“The Eiffel Tower Looks Exactly Like I Imagined It!”: Paris According to Raffi

Breakfast! Our waiter was incredibly entertaining, which is a trend I’ve found among male waiters who serve breakfast, weirdly enough.

I asked Raffi to tell me what he wanted to see in Paris–I even provided him with a pocket guide to Paris–but, as always, he deferred to my judgment. I knew he wanted most of all to see the Eiffel Tower so I scheduled our day around that. We walked to Sacré-Cœur, as it was incredibly close to our hotel. I warned Raffi that it would be an uphill climb, but he was surprised just how physically demanding it was. 😉 He asked me to take a picture of these stairs so he could show some of his friends:

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At the top of the hill, instead of reveling at the cathedral, Raffi’s first interest was in the race we could see started right next to the cathedral. He said, “It follows!” He’s convinced races trail after him, wherever he goes. He was disappointed at not having had the opportunity to have run in a race in a foreign country so that he could say, “I’ve run internationally!” I told him that Paris is not the city to start to do that: we could choose a race somewhere closer, to start with.

These are the pictures I took this time around inside and outside of the cathedral. Raffi thought it was a beautiful place, but that its sacred quality was lost due to its touristy character. I don’t think he realizes how churches are a huge tourist attraction across Europe, so when the dioceses could benefit from the large influx of tourism, why shouldn’t they?

After we visited the cathedral, I realized that it is the one point of interest that I have seen every time I have been to Paris. I have pictures of myself at it on 3 different occasions, but I think my parents have the pictures from my very first visit to Paris. Once I obtain a picture from them, I will post all four!

We advanced towards the Eiffel Tower. We first saw the Eiffel Tower while on the train, as we crossed a bridge; Raffi was almost awestruck! I was very happy he finally experienced what it means to be dumbfounded by the wonders of travel. Walking on the way to the tower, guess what we saw… The end of the race! Hey, it was as if we started and finished with the participants. 🙂 It was at this point that we finally learned it was a half-marathon.

We also took the opportunity to take some pictures with the Eiffel Tower by standing on some of the park barriers, one of which photos I included a little later.

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I edited this photo with the “Eiffel Tower” filter, thought it was fitting.

Standing in line for the tower did not take too long; I think people were discouraged because it was a little cold and taking account of the windiness atop the tower, they did not want weather it. Here are two videos of the ascent to the 1st, then 2nd floors of the tower, with occasional commentary provided by Raffi, mostly with onomatopoeias:

Pictures of the view below:

I couldn’t determine in which photo both of us looked good. So I just made a collage of all three photos in or around the Eiffel Tower:

I saw that we still had some time left before we needed to drive back to Luxembourg–and that the next attraction was a point we needed to transfer at anyway–so I took us to Avenue Champs-Elysées. Turns out, this is the picture Raffi had in his head of what Paris looks like! He said, “Oh yeah, these are the stores I imagined Paris was filled with.” Thanks for sharing your thoughts before with me, grr. I told him to turn around and look at the Arc de Triomphe, which he thought looked pretty cool, but didn’t appreciate it as much as I thought he would. I even told him the history and he said it was just “nice.”

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I knew I had to impress him some different way. I told him we should go to the original Ladurée for their macaroons. After standing in line for a really long time–which of course, Raffi reiterated to me should be worth it–we finally made our picks. They didn’t have raspberry which disappointed me, but we got 2 chocolates, vanilla, pistachio, caramel, and hazelnut, of which the chocolate and pistachio were my favorites. Chocolate and caramel were his favorites.

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Truth be told, he actually really enjoyed them! Even thought their high price was slightly worth it, whoa.

Now, one last story about asking people for favors. On our way back to the garage, I bought us tickets to the metro and after having gotten in through the doors, I immediately discarded them. This would not have been an issue if I had taken us into the right entrance; I got us into the RER–the regional train–which requires passengers to put their tickets back in to ensure that they paid the proper amount. Thankfully, I realized this quickly enough, but it still meant that I had thrown the tickets out! I told Raffi that we could just slip under the doors and be fine. He refused. By the time I realized he wasn’t following suit, I had already crawled under them and was on the other side. He claimed he didn’t fit, and better yet, the metro police had just appeared out of nowhere. Raffi insisted I talk to them but I didn’t want to talk to anyone anymore; I was tired and did not wish to converse. He told me he couldn’t possibly take a chance while they were there and I eventually understood him to be right. I approached the officers and explained the situation. One of the officers said there was nothing to be done, while the other thought he was being ridiculous and offered a solution: he said that he would walk through the service entrance and pretend like he didn’t notice how Raffi came out the other side, while the doors were open. That’s what we did. After we agreed upon this operation, the officer pretended like he didn’t know me, and I told Raffi to come in after him. It worked. 🙂

By the way, they never questioned how I got to the other side…their loss, I guess!

Finally having arrived at the garage, Raffi tensed up when it came time to pay. He reminded me of what he said and I just shrugged. What did the total come out to? 49.50 €! Ha! We saved 50 cents. 😛 He better have learned not to doubt me after that.

I leave you with this final thought. After eating at an Italian restaurant on our way back from Paris, we walked into Burger King because Raffi wanted to see what it looked like and their prices. While he used their Wi-Fi to check his e-mails, I grabbed one of the crowns they had lying around and put it on his head from behind. This is his excited face as he realized it, because he has this weird fascination with putting hats on from restaurants and then having his picture taken. Fascinating.

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