By happy accident–definitely not my immense need to be on time to things that typically results in lots of waiting–Mike and I arrived for our Paris catacombs tour approximately one hour early. We wandered a bit, bought some crepes, and munched on them in a nearby park while we waited.
Paris misted and drizzled for most of our time there, so the tunnels beneath the city provided much-needed respite from the weather. Our guide descended the long, dark spiral staircase before us and regaled the tour group with tales of death that resulted in millions of human skulls meticulously arranged underground. The skulls formed intricate designs and ined every single wall, only interrupted by the occasional sculpture. Mike and I spent much of the tour ducking, lest we knock our heads a bit too hard on the ceiling and end up joining the catacombs’ ranks ourselves.
After heading back to the surface world, we navigated the dreary city and entered another, albeit less menacing, tunnel, which took us under Les Champs-Élysées roundabout to where the Arc De Triomphe sits.
Evading some confusion with the ticket counter (this happened pretty much everywhere we went in Paris), we ascended the stairs to the top of the Arc, where we enjoyed beautiful (if a bit foggy) views of the Paris.
While atop the Arc, we took note of the ferris wheel in the distance. I couldn’t hide my disappointment when I found out the attraction was called the Roue de Paris and not simply “The Paris Wheel.” Chalk it up to the language difference if you must, but I was livid that the French whiffed this slowball.
We agreed to venture toward the Roue De Paris, and along the way we stumbled into the Villages de Noel, a section of Les Champs-Élysées the becomes a winter wonderland market in November. Exploring the market gave us a surprising reprieve from rigidly scheduled tours, and we capped that free time off with a ride on what should be named “The Paris Wheel.”
Our day ended with a boat tour on the River Seine, filled with ooh-ing and aah-ing at landmarks seen with new perspective and chatter between two friends. We chose to stay on the boat’s deck, out of the speaker’s range and nearer to the action. Fellow tour-goers stayed dry and within earshot of the guide, so we enjoyed a peaceful, pleasant conversation as we marveled at the city from its iconic river.
Meandering back to our hotel, we reflected on the day with a tinge of sadness, reminded that we had only one day left in Europe.