Time management was the last thing I had in mind when we landed at Gare Du Nord. The art of carrying on with an obsession could have been learned from us. Visit Eiffel tower – period. The best thing I could say about the Eurostar train to Gar du Nord at best that it was a bore. Neat, clean, efficient, good lighting, courteous staff, and all other nice things can be said about it – but it was boring.
The one good decision was to buy the carnet of 10 tickets to speed the egress from Gare Du Nord in the bar at Coach 6. It allowed immediate access to Bus, M and RER trains as well. Exiting from the station, down the stairs caught the RER B and went straight to Raspail where we checked into a hotel. Then once more used the ticket to Bir-Hakeim station and walked to the place – and there it was the Eiffel Tower.
If ever you wondered on the meaning of the word serpentine then this was the place to learn that. The queue was serpentine. We waited for nearly 90 minutes before an entry was made to the lifts. Interestingly it is possible to buy yourself an online ticket. However I was surprised to see that no tickets were available for the next 30 days. Either they were booked or no online ticket quota was made available. So the next best thing was to make a brave effort and plunge in the queue and hope for the best. Ninety minutes did not seem so bad after all. The weather was cool and enough distractions were there to make the time fly if not like an arrow at least like the fluttering leaf in the wind. I watched the birds and the proof is attached alongside. This is not the gull from Weymouth
After about an hour of waiting and watching humanity of perambulators, children and experiencing the Babel effect, we came near the ticket window of the North Pillar. With a Spanish family in front of us, a German couple ahead of them, and a pair of Italian sisters behind us with French all over the flank what else can one expect. People were moving in and out of the queue to get water, something to bite, take a photo of the queue sideways, or to just take a call for a more private conversation. Well watching humanity did help pass the time.
Some more waiting after the tickets to actually get into the lifts was irritating. Then the doors opened and we were up and away. The lift stopped at the second floor and we had to take another lift for the summit. The babies were to be carried in arms, the prams folded and the people with vertigo had to decide to go up or to stay behind. The local warning of the red man was prominently displayed. The red man signified the light-fingered gentry famous all over the world.
Finally we reached the summit. The view was good. A good camera allowed me to zoom in on to the detail on the ground. There was a display that showed Edison in conference with Eiffel the designer of the tower on the day of his visit – 10 September 1889.
Coming down after a purchase of a souvenir we came down and thanked our stars for rushing in. The queue was as serpentine as ever. With some diligent planning for the next day on paper, we promptly threw that out after talking to the ever helpful staff at the hotel. A fifteen minute chat was more helpful than an hour of debate with the maps and directions. Day 2 would prove to more daunting but that I would not know then.