Day 2 - Paris - Eiffel Tower, Versailles

For our first full day in Paris we started with a tour of the Eiffel Tower.  The company was wonderful.  Run by Americans, everyone was friendly and courteous.  They know how much Americans value customer service and they take it seriously.  Such a breath of fresh air after the previous day's troubles.

We didn't have to wait in line and got right up to the second level.  There our tour guide gave us lots of information about different buildings from the different sides of the tower.  The perfect way to start a visit to Paris. Then we bid her adieu and took the elevator to the top.  It was fun to see Paris from such a high place, but I've decided the best part about the Eiffel Tower is looking up and seeing it from the ground.

We then stopped and had our pb&j sandwiches and bought a couple of crepes.  We finally figured out to buy our train tickets and rode out to Versailles.  We got there probably around 1:30 p.m.  The line to get in the chateau was so long.  I decided to wait in line while Bradford got tickets.  Turns out that his line was even slower and so I got to the end of the line with no tickets.  I waited for quite a while and he showed up.  We entered the castle around 3:00 p.m.

The crowds were unlike anything I had ever seen before.  We just went from room to room without taking pictures or reading plaques, it still took 1 1/2 hours to get through it all.  We decided to walk through the gardens only to discover this summer they aren't free but another 9 Euros.  Since the day was almost gone, we decided they weren't worth it.

I really wanted to see the LDS temple site and so we hoofed it through Versailles all the way to Le Chesnay.  Not going to lie, it was a long hot walk.  We stopped at a grocery store for fruit and water on the way.  Right now the LDS temple is a hole in the ground, but I still felt better looking at all that construction than I did in the palace.  Even as a construction site, I  could feel the Spirit.

By the time we got back to our train station it was 6:00 p.m. and the palace was closed.  This means that everyone was trying to get home.  We decided to eat across the street at McDonald's first.  After dinner I got in line for the bathroom.  McDonald's would FREAK OUT if they knew one of their bathrooms was in that kind of condition, and one that is seen by people from all over the world too.  Only one toilet was working so the woman's line was unbelievably long.  The toilet was one step up from what I see at campsites.  No seat or lid, just the bowl, and covered in urine.  So gross.  But one thing I've learned is that the French couldn't care less about how the tourists are treated, they know people will keep coming anyway.  Sometimes I wish the world would join together and say, "Paris, we aren't coming to visit until you learn to treat us right."

The kids feel asleep on the train on the way home.  It was hard waking up Johnny.  Now it is 11:10 p.m. and he is fast asleep.  Tonight I'm trying to do some laundry.  It's a washer/dryer combo.  I hope I wake up to clean dry clothes in the morning.  The washing bin is so small, it would take me days to wash all of our clothes at once.  I think I'll have to do 2 loads a day every day to stay on top of it.

At this point I'm just trying to convince myself that all of this is worth it.  It feels like 10 minutes of joy for every 2 hours of dealing with rude Parisiens, long lines, crowds, and garbage on the streets.  My friend Robin keeps reminding me that I'll only remember the good parts later on.  Maybe that's why everyone wants to go to Paris, because the good parts are REALLY good and people forget to tell about the bad parts.

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