on March 7, 2012
The three of us took a combination tour. Firstwe boated on the Seine. Seconded we toured the Eiffle Tower's observation platform on level 2, then had a meal on level 1. We saw two completely different perspectives of the city. Looking from down: on the boat ride we saw a lot of the underside of bridges. That was interesting. We recognized places that were part of movie backgrounds. It was a lovely bright sunny day. We also were impressed with the majesty of the buildings bordering the river banks. I bought an expensive guidebook sold on board that helped identify landmarks as we passed. We started at the foot of the Eiffle tower and turned around just past Isle St. Louis. I think the highlights were the Alexander Bridge and Notre Dame. Word to the wise, the seats running down the middle of the boat and facing out are probably the best. Almost all my photos taken from the lower seats facing front are obstructed by heads or other people's cameras being held up.Looking from up: that is from the 2nd level of the Eiffle Tower was an awesome experience. The city of Paris is vast. Every side of the tower offered us views of historical landmarks, parks, and other interesting landmarks. We were given enough time before our meal to make the round trip of the platform, snapping pictures and oohing-aahing as we walked. One good tip from our guide. When the elevator opens to viewing platform, walk directly over to the stairs and go down on flight to another viewing platform that is less crowded. That worked like a charm. Time was up, so we lined up to reboard the elevator for our trip down to the dining level. This is adventure in itself. We were packed in like sardines. When the elevator was in motion, the car shifted position as the elevator shaft is not straight up and down, it follows the curve of the tower's leg. I'd been in the St.Louis Arch elevator, which was very small and made violent jerks to keep level. This ride had a bigger car, but it was so densely filled I don't think anyone could have fallen down when the car corrected its position. It really was a very smooth ride. Our meal was very interesting. Our servers were patient and entertaining. We had lots of questions,too. Appetizer was salmon...raw and wiggley thin pink slices that were decorated with slivers of red and green bell peppers. On the side was a very dense greyish looking bread. The main course brought us a mystery. The plate was layered: first layer was a blond gravy with not much flavor, topped with Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, that was topped with chicken breast and the mystery topping that was a white foam. The whole thing was garnished with asparagus spears and cherry tomatoes. Back to the mystery...our waiter told us the white foam was aereated turnips. Well, it looked interesting! Our dessert was alternating scoops of vanilla ice cream and whipped cream between pecan encrusted pastry. I guess my surprise was that French cooking I had heard so much about was so bland. Perhaps a better word would be subtle.It was full dark when we finished our meal and left the tower. The number of hawkers below were doubled in number and now had lighted toys to sell. Every few minutes the tower went into a garish light show mode of strobe setting and chasers. Kinda wish I hadn't seen that.
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