Eiffel Tower, Arch of Triumph, Champs Elysees

Trip Start Jun 09, 2008
Trip End Jul 04, 2008

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Where I stayed

Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Tuesday, June 10, 2008

  When I decided to take which airline to Paris, Chinese companies looked cheap. The price was JPY 55k (USD 520), exclusive of taxes. On the other hand, the price of Emirates was 100k yen (USD 940). However, I have never been to Middle East, which is very attractive and heard the Emirates flights were luxurious, but very comfortable. I looked on it as once-in-a-life-time chance and bought an Emirates ticket. As a result, it turned out to be excellent and difficult to complain. Each seat had each Video screen, Everyone got a pouch with a toothbrush and socks in it, and in-flight meals were tasty. In addition, the flight attendant uniforms and the desert pictures on the inside of the aircraft had an beautiful Arabic taste.

    The flight from Nagoya, my home town, to Paris was pretty long, and so Dubai worked like an oasis in the desert, thanks to Emirates Airline. Dubai airport was open 24/7, so a lot of travelers were taking a nap on the floor of the hall. I walked around the airport to get information for Dubai, because I had a plan to stop over there on my way back to Japan. Unfortunately, I found only a simple map of U.A.E. in a pamphlet, but no brochures, no city maps and, of course, no tourist information. However I didn't care, because the next time I visit Dubai would be about one month later.

   Anyway, the topic is Paris. At the airport, I found you were able to buy even a train ticket by credit card! I had some euros, which I bought at Nagoya Airport, but I used a credit card for the experience.  Taking it into account that Paris is one the most developed cities in Europe, it may have been nothing, but a small surprise to me. On my way to the city center, a friendly French lady told me how to get to the station which was close to my hostel, even though I didn't ask her. But just the little kindness made me happy enough. Paris is an international city, where a few different races are mixed up and I didn't get much less strange stares for Asians than in other European cities. But it was obvious that I was a tourist with a large backpack. The guitarist, all of a sudden, started playing on the train and, like it or not, all the passengers in the cart had to listen to his music. I don't know whether it is commonplance in France, but I was tired and didn't feel like listening. However, the lady gave him a few coins and it was also impressing me.

   I chose one of the cheapest hostels in the city, Aloha Hostel, costing EUR 23 (USD 37) per night, and it was just OK.  It was within walking distance from the closest subway station. Unfortunately, they didn't accept any credit cards and as always, on TV in the lounge was football! I stayed in a mixed dorm where I met Anna, a girl from Colombia. So I tried a few Spanish words I knew to her and made myself understood. It made me a little bit happy again. In Paris, until nine in the evening, it was still light out. So, although I arrived at my hostel around three, I had plenty of time to go sightseeing. 

  My first destination was the Eiffel Tower. I had seen some high towers around the world, but I had never felt like going up them, because it is not necessarily possible to get a good panorama view. A lot of countries are eager to build the highest tower in the world and so the world record of the highest tower is always changing. At least, however, at the time of the World Expo of Paris in 1889, the Eiffel Tower was the highest of the world at 324 meters. At a glance, I liked its brown color. The shape of the tower was similar to Tokyo Tower, but the color was somehow more attractive. So I made up my mind to go up. There were two options: an elevator and stairs. I instantly decided to take stairs after I saw a long waiting line to take elevators. The entrance fee was EUR 4. While I was waiting to get an entrance ticket, a Bulgarian asked me why there were a lot of guards around the tower and then I realized them and their precaution for a terrorist attack. Needless to say, I have got a whole view of Paris up there, but the view of the bottom of the tower was also interesting, which was possible to get because of its shape of the tower

Paris, France: Icons of the City Video
The Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral are introduced in this video. I am not a Christian, so I didn't realize the carvings of the cathedral illustrate stories from the Bible.  

  Next, I visited the Arch of Triumph. It took me 30 mins to get there on foot from the Eiffel Tower. There was a ceremorny held under the arch with an limited access and visiters waiting for it to finish. I was a little bit irritated, because the big cheeses of the ceremony lingered for a long time even after the ceremony. (I didn't know the aim of the ceremony at that time, but it may be a cermony for D-Day.) The appearance of the arch from a distance was grand,  but you may not realize the beautiful inscripts inside of the arch from common pictures in guidebooks. I couldn't read the inscripts at all, though. 

The National Monument Centre Arc de Triomphe Website
General information for tourists is useful. There are also three videos in French in the website. All of them are very short and not worth watching.   

  I didn't know what time it was at the moment, but it was still light out. So I walked along the Champs Elysees to Place de la Concord. I didn't know why the street was so popular, although there may be a historical reason. I just got tired from a long walk. When I reached my hostel, it was half past nine, the time to go to bed. 

One of the World's Greatest Walks Video
I was so intrigued by the dark history of Place de la Concord briefed in the video. If I had known the story, I would have spent more time there. 

The Most Famous Avenue of Paris, France Video
It is needless to say the avenue is Champs Elysees. Strangely, when I walked down the avenue, I didn't think it was as beautiful as that in this video.
Beautiful Paris, Forever:Paris and the Banks of the Seine Video
The video is interesting. I didn't know the effort the Paris government made to preserve the beautiful landscapes of the city.

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