Cities of Light: Day 2

Day 2: Thursday, October 19, 2023 - Paris, France

The day's statistics:
- Weather: upper 50s, rain
- Steps: 12,447 Linda; 14,013 Steve
- Miles traveled (approximately): 3,860

After what little bit of sleep we were able to get - at about 9:25 local time (wherever we happen to be) - we were served "breakfast" - yogurt, granola, a fig bar, and, of course, coffee.

Some French countryside (the phone focused on the window frame) and some industry near the airport.

Not much later, at 11:15 local time, we landed.
The plane was on the tarmac - rather than at a gate with a gangway - and we were on the bus to the terminal at 11:29.
We made our way to baggage claim 5 - there was a luggage wheel and a severely damaged piece of canvas luggage coming off the carousel and we felt sorry for the owner(s) - made our way through customs, and then found our local Viking representative.
By now it was 12:15. I asked how long it was going to take to get to the hotel and was told it was going to be a half hour - which meant we were going to miss our 12:45 lunch sightseeing cruise on the Seine put on by Bateaux Parisiens - a surprise I had planned for Linda, and what explained my excessive agitation to the extended delay before takeoff.
We even hit a good amount of construction and traffic volume delays and didn't get to the hotel until 1:00, making our 12:45 lunch cruise plans even worse.

We visited France in 2000 as chaperones with Pam's high school class. This was long before the modern-day chronicles, so all we have are some pictures.
But that trip covered a wide variety of locations including Paris, Giverny, Chartes, Chateaus, and Versailles.
Because of that visit, even though it was more than two decades ago, we chose NOT to do excursions to those sites again, and rather we chose to stay in the city.

It was too early to check into the hotel, so rather than just sit around, we headed out. At this point I pretty much had to tell Linda about what was planned because I wanted to go to the boat launch location to see what, if any, were our options. And if I didn't tell her, she probably would have asked "Where are we going?"
So we headed out from our hotel - Hyatt Regency Etoile - to the Eiffel Tower as the boat launch was from a dock on the Seine within a really good stone's throw from the tower.
On the way we saw some sights.

The first exotic - a Ferrari - parked near the Champs-Élysées with the Arc de Triomphe in the background.

After seeing the Ferrari, I realized that the Arc de Triomphe was right there. So when the light was red, I stepped into the crosswalk for this shot. I did NOT see John Wick anywhere...

Then the Eiffel Tower appeared.

A little further on.

We walked down the flight of stairs above, down the short street, and to a pedistrian bridge over the Seine.
One problem - seriously - that the French have is the plethora of "Love Locks" left on some of the bridges, especially this one. A message - an "X + Y", "X ♥ Y" sort of thing - is typically written on the lock, the lock is locked onto the bridge, and the key is thrown into the river. Not only does this create an unsightly issue, the rusting keys in the water are starting to cause a pollution / contamination problem as well.

While we were on the bridge - NO, we did NOT do that lock thing - we took a selfie.

We eventaully arrived at the dock right when the boat were were supposed to be on was arriving back.
The gentleman we spoke to, at dock 7, called his manager and told her of our problem. He said she would be able to help us, we just had to walk down to dock 5. So we did.
We arrived and spoke to someone else - a colleague of the manager. She was trying to push us to take a cruise another day. That wasn't an option because we had an excursion planned for the next day that was scheduled to end at 12:30 and we would have had the same problem trying to get to the dock in time. They were pushing us for the late night - 8:00 to 11:00 - dinner cruise, but as we were already dragging our wagons, we didn't think there would be ANY chance of making that either. Eventually we WERE able to get the tickets changed to a dinner cruise at 6:30, and for a small additional cost too. But at least we didn't lose the value of the tickets, so there's that.
The boat we were going to be on was being prepared and it was a nicely appointed boat.

At this point, it was pouring rain. And it was a little after 3:00. So rather than spend at least a half hour each way getting back to the hotel and returning, and probably just sitting in the hotel room not doing anything anyway for an hour or so, we decided to just sit in the waiting area. We talked a little, did our daily New York Times puzzles, took naps, and watched the staff clean the windows and mop the floor. Our original plan was to visit Sacré Cœur and the town of Montmartre after the cruise, but obviously that had to change.
Eventually it was time to board the boat.
We were seated and, before departure, were surprised at how many empty seats there were due to how much resistance there was to get us on this cruise. We were able to easily count more than a dozen empty tables.
We were in the shadow of the Eiffel, and the phone focused more on the rain than the tower, but I can't control that.

Our multi-course meal started with some nuts and bread. And of course we had wine too.

The menu constisted of the choice of two items for each of the three courses - so we just got one of each, tried them, and then swapped plates.

Foie gras with bread, and snail tart.

Sea bass, and duckling fillet.

We shared the desserts - iced pear, and chocolate tart - but we have no pictures.
While the meal was really good - except maybe for the foie gras - the cruise could have been better. It may be true that there are a lot of locals that take this cruise, so no commentary is necessary. However, for those that are tourists, while we saw some interesting sights, we had no idea what all the sights were such as the Louvre (from this point). Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower, sure. But here they all are.

We disembarked and walked near the Eiffel Tower toward the metro, and grabbed another selfie.

Along the river walk was this Olympic countdown clock (Paris is hosting the 2024 Summer Olympics).

We finally made it to the metro - it was rather packed - just as expected for any large city public transportation system, and also considering the inclimate weather.

The metro stop was about three long blocks from the hotel. It had been a rather long day and we began to lose our vigor. All we needed to do was check in and fetch our luggage. Our room was 1926. We stepped off the elevator turned... and - where's our room?

Yes, it's the door on the right. (It seems obvious now, but we were tired.)

It was a decent sized room.

With a nice nineteenth floor view of the city (and that might even be a planet in the Sacré Cœur close-up).

We situated ourselves, put on our PJs, washed up, and went to bed.