Hours (March 20-25)
Tuesday March 21 10-3pm
Wednesday March 22 12-5pm
Thursday March 23 12-5pm
On our last full day in Europe we woke up early to get on the Thalys high speed train from Brussels to Paris. One hour and 22 minutes to be exact.
France wasn't in our original trip plans but my son said he wanted to see the Eiffel Tower and the Mona Lisa – I mean what 10 year knows what the Mona Lisa is??!! So being that close to Paris, I booked the train and a tour of the Eiffel Tower and The Louvre in case this is the only time I have the chance to make my lifelong dream of seeing the Eiffel Tower come true!!
Once we got to Paris I knew finding the right trains with the one hour we had before we had to be at the Eiffel Tower would be tight but I did not anticipate that Paris Nord is the largest train station in the world! We took the wrong train, it was literally Home Alone running through the train station once we realized the train system was just not going to work for us and we opted to find a taxi. Our cab driver spoke zero English and we thought we heard him say it was 12 minutes to the Eiffel Tower. Ok, 12 minutes we can do, we might be a few minutes late but at least we won’t miss it.
Then we are driving for what seems like way more than 12 minutes and my husband checks good old Google Maps that tells us we are STILL 22 MINUTES AWAY!! I instantly start crying! How did we come this far and get this close and we miss our chance to go up the Eiffel Tower?! I have waited for this moment literally my entire life and now I am here and I missed it?! Sure we could stand in line for hours and finally get in but then we would miss The Louvre tour and we had less than 12 hours in the city before our train left back to Belgium!!
Then as we are driving along there it is- the Eiffel Tower in the distance across the River. My son spots it and instantly squeezes my hand because he knows in that moment I am heartbroken and he knew how much I wanted to experience the Eiffel Tower. I am pulling myself together accepting that we missed the tour- by now we are at least 20 minutes late and the tour meeting spot was at the Palais de Chaillot across the River Seine from the Iron Lady.
We rush to the meeting site- no tour guide there- obviously because we are so late. We decide to just run to try to search for what looks like a group of people and attempt to find our tour only to get stopped by a young man selling Eiffel Tower souvenirs on the street and he does an impromptu photo shoot of us with the Tower in the background- not realizing we are trying to catch up with a tour! Now I am actually happy we were late because we would not have had the opportunity to get those pictures and they are probably my favourite pictures of the entire trip.
We rush down the street, across the river and there she is!! The tour guide with her little blue flag and a group of tourists! We literally found her right before they got to the entrance of the Eiffel Tower for which we had Skip The Line tickets and access to the Summit- things you don’t get standing in line for hours and when I say the line is long, its very long!!!
After two security checkpoints, we are finally in an elevator going to the top of the Eiffel Tower! When I always dreamed of being at the Eiffel Tower, you can’t even begin to imagine how incredible it is. The views are breathtaking and just being in the moment thinking “I am at the top of the freakin' Eiffel Tower right now" is so surreal. We spent time enjoying the views and had lunch at the Tower and just relished in being in one of the most magnificent places in the world. A bucket list moment.
Fun Fact: It took 2 years, 2 months and 5 days to construct the Eiffel Tower .It gets repainted every 7 years and takes 25 men 2 years to paint it. No one has died in the construction or painting the Eiffel Tower.
Next we took a taxi over to the Louvre where we had a guided tour of the museum and although I took Art History in University, I am not a huge fan of historic art but I must say the work in this museum is crazy. $10 million dollars for a half finished painting of Napoleon?? What!!!
Then came the Mona Lisa. There is a line up and you literally have to wait to get to the front before you can get a decent picture because it’s such a small painting. Behind bulletproof glass with 6 bodyguards at all times- there she was.
We all agree the Eiffel Tower was our favourite part of the trip. Even though it was a quick trip to Paris and back to Brussels in 12 hours and I probably paid too much for train tickets and tour passes, the moments we got to experience were priceless and turned out to be the best part of the 10 day adventure.
Cheers (or "a votre sante" in French)
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