While Beth was here we went up to the top of the Eiffel Tower, which was a lot of fun!  It’s certainly an iconic Parisian tourist experience, and with good reason.  The views are wonderful:

You can make reservations online, which cuts out at least one line that you have to wait in.  That’s important, because the Eiffel Tower involves a lot of queuing.  Your reservation time isn’t the time you get to jump in the elevator, instead it’s the time that you get to queue up to pass through security.  Make your reservation an hour or two earlier than when you want to actually be atop the tower.

You can either take the stairs or the elevator up to the second floor, and from there take an elevator to the summit.  I’d recommend the elevator to the top – it’s quick, and you’re not too tired when you get to where you want to actually be.  But, here’s the crafty part!  Take the stairs down from the second floor to the ground.  You get to see a lot more of what holds the Tower together, and at night the first floor is all lit up with gelled lights that you wouldn’t see if you took the elevator from the second to the ground floor.

Another highlight of Beth’s visit included the Musee du Quai Branly, the native art museum that, as Paul put it, “is a consequence of Chirac.”  Their collection, covering the native Americas, Africa, Asia, and Oceania, are more than enough to fill a day.  I was a little “natived out” after the Americas and Africa.  They have a few special collections running as well, including “Sexe, Mort, et Sacrifice,” which seemed to be primarily a collection of pottery depicting Old Wrinkle Face sodomizing virgins and zombies.  I couldn’t help but wonder if they’d simply stumbled across some fourteen year old boy’s pottery class doodles.  I know academia from the inside, I know how easy it is to make mountains out of molehills.   It was like seeing the ceramic equivalent to the ending to Superbad.

It also turns out that if you harass someone with a camera long enough, you can eventually get them to re-enact Madge’s 1990 classic Vogue video while on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower: