Sunday, September 18th–Paris

Where else do I want to go while in Paris?; the Musee du Quai Branly by Metro; Viator tour of the Eiffel tower; rainy weather so back home by Metro; dinner at Shinjuku Sushi

Grand Hotel Malher



It's just about 11:30 PM and I'm just now getting around to typing my notes up for today even though I've been back here in my room since shortly after 9 this evening. I first did my sorting out of my medicines, placing them in the weekly pill holders I've been using instead of in the bags of bottles they travel in.

That's not what took the most time, however. I decided I really needed to also sort out what I wanted to see each day I have left here in Paris, and the time consuming part of that was making sure I knew which if any days of the week each place was closed then sorting each place out by area and what day I could go, including my remaining concerts (tomorrow night and Sunday evening) and my all day trip to Vaux le Vicomte & Fontainbleau. That's all taken care of now, except for the night bus and night boat tours I'd really like to take if the weather's decent some evening.

This morning I had breakfast downstairs then went across the street to the Franprix to pick up some more juice, chips, and melon/watermelon salad before I left for the day.

Because tonight might have been a late evening if I took the 9 PM night bus tour I skipped going to the Orangerie and left that for a later day. I left here around 11 to go over to the Musee du Quai Branly. I took the Metro over to the Alma/Marceau station not far along the Seine from the museum and passed by the rather lovely but very controversial new Russian Orthodox church which is supposed to open sometime in October.

The first thing I did when I got to the museum was have a very good lunch in the very nice café there. The daily special was duck with sweet potatoes and was excellent (my duck visitors at home will never know). The Musee du Q B really is a delight, with innovative architecture and an amazing collection of anthropological items from around the world intelligently and attractively displayed and in many places you can also see what's in storage and not currently on display which is also cool. There are currently two special exhibitions going on at the M du Q B, both of which are the usual excellent quality and I enjoyed very much although I liked one much better than the other. The special exhibit I liked the most deals with the question of personhood–what is a person, does that apply only to human beings or even just living creatures, questions like that. The other was interesting as well and deals with Westerners as perceived in African art from a certain time period.

The Eiffel Tower is only a few minutes walk from the M du Q B and I got there with quite a bit of time to take pictures and spent about 45 minutes sitting on a bench and reading before I had to find the meeting place around 5 PM for the tour. I have to admit that I misunderstood the Google Maps directions just a bit, probably because my smart phone with the French SIM doesn't seem to have a compass chip built in so when I'm supposed to go in a specific direction I might not know which way that is. The instructions for the tour were to meet at a specific address but could have been phrased more clearly as "Meet at the corner of the street nearest this address". When I found the meeting place after wandering around looking for it I was rather amused that the bench I had been sitting on was quite close.

The tour was with a company called Viator which came up frequently when I was looking for tours in Ireland, Scotland, London and here. Our guide was a very nice, intelligent and informative guy with a good sense of humor and probably in his early thirties. He was Italian and also speaks English, French & Spanish. In fact, he gave the tour in both English & Spanish (one at a time). He also told us that in his real day job he's a professor. He told us where but I forgot along with his name. He told us some interesting information about the Eiffel Tower and the world's fair it was designed for and then took us around to the entrance where everyone coming in had their bags checked and went through a metal detector and then took us right underneath the very center of the Tower which he told us was his favorite sport for a selfie–if you put the phone on the ground or hold it very low. We then went in through another entry with an additional bag search and metal detector before we caught the elevator all the way up to the second level. Our guide then took us around the sides explaining what we were seeing in each direction and that was the end of the tour although he did show people where to buy tickets for the summit, how to find the restaurants, and showed me how to get back downstairs because I was having just a tiny bit of dizziness and chose not to go up to the topmost accessible level. I did stop on the first level for a wander around and had a lot of fun watching some of the people freaking out while walking over the glass floors on that level. I had to wait for two elevators before there was one with room enough for me to get in.

The only unpleasant thing about visiting the Eiffel Tower is the overwhelming number of street vendors at every entrance, all of them pushing exactly the same crappy statues of the Eiffel Tower in various sizes or selfie sticks. They all know each other. At the main entrance to the ET there is an electronic billboard which often displays a message like "For your own safety do not buy anything from street vendors" in several languages which I found rather ironic.

The weather forecast for today was mixed with a possibility of showers but we didn't have any during the day. I thought I'd take a chance on the 9 PM night bus tour so I walked over to the Bir Hakeim Metro station for the train over to the Charles de Gaulle/Etoile which is nearest to where the bus leaves from. This stretch of the tracks is actually elevated and reminded me of the L in Chicago or parts of the monorail in Seattle.

As I was getting ready to walk up the stairs to the street at the exit from the Metro station I saw lots of people with umbrellas coming down and as I got to the stairs it was really raining so I found my way over to the train back here to Saint Paul metro station. It was still pouring when I came up to street level here but I didn't mind too much since I was wearing my rain jacket and the Goretex cap I bought in Seattle a couple of years ago. I decided I'd go around the corner past St Paul's church to the Shunjuku Sushi for dinner. I was going to have one of their mixed platters but saw their menu also listed udon, and tonight was a great night for soup so that's what I had and it was very good and satisfying.

It's now about 12:15 AM and I'm going to have a glass of juice and the watermelon/melon salad and go to bed.

What made figuring out where to go when more difficult is that some places very near each other are closed on Monday while others are closed on Tuesday. For instance the L'Orangerie and the Musee d'Orsay which is almost directly across the Seine are closed on different days, the Orangerie on Tuesday and d'Orsay on Monday. Since tomorrow's Monday my plan is to visit the Sully wing of the Louvre, especially the Pavillon de l'Horloge, go across the Rue de Rivoli to find the statue of Joan of Arc nearby, come back across the street to wander up through the Jardins des Tuilleries and the Orangerie before coming back home to the hotel. Maybe I'll also see if that souvenir place has the Paris zip front sweatshirt in my size.

Return to journal