The gang and I went back to the apartment to meet up with Jeff and have breakfast--pastries from Gabrielle and fresh orange juice (construction on the street took a rest for the weekend).
We decided to hit two major stops today--the Arc du Triomphe and Tour Eiffel. We walked a fairly direct route between these landmarks, but this was still a heck of a walk...particularly with a 4-year-old in tow.
The first leg of our walk: through the grounds of the Louvre, past the giant pyramids, sat and watched ducks at the fountain in the Jardin des Tuileries, rode the Tuileries caroussel (twice), walked along the Champs Elysées past the Grand and Petit Palais, ate lunch along the Champs Elysées (another Quick stop), and continued on to the Arc du Triomphe.
Along the way, Keegan spotted a young woman with a bright blue balloon. His face lit up, and the woman gave Keegan the balloon. For the next two hours, Keegan's gaze was fixated on that balloon as it bounced around in the wind.
We spent some time up on top of the Arc du Triomphe. The sky was a colorful mix of blue sky, rain-filled grey clouds, and bright washed-out sunny patches. Keegan loved pointing out how we were giants compared with the people below. I was delighted to finally have a strong telephoto lens with me to visually compress some of these long-distance city views. (For the record, my new digital SLR is performing exceptionally well.)
We strolled down the Avenue d'Iena towards the Tour Eiffel. Passed several embassies. Lost the blue balloon. Mourned the loss for five minutes. Walked through the Jardin du Trocadéro, across the Pont d'Iena, and arrived at the Tour Eiffel.
The lines were long and the winds strong. As we boarded the elevator to ride to level 2, Keegan told us, "I'm so excited!" which made the wait and chilly winds worth it. Keegan had a look of wonder as he gazed over Paris below. He thought we were as high as Superman flies. Kids are so cute keeping things in perspectives that they can understand. This is certainly something he will always remember and us as well.
Keegan started to lose steam as dusk turned to nite, so it was the Metro to the rescue. Lines 6 and 1 brought us home...Keegan was asleep as we crossed back onto Íle St. Louis. We had traditional French cuisine at the nearby Brasserie de Íle St. Louis. We finished the evening with family phone calls back to Michigan announcing the impending birth of grandchild number 6 (Julie's second) and our 7th nephew/neice. Wow, I really had to think about the math there.