If I were a childrens' storybook character (random, right?) I would be Eloise from the Hilary Knight books. Like Eloise, I am imaginative, impulsive, and love to find hidden cubbies and adventures. One of my favorite Eloise books was the one where she goes to Paris. I like to think that I am keeping her spirit alive in my alternative sightseeing. (Just not asking rude questions of passers-by or squealing. The second one is a little hard sometimes).
Today I went off (sans map) in search of the Eiffel Tower (or really any of the landmarks in that vicinity). The first I stumble across was Hotel Invalides. This old military hospital still houses and cares for just over a dozen soldiers. I saw some of them headed into church at the chapel in the courtyard. Since admission to most museums, churches, and monuments runs anywhere from 8 euros to 15 euros, I decided to skip the military history museum. After hearing that it has one of the most impressive collections of World Wars I and II weapons and etc., I might have to go back. Plus, it's Napoleon's final resting place. Who doesn't want to see his tomb?
The golden dome is recognizable anywhere, and the courtyard was MASSIVE and lined with cannons. Very cool.
I headed out the front door and into the park that leads across the Pont de Alexander bridge and to the Champs Elysees. I wandered pretty slowly because it was pretty weather and way early for most tourists. 9 AM on a Sunday is a perfect time for crowd-avoiding. I saw both the Petite and Grande Palaces (constructed, like the bridge, for the Worlds Fair)
On my way back down the street (to Marks and Spencer, of all places. I needed some Cheddar cheese which is devlishly hard to come by in Continental Europe!) I passed this sorry sight:
And now the moment you've all been waiting for (well someone in particular!) The Eiffel Tower: