2018: The Year of Stairs

As I rang in the New Year on the Champs-Élysées, watching fireworks over the Arc de Triomphe, I wondered what this year was going to hold for me. Several visions flew through my mind like growing my business, improving my French, finding Mr. Droite. The last thing I would have excepted would have been the quantity of stairs I would be walking! 10 days into 2018 and according to my phone, I have logged over 200 flights of stairs! An explanation is due…

I have started doing a new tour, climbing the Eiffel Tower. Literally walking up the tower via the stairs. The tour begins at the base of the tower where I regal you with fun facts about the tower (did you know she is married?), then we proceed up to the second level. In case you were curious, to get to the second level (see image below), it is 704 stairs or about 65 floors. Why would a sane person choose this tour? The lines for the elevators can be hours on end, not to mention they have just increased the price again. The stairs are a cheaper, faster route!

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I did a trial run of this tour on January 4th. I made it, barely. The actual climb takes less then 15 mins, the catching your breathe part is really the challenge. Add talking to groups of people on top? I am going to have to work on my cardio!

Fast forward a few days to January 7th, the first Sunday of the month. In France, this is a special day each month because a majority of the museum and cultural institutions are free! I take advantage of this day each month, can’t turn away free activities. I met up with some friends and we first visited the Musée de l’Orangerie. This museum is located in the Tuileries Garden, near the Louvre and Place de la Concorde. This little museum holds Monet’s Water Lilies paintings as well as a small collection of impressionist paintings. It continues to be one of my favorite museums in Paris.

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Afterwards, we headed up the Champs-Élysées to our next adventure: climbing the Arc de Triomphe. To our pleasant surprise, the entire street was shut down to cars allowing us to walk right up the middle. We took advantage of the lack of cars and had an impromptu photo shoot!

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No cars and very few people, no wonder they look so excited!

We then climbed to the top of the Arc. Which, for your information, is 284 steps or about 30 floors. The view was absolutely worth it. You climb high enough to be above most of the buildings but not too high where everything looks super tiny. Unfortunately I did not get many good pictures because it was very cold and windy and my poor fingers were frozen! Here is the best one:

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Next up had to be lunch, which we certainly earned after our climb. I said au revoir to my friends and took the metro home. As I sat on the metro, I looked up from my game of Candy Crush and noticed the next stop was the Louvre. I spontaneously got off and decided to wander around the world’s largest art museum while it was free. After a 10 minute security wait, I was in! I just walked around casually, soaking up the history and splendor the institution offers. I came across a few fun sights that I will share with you.

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Private apartments of Napoleon III

 

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Everyone gathered around to see France’s most famous lady: Mona Lisa
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One of my all time favorite sculptures, Winged Victory of Samothrace

I ended the evening watching the sun go down (you could not see the sunset because it was far too cloudy) and photographed Paris’s famous blue hour from the top floor of the Louvre. It’s that period at dusk when it is super cloudy and the whole city has this blue hue to it. It was a perfect Sunday.

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A few days later I was back to climbing the Eiffel Tower, doing another run through of the tour. The stairs were a bit easier and the breathing less challenged. The view was a little different that day since it was a particularly foggy morning. The Iron Lady had her head in the clouds! Even as I am typing this, it seems so trivial to complain about stairs when panoramic views of the most beautiful city in the world were my reward. But alas, the French love to complain so let’s just call it assimilation.

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Cheers to 2018 and all the stairs it can throw at me, I am ready!

 

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