A couple of classic Parisian activities

Our train into Paris arrived late morning and had a bit of a cycle to our Airbnb apartment in the 9th arrondissement. To pass the time until check in we stopped in a park partway to sit and read our books. We also spotted a local Parisian mouse. We were sitting in front of some garden beds and every 30 seconds or so it would scurry from one side to the other. We must have looked a bit crazy, sitting there reading and not talking to each other but both cracking up laughing every 30 seconds.

The first native Parisian we encountered

Our apartment was on the 6th floor and serviced by the tiniest elevator I have ever seen. Which was an appropriate prelude to our tiny apartment, all nine square metres of it. When I first opened the door all I could do was laugh, it was just so small.

Andy could pretty much touch the opposite walls at the same time

We had known this in advance, it it really wasn’t so bad once we got inside and put some of our bags away. It was just that only one person could be moving around at any one time. And the shower was a tiny space with a shower curtain that stuck to your entire body the whole time. And the toilet wasn’t actually in the apartment but outside on the landing and shared with the other 6th floor inhabitants. We decided it was a good way to experience what it would be like to live in a tiny house. On completion of this experiment I can say that I would not want to live in a tiny house.

Anyway, back to Paris.

The first day we decided to kick off our visit with a classic tourist activity in Paris: exercising our democratic rights. It was time for us to vote in the New Zealand elections. We could have sent in a postal vote or done it online but we were kind of curious to see the NZ Embassy. We had a theory that it would just be a some space rented from the Australian Embassy with Rhys Darby sitting in this one, tiny cubicle.

This turned out to be doing an injustice to our country and its diplomatic representations. The Embassy was actually pretty nice, a floor in a random unmarked building (partially for security I think). We had to hand over our passports to some French receptionists to get access, which was a bit unnerving, but we headed up and found that there was a steady trickle of kiwis arriving to vote. They had the proper cardboard polling booths and everything but in a much nicer room than your classic school hall polling station.

Yay democracy!

Since we were kind of in the neighbourhood we decided to visit the Eiffel Tower. I had been to Paris twice before and never gone up and even though I thought it was a bit lame and stereotypical I was really keen to do it. Andy was on board as long as we didn’t have to wait in line too long.

We arrived at the base of the tower and there was a bit of a queue to go through security but honestly only about five minutes. I decided we should at least go and check the lengths of the ticket queues.

Lo and behold, the queue for climbing the stairs was non-existent. We had seen some of the other queues and they were pretty sizeable so we were really stoked that we didn’t have to wait at all. Plus it was cheaper if you climbed the stairs, winning all round.

People queuing, suckers

Climbing up provided a great view of all of the structural elements, which appealed to us as nerdy engineers, as well as a slowly-revealing view out over the city. We wandered around the first floor to check out the glass floor then picked a different corner to keep climbing up.

Ooh structural steel

From the second floor we could see out all over the city. We wandered around to appreciate the view and try to work out what all the iconic buildings were. I think I was able to accurately identify Sacré-Coeur and that was about it. We also peered down at the nearby apartments to check out people’s balconies and rooftop gardens. I’m sure the real estate is hugely expensive right next to the Eiffel Tower but you definitely lose some privacy when you have thousands of tourists able to look down on you.

We took one look at the queue for the elevators to the third floor (there are no stairs) and decided against it. The queue was enormous. It wound right around the floor. We were very happy that we hadn’t bought tickets to the third floor in advance. We also felt superior to the people waiting in the queues to descend by elevator. There was no delay at all if you wanted to walk down the stairs. I don’t quite know how we managed it but our visit to the Eiffel Tower was almost entirely queue-free and all the more enjoyable for it.

One last Eiffel Tower photo

Ooh just one more, this really is the last one I promise


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