With both John and Logan on their own travel adventures, a friend and I decided to catch the Eurostar train to Paris and Versailles for a day trip. Paris is a little over two hours from London so it makes for an easy to get there day trip. I visited Paris once before in 2004 and enjoyed seeing the familiar sights again. We decided to go with a fully escorted tour thinking it would save us the trouble of having to deal with purchasing tickets for Eiffel Tower and Versailles nor deal with transportation. In hindsight, I’m not sure it was worth it since we got stuck in severe traffic jams several times throughout the day (train and metro would have been so much quicker) which cut-in to the time we had to enjoy Paris. Ah, well…live and learn.
The Eurostar left London at 7:00am and we were in Paris at 10:15am. France is one hour ahead. It was my first time on the Eurostar and I was impressed. It was clean, on time and there was a decent selection of food/drinks.
Our first stop was the Eiffel Tower:
The Eiffel Tower was built by French engineer Gustave Eiffel for the 1889 World’s Fair (Exposition Universelle ). It was built to celebrate the 100th year anniversary of the French Revolution as well as demonstrate France’s technological advances in the Industrial Age. The construction took 2 years, 2 months and 5 days and the result is a very impressive technical and architectural achievement. Although the panoramic views from the 2nd floor are wonderful, I also love looking up into the inside of the tower from the ground level. Originally the Tower was built to last only 20 years but when the first radio transmissions were sent from the top of the tower, it became a permanent structure. Even for the people who opposed keeping it (many considered it an eyesore), the practical uses of the Tower outweighed the insult to the Frenchmen’s sense of aesthetics. Good thing for Paris since each year, almost seven million visitors make the trek to the Eiffel Tower.
On my last visit to Paris, I was able to see the tower lit up at night but it stays light too late into the evening for us to see it this time.
A few sights from around Paris:
After touring the Eiffel Tower and a quick bite to eat, it was time to journey to the Palace of Versailles but more about that in the next post…