2017 E5 walk, day 59: Viroflay to Paris

Section 13, Day 59
low 48 °F
0.08″ rain
high 75 °F
45,443 steps
17.1 miles

I ate breakfast in the campground’s restaurant, picked up croissants for the road (I’d ordered them the night before), and returned to the trail.

The first half of the day, the trail took a large S shape to follow scraps of forest into Paris. It started near Viroflay; near Vélizy-Villacoublay, it followed a neatly-groomed path past a cemetery. It climbed up a bluff to the Forêt Domaniale de Meudon, and wound north along the top of the bluff, before descending back down and being joined by the GR 2. It then curved around to the east, threading its way past Sevres, a suburb. At this point, crossing a highway, I got my first glimpse of Paris proper.

Looking east-northeast across an overpass, we see the guardrail on the other side, and trees to the left and right.  A four-lane highway runs below.  A few houses are visible ahead, and near the horizon is the Eiffel Tower.  The sky is blue nearby, becoming overcast in the distance.
My first view of the Eiffel Tower, as seen from a bridge over a highway near Sevres.

The trail soon left the woods for the final time, entering the suburb of Meudon. (From this point on, with a few brief exceptions, the trail was just a designated series of roads and walkways.) I followed the trail north, leaving briefly to head down to Bou­lan­ge­rie Pâtisserie Thomasse for a late sandwich. Returning to the trail, I descended down to the Seine.

The trail followed the left bank (left when looking downriver — here, the south bank) upriver until reaching the Île Saint-Germain (“Saint-Germain Isle”, named for a settlement that was long ago incorporated into Paris and is now a neighborhood). It crossed a bridge (the Pont de Billancourt) onto the island and continued along the island to cross the Pont d’Issy bridge at the upper end. From there, it left the riverbank and headed inland for a while, passing through a series of parks and a hospital complex. It returned to the river and crossed the Pont de Grenelle onto a tiny artificial island, the Allée des Cygnes (“Swan Alley”).

A river runs from the center of the photo to the bottom.  Beyond, to the northeast, the Eiffel Tower stands tall on the horizon.  On the right side of the river, a long, low barge is docked; behind it are trees and a handful office buildings.  To the left side, a broad sidewalk runs below, winding away from the river through trees as it heads away.  The sky above is partly cloudy, but overcast in the distance.
Looking upriver along the Seine from the Pont de Grenelle. The Allée des Cygnes is on the left.

At the far end of the island, the GR 22 crossed over to the right bank, to head past the Champs Élysées and the Louvre to Notre-Dame. While that also would have been a fitting end to the walk, I decided to end it at the Eiffel Tower — starting at a natural marvel, visiting a medieval religious marvel at the midpoint, and ending at a marvel of early modern engineering. So, I followed the GR 2 across the Pont de Bir Hakeim back to the left bank.

A river runs across the bottom of the photo.  From the left, a low bridge crosses it; a Métro train is crossing it.  Where it reaches the far bank, a set of buildings has matching turrets with domes reminiscent of dark grey eggs.  A variety of other buildings can be seen to either side and beyond.  Across the river, several trees grow on the bank above a handful of docked boats.  The sky is partly cloudy.
Looking north at the Pont de Bir-Hakeim and across to the right bank of the Seine.

And then it was just a few more minutes to the Eiffel Tower, the arbitrarily-declared endpoint of my 2017 long walk.

We are looking up at the Eiffel Tower, from just barely outside its footprint.  One leg is visible descending to the lower right corner; but for the bottom of the leg, the tower’s entire height is visible.  A few branches in the upper right corner of the photo are the only other thing obscuring a partly cloudy sky.
At the base of the Eiffel Tower.
Map of the day’s route.