Paris on Fumes

Coming to you LIVE from Paris, France!  Yes, we’ve made it safely from the gastronomic delights and ancient architectural wonders of Italy to…the gastronomic delights and ancient architectural wonders  of France.  Wasn’t as easy as I’d hoped, though.

Our flight from Milan flew from the low budget airport a bit outside of town, and the buses don’t run early enough for our needs.  Our flight left at 6:30 AM, so that means 4:30 check-in.  We bussed out to the airport at 8 PM the previous night, stayed up, and caught our flight.  Not the most fun I’ve ever had, though a young much-in-love couple nearby had more fun than I’ve EVER had at an airport, and nobody seemed to mind, as long as they stayed in their sleeping bag.  Ah, Europe.

When we landed in France, it was at Paris’ low budget airport outside of town, so all told we didn’t save as much money as we thought.  Taking the bus was expensive!  As we pulled into our stop near downtown Paris (if there really is such a thing) it began to snow.  Romantic?  Yes.  Convenient for lugging backpacks around?  No.  But we made it to our hotel in good order; though we couldn’t check in till 2 PM.  So very tired.

The desk man was kind enough to allow us to deposit our big backpacks and we decided to do some exploring while we had time/fake energy.  We took the metro subway to the two attractions we knew we wanted to see:  The Arc de Triompe and the Eiffel Tower.  It was bitterly cold, but the sights were totally worth it.  The Arc was nice, a bit more spartan than the Arch of Constantine in Rome, and is the center of a roundabout.  We didn’t stand around long, because really…it’s a huge arch.  Not a lot of mileage you can get out of it.

A short walk to the river later, we found ourselves staring at another postcard image:  The Eiffel Tower.  Though we did not go up into it (cold enough on the ground!) we admired the construction and people-watched for a good while.  The tower is huge!  Walking up to it filled me with an irrational fear that it would collapse on top of me, creating an authentic Rhys crepe.  It was surrounded by shady dealers, selling miniature replicas, keychains, and similar small overpriced tourist items.  The grassy fields near the tower were a welcome relief from the peddlers, and provided a great area to imagine much warmer weather.

On our way back to the subway, I noticed a small area of locked bikes.  Paris is one of those European cities I’d read about that rents bikes out to people.  You go up to a bike rack, insert some Euro, and the bike unlocks.  You ride it where you want to, and return it to either the same rack or another in the city…and you get your money back.  It’s totally on the honor system and a fantastic idea.  When it’s warmer out, anyway.  It was right at freezing all day with a brutal wind!

We returned to our hotel, conveniently right at about check-in time.  We checked in and promptly crashed.  We slept for a long time.  The End.

Of Sunday, anyway.  Today we spent the entire day with Uncles Jimmy and Jim at the Louve and other attractions…including a famous bookstore…but I’ll let Indi tell ya’ll about that!

One thought on “Paris on Fumes

  1. Famous bookstore…well that could be several things, depending on the location. If it isn't Shakespeare & Company, then you should definitely check out that place. It's near Notre Dame, and outside is the spot where all of the mile markers in France are measured from (or something like that). Also, head to the Latin Quarter & get some gyros (around Boulevard Ste. Michelle). And get over to the Marais & get some of the best falafel in the Universe. The Marais is a really beautiful area – it's the old Jewish quarter, so it's full of Orthodox Jews and amazing kosher delis and falafel restaurants (it's also adjacent to one of Paris's main gay districts). Go up to Montmartre – some of the best views of the city up there, and you get attacked by marauding artists, which is kind of fun. The Moulin Rouge is near there as well – that's the area where Toulouse Lautrec, Picasso, Dali, and all those cats hung out. Definitely check out the Dali museum on Montmartre – it's incredible.If it were warmer, I'd say skip the Metro and just walk all over the city, step into a few random cafes, see what there is to see. Buy a warm baguette and eat it as you walk. Buy some roasted chestnuts. Some of my best memories of Paris are connected with street food.Take a Bateau Mouche (boat ride down the Seine). They're overpriced and touristy, but they give you a great view of the city.Always remember that if you feel lost, there's always a Metro stop within a few hundred feet of you, and the Metro will get you where you need to go. Lines are listed by number and by the last stop in either direction, and only one line stops on each track, making it very easy to plan a route.God, I could write a book about what to see and do in Paris. Oh, if you can, take the train out to Versailles. It's really stunning. I'll stop now, before I actually do write a book here. I'm so happy that you're getting to see Paris. Enjoy. Stay as long as you can.

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