Arc de Triomphe at Place de l’Étoile at the top of the Champs-Élysées, a national symbol, but I had no plans for making a trip just to see it. I am not a big shopper. I find it tiring. Besides, my bags were overflowing from all things India. The Avenue des Champs-Élysées therefore held no special spot in my itinerary either. The LO fell asleep as we tried to find the stroller friendly way out of the Louvre, so we decided to skip the Jardin des Tuileries and go get a drink instead. Few minutes later we were on a subway to Champs-Élysées and when we get out we are at Place de l’Étoile, right at the Arc de Triomphe.
Raising a toast in Paris is an art like everything else. Use tchin tchin with your friends and everyone you’re on a “tu” basis with as a fun replacement of the more traditional “à ta santé” and “à votre santé” and semi-casual “santé”. Tchin Tchin!!
When we are done with our drink, it is time to head over to the Eiffel Tower for sunset. Years ago (in 2014) I wrote a blog post on the Esplanade du Trocadéro being better spot for photos than the top of the Eiffel Tower itself. That image of the plaza, with its fountains, pink skies and the Tour Eiffel stayed in heart. In the years that followed, the hundreds of Instagram pictures at the staircase messed my head up. We walked out of the subway station with no idea which way to go. I ask two security guards with my best lost face “Trocadéro Jardin?” They respond with, “Tour Eiffel?” and point us in the right direction. I just don’t get why they say Paris and Parisians are tourist unfriendly. We reach in time for sunset, but there are dark clouds looming and there is the eminent threat of rains. The tall slim frame, the lace like lattice work, the tower is as elegant and sophisticated as the proverbial French people. We didn’t have pink skies, but the light drizzle that followed adds its own charm to the moment and drama to the pictures. We watch as the lights on the tower go on.
The carousal here let’s adults ride. There is a wedding photoshoot in progress. The husband opts to stay out and take a picture while the LO and I go on her first carousal ride. I think she loved it.
October is a wonderful time to visit Paris. The summer crowds have gone and the winter hoards are yet to descend on the city. It’s not too hot or too cold. We have the most perfect weather imaginable on our trip, bright, sunny, cool enough to not miss air conditioning, yet warm enough to not warrant a jacket. We are out all day, every day. We wake up late and breakfast on baguettes, croissants, orange juice and coffee; reach our first stop in time for lunch. Our time is divided between attractions and parks. We walk into little cafés for a drink in the evenings. Explore some more. Meals are a leisurely affair. Again, must be a cultural thing. The wait staff take their time to come to you and simply disappear after serving your order. The bill is left on your table, in case you are in a particular hurry.