|Cité des Science & de L’industrie, La Tour Montparnasse, Geocaching, and Dinner|
Anakin’s pod racer from Star Wars, Episode I.
Kids have boundless energy… moms don’t.
And we were not all the way up, yet… Probably finished up around 210 or 212 meters on the helipad. (About 690 feet.)
Our global postioning system (GPS) receiver notes the location of the old Prime Meridian, which ran through Paris before the world adopted the one in Greenwich, England.
It’s interesting to note what was playing at the time we were on our trip.
Saturday, October 22
We broke our fast at the same place we had done yesterday. I had a petit-déjeuner Français (French breakfast,) which is a hot beverage (I had café au lait,) a croissant, a tartine (slice of baguette with butter,) and jam.
After morning fuel, it was onto the Metro for the Cité des Science & de L’industrie (Science Center) because they were having a Star Wars expo. In an effort to manage crowd congestion, admission to the Star Wars portion was staggered with tickets that stated at what time you could enter. Even so, the exhibition was crowded, since the ticket didn’t say when one had to leave.
On display were many props, costumes, and models from all six Star Wars movies. In the large central area six movie screens ran looping clips from the films along with multilingual “facts” about the imaginary planets that make up the Star Wars universe. The descriptions for the other articles on display made an effort at educating by speculating on the science behind some of the gadgets and events in the movies like, “How would a light saber work?” or “How much energy would the Death Star need to harness to be capable of destroying an entire planet?”
The Star Wars exhibit was fun and we poked around the other displays at the Science Center before heading off to La Tour Montparnasse. This building is a modern one (built in the 1970s, I believe,) which helped the French to realize that they should keep the ugly sky-scrappers out of the old city (hence the creation of La Défense.)
The realization came too late, however, to save the city from La Tour Montparnasse. It was already built. Still, it is not all bad. From the 56th floor there is a fabulous view of Paris that has the one from the Eiffel Tower beat in several respects. Firstly, Montparnasse is (somewhat) closer to the city’s center, providing a better panorama. Secondly, instead of a view of Montparnasse, which one would have from the Eiffel Tower, here one has a view of the Eiffel Tower, by far a better deal in my book.
This thought put me in mind of the gentleman who had hated the Eiffel Tower so much that, after it was built, he had lunch there every day just so that he would not have to look at it. If he lived today, I’m sure he would have his lunch at Montparnasse, instead. Another advantage of the Montparnasse view is that the wait for the elevator (lift) is shorter.
Tall windows enclose the 56th floor, providing unobstructed views in all directions. There are also the obligatory snack bar and gift shop. If the comforts of indoor observation are not thrilling enough, then, for the cost of climbing a few flights of stairs, one can venture out onto the helipad for a wind-swept, 360° view of Paris. Too bad that the day we were there it was overcast and threatening of rain. Nonetheless, we took a few shots and some were even passable.
Lydia’s pre-trip research had identified two geocaches within walking distance of the Tower. So, we went off a-hunting. The first cache was in a cemetery and the second was at the Paris Observatory. Once our quarries were found, the only things left to do were to hop on the Metro, head back to the hotel, and get ready for dinner.
For dinner, we took a Rick Steves suggestion (who, I am certain, never pays for a meal in Europe) about 7 – 10 minutes away from the hotel. The place was small and friendly with only 5 or 6 tables. The meal was very good. But, what else would we expect? We had read in Rick Steves’s description that the Chef/Owner had lived in Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia, for three years. I was glad that he spoke to us in English.
As we ate and enjoyed our relaxing meal, we overheard two other couples chatting (in English.) They were both “doing” Rick Steves, too. As a fact, running into other “Rick Stevies” is not uncommon when one visits one of his recommendations. Two other families in the restaurant spoke English, so the waitress, who had mentioned to us that she wanted to practice her English, got a linguistic workout. (And we hit her up for the occasional French word, as one ought to do when faced with such an opportunity.)
Read more about day 8 on Lydia’s blog.
Paris Vacation, Day 8 12 comments