L’Arc de Triomphe, Le Champs-Elysées and Paris Catchups
highlights: L’Arc de triomphe, climbing to the top; Les champs-elysées; Ladurée macarons; McDonalds real golden arches; Walking down the champs-elysées in the pouring rain all the way to the Louvre; The Apple store under the Louvre inverted glass pyramid; Catching up with an old friend, Tiphaine; Getting blind drunk on a Monday night.
I had organised a workaway stay with a host family in Aime-La-Plagne from Tuesday onwards, so today would have been my last opportunity to go out into town to buy something nice as a gift on arrival.
I decided to head into Le Champs-Elysées to grab some macaroons from Ladurée, quite an upmarket and well-known macaron house.
As I walked up the Champs-Elysées, I wanted to make sure that I walked past the McDonalds- supposedly the golden arches are actually made of gold. I thought against taking a photo of it, lest I inadvertantly provided them with free advertising. Here, please take note that I am still boycotting McDonalds and will continue to do so.
At Ladurée, the line was quite long, but the staff were nice enough and did not make us feel like the wait was as long as the line. I ordered first in french, however the server did not hear me so I decided just to order in English, this would be the first time since I arrived in Paris that I relaxed and went back to my native tongue.
After that I walked up to L’Arc de Triomphe. Originally, I was just going to get the view from the street, but it started raining so I sought shelter underground- the path just so happened to take me right up underneath the Arch.
The sign said that I could get in for free, so I thought, Why not? I got my ticket and began the arduous march up the spiral staircase. Being an acrophobe (someone who is afraid of heights), the staircase was a nerve-wrecking place to be. With every step, I could feel gravity trying to pull me back down to the bottom of the staircase, with every step it felt I would fall through the step to my doom.
Thankfully, I just sped up the stairs and made it to the top in a sweaty mess. Another smaller spiral staircase would take me to the top of the Arch itself, providing sweeping vistas of the city. This is also the Place d’étoile, where 12 different roads radiate from the centre of this roundabout, within which the Arch is situated.
Having already been to La Défense, it was a beautiful surprise to find out that there was a perfect line directly from La Grande Arche de La Défense and the L’Arc de Triomphe, just another example of the beauty of Paris.
There was scaffolding on one side of the Arch, so the view of La Tour Eiffel was slightly obstructed, although I did manage to take one photo.
I had some time before I was supposed to meet up with Tiphaine, a girl I went to uni with back in Sydney. She was born in New Caledonia, studied in Australia and is now currently in France doing a professional traineeship in film.
Les Champs-Elysées provides a straight line down to Le Musée du Louvre. I estimated it would take me about 30 minutes to walk there, and since it was kinda just sprinkling rain, I thought it might be well-alright to make the trek down there.
About 15 minutes into my march, I was caught in slightly heavier rain, not a downpour exactly, but enough to have soaked the front of my jeans by the time I arrived at my destination. My wind cheater rain jacket provided some protection against the elements for the top-half of me, but my legs were sadly cold and wet.
I wanted to buy myself an accessory for my laptop charger, so that I wouldn’t have to always use the European adapter. The accessory I needed was €20 and I thought I could go a little longer without it. The inverted glass pyramid is just outside of the Apple store here and made for a great photo, which I was obligated to take as an Apple fan.
Tiphaine met up with me at Chatelet, we had a late lunch together. She ordered La Rive Droite Burger, which was a normal burger but with an expensive name. I ordered Croque Madame (a ham, cheese and cream toasty with a fried egg on top). The waiter asked us what drinks we’d like, Tiphaine had a Coca Zero and I asked for un verre d’eau (glass of water). The waiter asked which kind of water precisely, and Tiphaine spoke for me asking for tap water. He replied with L’eau de Paris, ça va? (Water from Paris, it’s ok?). LOL
We had our meal and then decided to go and have a drink. She took me to Le Beho which was just around the corner from the café we were at. It was happy hour from 15h – 23h, that’s eight hours of €3.80 pints. There was a group of people at the table next to us, and after a few drinks we decided to ask them if they wanted to come out with us. One of the guys gladly accepted our random invitation and we went to another bar around the corner. There we had 3 shots of tequila each, they were served on a slider with a salt shaker and a plate of lemon wedges.
After that we went back to Le Beho and had a long island ice tea to cap off the night together. Randomly, there were some New Caledonians drinking at the bar. So we got talking and they were so generous enough to welcome Tiphaine and I to their tribes if we ever did come to visit them at their home.
We were just about to leave to go home when one of them came outside with a pint of beer and offered it to us. Being the stupid, drunk Australian I had to oblige him and I asked them to chant the chugging song, as I did I sculled the beer in less than 10 seconds, impressive? I think not.
That beer was probably the one to put me far over the edge and not ever come back. I was fine on the way home, apparently a bit fidgety, but fine. We were both hoping to get kebabs on the way home, however the one nearest to the hostel was shut. It was shut!
I made it home, Tiphaine ended up sleeping in my bed with me because her school was in the same arrondissement and she had to go to school the next morning early, so it was convenient. I was sick in the night and probably kept everyone in the dorm awake, but no matter- we all had fun!