I arrive at Charles de Gaulle airport at 9:30 having not slept on the flight over and proceed to the taxi stand to get a cab. My cab driver appears not to know how to get to the cargo terminal despite a page long set of instructions from the helpful desk clerk at Air Canada. He drops me off about half a kilometre from the cargo terminal and after talking to some people I get pointed in the right direction and walk over to the terminal. It is quite warm and humid in Paris so I arrive pouring sweat. The staff at the terminal provides me paperwork and points me to customs. At the customs office I am provided with a temporary import permit so Air Canada Cargo can release my bike. All in it takes about 30 minutes to get the bike temporarily imported to the EU. After reattaching the battery the bike is ready to go and I head toward a gas station for fuel as the bike was nearly empty for the flight.
I navigate my way to the hotel with minimal cursing… okay, maybe a large amount of cursing because the GPS isn’t reading directions through my headset and I ended up having to read directions off the screen. The driving in Paris is best described as organized chaos. It appears like there are rules but most aren’t followed, and no one on the numerous scooters appears to follow any rules, but it must work as I only saw one accident while there.
After checking in to my hotel I walk the neighbourhood (Pantin) before grabbing dinner and heading to bed as I was exhausted from not sleeping on the plane.
I am up fairly early on Friday morning and figure out how to catch the commuter train in to the city and get on the subway to Trocadeo. Surprisingly I manage to find my way with relative ease.
The Trocadero gardens are on the opposite bank of the Seine River from the Eiffel Tower. Unfortunately the grounds were under construction and the fountains were turned off, but it is still the best place to view the Eiffel Tower from.
At this point I am excited to go see the Eiffel Tower up close and head over immediately.
Pictures don’t do it any justice and I would recommend viewing in person if possible. It is at this point that I begin experiencing the increased security measures being implemented in Paris. The base of the Eiffel Tower is fenced off and you have to go through a security checkpoint to be admitted.
On the other side of the Eiffel Tower I go to the Champ de Mars which is the side most movies show.
After the Eiffel Tower I walk around the area and head to the Army Museum which is actually a number of museums.
The first building as you approach is where Napolean’s tomb is stored along with other individuals from the revolution (sorry my Revolutionary French history knowledge is limited.)
The complex also includes a museum dedication to 1870+ with a focus on WWI and WWII.
There is also a museum for armour and weapons from pre-Revolutionary France. It is kind of strange seeing the armour sized for a child as the museum houses the armour throughout the life stages of the Royal Family from heir apparent to King.
The buildings are full of armour and weaponry but the exhibit isn’t lit well for photography.
I also visited the French Resistance and Napoleon Era museums but didn’t take any pictures.
The last museum I went to houses the relief maps which were constructed so generals would be able to plan artillery positions in defence of various forts and cities in France.