Moving on up!
If you fancy taking a trip up this famous landmark of Paris, and you get there and the queue is 200m long, consider walking up the stairs, as its cheaper and you appreciate the view that much more when you get to the top. Although you can only climp to the 2nd level and not all the way to the top, the view is still gorgeous, and well worth the climb! Seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time was quite emotional as I have always seen it on television as a small kid, and then to be standing next to it was just the best thing ever.
Paris is just stunningly beautiful, with lots to see and do, brush up on your french before you go though, because not everyone speaks English.
Checking out a Velib' bike
For those fortunate people who live in Paris and have annual Velib' subscriptions, checking out a bike is quick and easy. They don't even have to use the computer terminal, they just find a bike they want, swipe their card briefly on the card reader (where it says Posez votre carte d'abonné sur le lecteur), push the button and off they go.
For the rest of us, with one- or seven-day subscriptions, it's a bit more complicated (but still easier than the German Call-a-Bike system, for example).
When we have found a bike we want, we have to go to the computer terminal, press 1 to confirm that we have a short-term subscription, press 1 again to confirm that we want to borrow a bike, enter our seven-digit subscriber number and press V to validate, enter our secret four-digit PIN number that we have defined ourselves and again press V to validate, again press V to confirm that we are responsible for the bike we will be using, then enter the two-digit number of the bike we want and again press V to confirm. The computer checks to see that that bike really is available and then tells us to go get it.
I know that sounds complicated, but after you've done it a few times it goes really fast, so please don't be intimidated, okay?
Before taking a bike, always check first that the tires are pumped up, the chain is in place and the handbrakes work. Experienced Velib' users often pick up the bike by the back of the seat and give the back wheel a spin to make sure it isn't bent out of shape. Again, this all goes very quickly after you've done it a few times.
Second photo: Here's a nice Velib' user at station 16023 aka 16-23 (twenty-third station in the 16th arrondissement) at 1 rue de Passy, trying to locate her seven-digit subscriber number so she can type it into the computer terminal.
Third photo: To check out a bike you have to use this side of the terminal, the side with a map of the immediate vicinity. This map shows the location of other nearby Velib' stations, so if no bikes are available here you will know where else you can try. Theoretically the computer terminal can also tell you how many bikes are available at which other stations, but I have so far never succeeded in making it do that. (Not that I ever really put my mind to it. I think the trick is that you have to enter the station number in its five-digit form without the hyphen, e.g. 16023 rather than 16-23 as it says on the terminal.)
Paris becomes different on Christmas as every city. Many big stores as "Au Printemps", "Galeries Lafayette", "La Samaritaine" are best ways to feel the Christmas ambience. Many people from other parts of France come to Paris for this feeling. Children are happy :-)
Motorcycles all over
Lots of people in Paris are using motorcycles of all sizes and types. Which is no wonder if you see the morning congestions on the roads...better to avoid or just bypass them...:)
They tend to drive fast and with less care towards pedestrians then car drivers.
Just in case the real was not over there, I brought my own one ... hehehe pobrecito....
It was so much fun doing the photo, the people were looking at us as if we were crazy (I wonder if they are right lol) ...
And Stace finally said,
Common I am embarrassed....
Embarrassed???? 400.000 people are going to see this photo at VT!!!!! why you mind just a few lol