Iconic Eiffel Tower and the golden dome of the Invalides. Photo taken from Montparnasse 360

After settling in and finding my way to Neuilly, we headed to Montparnasse 360 to take in the great view of Paris.  It costs about 13 Euros to take the elevator to the top, where there is an enclosed viewing room, plus an outdoor viewing platform.  There is also a video room to take in the sights of Paris.  It’s a good stop-off point for tired feet.

Paris, as usual, is amazing, if anything because of its dense streetscape.  For mile after mile after mile, you can see grey apartment blocks, with a street carved through. Occasionally, you’d spot an architecture that’s substantially different from the rest, like the Pompidou, Notre Dame and of course, the Eiffel Tower.  From where I was, the Invalides did not look very far at all from the Eiffel Tower – just a hop, skip and jump.  But everything in Paris is a lot further than it looks.  In the end, our party agreed that it would be at least an hour’s walk from the Eiffel Tower to the Invalides.

If you should ever be in the Invalides, visit the Musee de l’Armee. Well worth viewing and learning about military history from the French perspective.  Also, you get to see Napoleon’s sarcophagus, which is very huge.

After Montparnasse, which was already 6 pm, we went for a snack and then in search of dinner.  Deciding to ditch the traditional French meal in favour of Vietnamese cuisine, we started walking towards Place d’Italie.  Chinatown was always a little bit further than where we were at, I’m surprised we didn’t abandon the walking and take the tube instead.  However, we walked through the non-touristy areas of Paris, and simply enjoyed to true local scene.

Finally, at 8 pm, we stumbled into a Vietnamese restaurant.  Had to ask a few people for directions, including a Chinese/Asian/Vietnamese looking man.  Thank goodness for the French speaker in our party.  Of course, we didn’t know what to order so we ordered whatever we could decipher. As usual, we left the ordering to our French speaker. But I needn’t have bothered.  Found out later that they spoke Mandarin and my Mandarin’s perfectly good for ordering food also.