• Jonathan Bastow

Interrail Dairy 2012 - Day 3

Day three of my Interrail journey was my last full day in Paris and a last chance to see anything else that was on offer. My endless lists on things to see and do in each European city meant I knew exactly what was left to be seen and was the first of many days where I accomplished lifelong dreams.

The weather had brightened up significantly and I again took the metro out from Montmatre, this time to the Charles de Gaulle Etoile station. I jumped off the metro and walked up the flight of stairs towards the street. The noise from the street grew louder and louder as I got nearer to the top and finally I could see the tip of the Arc de Triomphe.

The amazing monument stands at over 50m and is decorated with the names of army generals and battles fought by the French. I paid the €9 entry and climbed the steps to the top, occasionally passing someone else struggling with the intensity of the ascent. The inside contains a small museum to the Romans and to the person who brought the arc to Paris, Napoleon. Outside is one of the best views in Paris, whichever side you look off the arc, there is something that resembles Paris. The avenues of the Champs-Elysees, the Eiffel tower, Sacre Coeur or Notre-Dame. Truly amazing.

I came down from the arc and enjoyed the various street artists around. Dancers, musicians and painters all gathered to earn themselves money by showing off their talent. I walked along the Champ-Elysees, staring into the shop windows of famous designers and viewing the menus of some of Paris' more finer restaurants. A €125 soup stood out amongst the more expensive dishes. I continued along the Seine river until I got to the place I wanted to be, one of the most famous sites in the world.

Standing at 324 metres, the Eiffel tower is a spectacular piece of modern architecture. I walked towards it with my lower jaw dragging along the floor, one minute it is a huge spear sticking out of the mighty city and then within minutes you are suddenly underneath its gigantic body. The shear size shocked me, I never imagined it being this tall.

After a long wait, a €14 ticket, and a slight burn developing on my nose and cheeks, I was finally on my way up. There are three levels to the Eiffel tower. I wasted very little time on the lower levels before queueing to raise higher and higher up the mighty tower and in good time, I was at the top. Very interestingly the room on the third floor acts as a compass, showing in which direction various cities and their respected tall buildings stand. The view from the top is incredible, needless to say. Anything and everything is visible from this viewpoint and I stood gazing out for a good hour ignoring any fear of heights I have.

I had just enough time to grab an ice cream and enjoy the remains of sunshine for that day before heading back to the hostel. I went back to the same pizzeria as it was close and easy to find in the maze of Parisian streets. I ate a Mexican style pizza and enjoyed a couple of pints of good french lager. After returning to the hostel I packed my stuff, checked my train timetable and hit the hay.

After today I felt incredible, The Eiffel tower was accomplished!

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