Having grabbed a quick bite in the rain near Notre Dame, I next raced to find the disembarkation office for my scheduled prepaid evening tour.  I made it with minutes to spare and settled into a comfortable bus seat.  We were driven to the Seine, to stand in a line with multiple tour groups to board one of the perpetual river cruise tours.  It was still drizzling and chilly, so we all crammed inside, no one braving the outdoor or roof seats.  Scenery was wonderful, and offered a whole new perspective on this part of the city, though it was difficult to capture much of the overcast view through the window.  Some samples:

I was charmed by the dozens of private boats lining the banks

Were these pleasure boats?  Or houseboats?  One guy had his own parking spot onboard…

This is the elaborate glass and iron dome of the Grand Palais we went by yesterday on our red bus tour…

Likewise, we had crossed this bridge more than once, with its marvelous 4 winged horses.

The Musee d’Orsay, which houses major works of the Impressionists…I didn’t make it inside.

Notre Dame seen through the haze…

We passed under dozens of bridges, each completely unique; some simple, some elaborate

This cruise would definitely be worth doing on a sunnier day; I also wished sometimes I could have slowed our speed!

We ended up at the Eiffel Tower – and luckily just before it got dark.  It was a slow race to the 2nd floor!

I can’t imagine the view from the top (again, saved for the next time); the view from the 2nd level (next highest spot) was insane.

This side overlooks that spot I shot the tower from on that first red bus ride.

Again, the Eiffel Tower is simply one of those things that has to be experienced first hand to truly appreciate (the size, scope, sheer awesomeness)

The night snuck up on us, while the city slowly transformed…

…as did the Tower as the lights came on from inside the open structure…

…which blew us away back at the bus lot

We ended the tour with an hour drive around the prettiest spots.  It was a cozy and magical way (and romantic, I’m sure…I was really missing Jaci) to end the evening.   Here is the courtyard (and the famous glass pyramid) of the Louvre.  That’s where I’d be starting tomorrow.

Next: The most monumentally humongous museum in the world!