Oh Paris, how I love thee! Paris is wonderful. If my french didn’t suck so much and it didn’t mean that Chinese students would boycott me I would totally live here. Why then, do you ask, am I sitting here on a computer? Because I am exhausted for one thing, but also to avoid going shopping with Jessica and Freyja. I have had to purchase a few things out of necessity – like a belt (thanks for reminding me to bring pants guys and not even mentioning a belt!) and a skirt for Morocco – so I figured I should conserve my money and energy for the wine tonight. We also have free wireless and Freyja’s computer in our tiny, very European hotel room. But I’ll get to that stuff.
This is day 3 officially in Paris – even though day 1 was a bit of a wash. We are staying in the 8eme Arondisment. All the buildings are 8 stories high with beautiful wrought iron railings. I feel like I am in a movie.
Below is the view from my hotel room:
The flight over was alright – the free wine and the first meal Air Canada has served me in years made me happy. I didn’t sleep at all of course! I was about ready to die when we landed but the excitement of Paris and the fear of customs agents seemed to give me a second wind.
We found the RER station with little trouble but the damn ticket machines only took coins (who travels with 17 euros coins I ask?!) so we had to wait in a long line up for all train tickets alongside every other person who had just arrived at the airport with the same thoughts. I bought us two tickets in poor french and off we went to catch the train to Paris. It was a little confusing and we were a little on the nervous side when the train didn’t actually stop at any of its scheduled stops – but we eventually made it to the hotel via RER AND Metro with virtually no problems. I think that is a sign from the gods that I am meant to be here!
Our hotel is in a fabulous location and has lovely wallpapered walls AND ceilings:
It is small and the child-size bed I am sleeping on has springs digging into me most of the night but it doesn’t matter. The 9 foot windows make up for all of that. Paris makes me happy.
But back to my story. After we arrived here on Thursday, Jessica quickly went to sleep and I showered and went for a walk to try and stay awake (at 6am Toronto time). I went in search of the Starbucks we had seen when we got off the subway. Ya yeah I know what you were thinking but I have my reasons: a) I was too incredibly tired to even begin to think about getting one in a cafe and 2) Starbuck’s stock price has been plummeting. Thus, I was single-handedly saving the American economy. Either way, I ordered in all by myself in French. I can can do anything in French as long as the other person doesn’t respond! My Cafe Noir cost 3 euros for a Grande! And in case you were wondering, they still call it a Latte in Paris, but the sizes are Moyen, Grande, and Venti. I then went to the little bakery beneath our hotel where the old man mocked me for not understanding him. I still have no idea what he was laughing at but I’ll just assume it was good. I returned back to the room with the first of many Pain Au Chocolat.
We went out again for a few hours checking out fancy-pants stores where all the clothes are locked to the racks and the sales people hate Americans, and one other store – which has become our staple, and bought a skirt for Morocco. That store, Monoprix, I suppose is like Paris’ Wal-Mart (but not as ugly). We were delighted to find that it not only sells clothes, drugs and WWF baby clothes, but also groceries. We loaded up on baguettes, bananas, and cream cheese and returned to our room to eat and go to bed at 7pm!
(Thanks for the bag Lara!)
Freyja showed up about 8pm but had to mostly entertain herself while I dealt with jet-lag by sleeping for 13 hours!
Breakfast the next morning was delivered to our room. Those two cups of coffee lasted me the whole day. And MMMM Buttery Croissants! (another great reason to live here).
Then, we headed off to the biggest day ever! We walked at least 15 kms…. It was worth it but by the end I wasn’t to keen on anything (I went to bed at 9pm!). We went to the arc de Triomphe first, then wandered down the Champs Elysees where Jessica drooled over the Louis Vuitton et al stores. Then we continued down to Place De La Concorde, through Jardins de Tuleries (where we sat me down in the shade to avoid try and stop the sun from burning me and over towards Le Louvre.
Our plan was to take some pictures at the Louvre and then return in the evening for the half price visiting times but by the time we walked all the way to Notre Dame no one was interested in standing around a museum for 4 hours. Notre Dame really didn’t get a lot of attention – a creepy man in a gargoyle mask hovered and scared the crap out of me – but we spent most of the time sitting to eat our Pain Au Chocolat and using the very dirty- but free public toilets. There were far too many people to even consider going in. I’ve been before anyhow and it is likely too late to save my soul. So we walked home…. well almost. After another hour, and when we realized there was still an hour of walking to go, we jumped on the metro. We stopped at Monoprix to buy dinner again and headed back to hotel.
Dinner consisted of Rhubarb yogurt (the best thing Europe has to eat!), Bananas, and Brie Sandwiches. MMMM Brie sandwich. (I use “sandwich” loosely. It was bread with a whole bunch of Brie from our 1.45euro block).
Sick of reading yet? Just one more day to go.
Today we did the Eiffel Tower. It was about a 45 minute walk from our hotel and an hour wait to buy tickets before we got to start climbing. The crowds were enormous – even at 10am!
We climbed to the second level (which, in case you forgot Dad, is 669 stairs). The first flight was alright but by the second one I was pretty much ready to just jump over the side – I guess that is why they put up those damn fences! We stopped for, you guessed it, un pain au chocolat on the first level, climbed to the second, then Jess and I took the elevator to the very top. I know I have been before but it was worth it again.
Blah blah blah, we metroed back to the hotel for more brie sandwiches and rhubarb yogurt. The others are out shopping now and I am seriously considering a nap!
For those of you on facebook, the pictures are there. (For those of you who aren’t I can send you an email link to that album if you email me).
That’s it for now. Versailles tomorrow, Louvre Monday, Vienna Tuesday.