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Eiffel Tower: Wait not, want not

By JD Rinne
updated September 29, 2021
Getty Images

It used to be that the only way for a visitor to dodge the notoriously long line at the Eiffel Tower's elevators was to book a table up to three months in advance at the Paris monument's Le Jules Verne restaurant, where dinner can run $279 a person. But by the end of this year, a new online reservation system will allow you to skip the wait and soar right up to the 906-foot-high observation deck—without spending an extra euro. The $18.25 fee is the same as it is for those stuck waiting their turn down below. toureiffel.fr.

From the September 2009 issue of Budget Travel


Our Affordable Paris series

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A chic new tour de France

The classic Citroën 2CV—designed in part to transport up to two farmers and 100 pounds of potatoes—is the engine powering a new self-guided driving tour of northern France. Organized by Les Belles Échappées, the trip includes use of your own 2CV, a map marked with bistros, one night at La Sapinière hotel, breakfast, and a dinner (expect foie gras appetizers and lamb chop entrées). You're on your own for lunch, and the car is perfect for picnicking: The backseat can be removed and placed on the grass. les-belles-echappees.com, from $199 per person. —Katie Bowman, from the September 2009 issue of Budget Travel


Worth reading: A foodie rebirth for San Fran's Ferry Building

A few of our favorite links from around the 'Net this week: A busy Saturday at the San Francisco Ferry Building, now a foodie haven. [L.A. Times] Are travel agents making a comeback? [CNN.com] Israeli road signs: an ideological debate. [World Hum] U.S. air travel is down almost 10 percent in the first half of 2009. [Jaunted] Don't let Ryanair's "visa check" prevent you from flying. [Upgrade: Travel Better] Crying babies welcome at the Whitney Museum—they even get their own tour. [NewYorkology] Possibly the best hotel bathtub, ever, in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico (a Coolest Small Town!). [HotelChatter] For more travel blogs, go to Alltop.


A whole new kind of art hotel

As much as I love the idea of RVing, I've always been afraid of the fuel costs that would be involved on a cross-country (or, heck, cross-town) trip in one. Yes, some enterprising souls out there are retrofitting RVs to run on restaurant grease, and some other folks are even working on developing hybrid versions of new RVs, but this contraption, designed by Brooklyn-based artist Kevin Cyr, has them all beat. It began as a two-dimensional work of art—the bulk of Cyr's works depict (or use as canvases) run-down buses, ice cream trucks, and hoopties of all sorts—but this one actually came to life, so to speak, in 2008, when Cyr constructed a prototype version of a functional bike-drawn camper in Beijing. I'm not kidding myself that I'd actually have the gluteal power to haul one of these things down the street—and in fact, the artist hasn't taken the bike beyond Beijing's outskirts himself—but wouldn't it be cool if you could carry your lodging around with you like a snail or a hermit crab (and get a mean workout in the process)? If you're into it too, you can check out more of Cyr's work online or at the Alden Gallery in Provincetown, Massachusetts; a new show opens August 21. [via Meanred productions]


This weekend: Show your ice cream love in Austin, Texas

The Austin Ice Cream Festival, going on this Saturday, has a simple mission—"to have fun with family and friends while enjoying a variety of wonderful ice cream treats." Let's break it down: Fun: Besides ice cream, the festival oversees four contests centered around the sweet confection—ice cream making (contestants bring their own ice cream machines), ice cream eating, screaming for ice cream (open to all ages; screams are judged on decibel level, style, and technique), and a popsicle sculpture competition. There's also live music, a funny-looking ice cream truck, and a sprinkler zone. Family and Friends: Admission is $5 for adults, but kids under 12 get in free—and attendees are encouraged to bring their pets (because even Spot likes ice cream). Festival organizers expect about 15,000 people. Wonderful Ice Cream Treats: Vendors sell ice cream tastes for around $1. Quite a crowd!: Festival organizers expect about 15,000 people. And a Bonus: Some proceeds go to the local Big Brothers Big Sisters foundation. And really, you've got to be some kind of summer scrooge to not love ice cream—especially in the throes of August's heat. Austin's Saturday forecast calls for sun, with temperatures topping out at a balmy 101 degrees. Perfect for a frosty sweet treat. The Details: Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Waterloo Park. See icecreamfestival.org for more info. Admission is $5 for adults, but kids under 12 get in free—and attendees are encouraged to bring their pets (because even Spot likes ice cream).