hotel Leveque, where we had stayed previously but this time we were very disappointed in the room. It was about half the size of the room we had before and looked much more shabby.
When I complained, I was told that the previous time we had stayed here, we had been upgraded to a “triple” and that was why it was larger. We were told that no such rooms were available at this time as the hotel was full. We considered moving to another hotel but then decided that would take up a lot of time and energy and we didn’t plan on spending much time in the hotel anyway. We surrendered to the situation and let go of our expectations and proceeded to have a wonderful time.
Although the room was much too small for two big, 6’4″ men, with no place to put anything, there was a lovely view of the Rue Cler from our balcony.
We visited the Arch Triumph again. We didn’t go in it as we did the last time. We were hungry and looking for some fast food on the Champs Elysees. We found a place called Pans and Friends or Company or something that made great sandwiches and had tables on the sidewalk. We didn’t realize that the metro line under the Champs Elysees was closing early due to construction and so we had to walk quite a ways to get back to where we could catch another line back to our hotel. We got pretty close to our hotel before the entire metro closed and we had to walk the last half mile or so. We felt safe everywhere we went in Paris, though, and everywhere we went in Europe for that matter. We did see a few indigent people sleeping on the street but nothing near the numbers of homeless and indigent on the streets of San Francisco. We didn’t see ANY indigent people in Amsterdam.
When we had visited Paris the last time, we did go up to he top of the Arch Triumph and way, far in the distance, we saw what looked like another, more modern arch and were interested in getting a closer look this time. We took the metro to “modern” Paris and were impressed with the wonderful architecture all around us and the huge plaza absent of automobiles. This arch is actually a 348 foot tall office building. There is an elevator that you can take to an observatory deck but the day we were there, it wasn’t operational.
This was near Le Grande Arch. Milton standing in front of a thumb.
Europeans don’t tend to drink coffee in the same way that most Americans drink coffee. I like a big cup of coffee in the morning and a demi-cup of expresso does not satisfy my needs. And it is a rare thing to ever get a refill of coffee at a restaurant or sodas either. “Breakfast in America” turned out to be our favorite place to start the day as we could get American style coffee with all the refills we wanted. Their western omelette was wonderful. Near each table there was a fifties style toaster and you were brought the bread and made your own toast. It was in the gay neighborhood, too, which made it even more fun for us.
This was my third time up the Eiffel Tower but I just couldn’t see visiting Paris without another trip up. This time we went at night when there is a much shorter wait. In the day time you might stand in line for an hour but we went late enough that we walked right in and went straight away.
We loved strolling in Les Halles and elsewhere in Paris or wherever we were in Europe. Maybe it is because of the density of population in the European cities we visited, or maybe it’s the tourism, but it seems like there is much more “strolling” on the streets of Europe than you see here.
New York’s Time Square is the only place I can think of that might be comparable to Les Halles in Paris, or The Dam in Amsterdam or La Rambles in Barcelona or The Gran Via in Madrid. The last time we were in Europe, we noticed the same thing in Venice, Florence, Rome and Athens. People are in the streets in mass, taking the air and people watching and enjoying life. I think that might contribute to the relative lack of obesity? Maybe they don’t have cable? I guess Americans are more spread out, too and mostly in cars? People do stroll in San Francisco, but no where near the numbers you see in European cities. If you have ever been in San Francisco on New Years Eve, that is kind of what it is like in Les Halles in Paris on a week night (without the goofy hats and noise makers).