One morning during our 2011 VirtualTourist meeting in Paris, we met in the Parc du Champ de Mars near the Eiffel Tower for a picnic.
I rode over there on a Vélib’ bike from the Latin Quarter — as did another VT member, Dave Sut. (He and I and several other VT members were staying at the same small hotel on Rue Cujas.)
Like most VirtualTourist meetings, this one was completely organized by the members themselves, and in this case there was a high degree of last-minute planning. During the picnic, Paul and I went over to a nearby restaurant to negotiate with the owner about having a meal there for thirty-five people that same evening. Thirty-five was the maximum capacity of the restaurant, so it would have to be closed for other guests. I’m happy to say that Paul, who has lived most of his adult life in France, did nearly all the talking, and I was highly impressed with the way he settled everything and made the owner feel comfortable about the arrangements. (I think he just wanted me along as a witness.)
The restaurant was fine for our purposes. It was small, informal, friendly, inexpensive and conveniently located near the Champs de Mars park.
(As of 2021, this restaurant no longer exists. Nor does VirtualTourist, for that matter.)
After a good meal and a lively evening at La Varangue, we walked back to the park for a nighttime look at the Eiffel Tower.
Most nights, weather permitting, there used to be a sort of spontaneous international picnic and tower-watching party on the grass of the Parc du Champ de Mars near the Eiffel Tower. But this is not true during Covid times, when Paris has a nighttime curfew and no tourists.
That evening in 2011 we had a pleasant time just standing or sitting around with hundreds of other people (it’s a big park) and going ouu and ahh once an hour when the tower started sparkling for a few minutes.
My astronomer friends would no doubt decry this as unnecessary light pollution, and I can see their point, but when you’re in good company on a warm evening it’s sort of nice.
My photos in this post are from 2011. I revised the text in 2021.