We started our day with breakfast in bed, enjoying tea and French pastries that we bought the night before. There is nothing on earth like a chocolate and apple filled croissant covered in almonds and icing sugar. I could die now, and it would be worth it!
We decided to go with the Gray Line Hop On Hop Off, because we had studied them the night before, and they seemed to have the most frequent buses. This is such a great tour, because it took us past one amazing site after another. Paris is, after all, a living history lesson!
We got off on the Champs Elysses at the Arc de triomphe, because we were trying to find the Europcar rental office. After asking several different people for directions, we finally found it, but the car that was advertised on their website for 29 euros a day was going to cost us a total of 656.17 euros ($943) for 5 days! This was definitely over our budget, but we got some good information that will be helpful when we book the car online regarding the best place to drop the car before we head into Spain.
We enjoyed an amazing lunch on the sidewalk of the Champs Elysses. However, EVERYONE here smokes, and it's impossible to enjoy a meal sitting outside without breathing in second hand smoke. They also sit people very close together, making it even worse! Cough! Cough!
From here, we strolled down the Champs Elysses, and just for fun took a picture in front of the Cartier store, where watches displayed in the window are selling for over 35,000 euros (over $50,000)! There is a guard at the door, and I'm sure that one look at us, and he would say, "sorry, you can't afford to shop here!"
It is beyond everything that I ever believed possible to see the places that I read about in history books. The arc de triomphe is one of Napoleon's great accomplishments, built from 1806 - 1836, inspired by the Arch of Titus in Rome and was intended to be a tribute to the troops. At the base is a flame that was lit on Nov. 11, 1923 in honour of the unknown soldier, and it has remined burning since!
It is 284 steps to climb to the top, but all Bryce had to do was show them his cane, and they let us ride the lift! The second leveltop offers a 360 degree view of the entire city.
We came back to our hotel to try to book our rental car, and after much searching, were able to find one using Kayak, for a total of 94 euros ($135). It really does pay to shop around! We have now booked our transportation and accomodation for the rest of the French leg of our journey, as well as the train that will take us from the south of France into Barcelona. Even the planning is so much fun, as we dream about all the places we yet have to see!