Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Paris Days 1 & 2

Okay, here's the day by day! Get a glass of wine, light up a Gauloises & grab some bread.

Day 1--June 4th. We arrive in Paris around 2pm after leaving Washington Dulles at 7 the night before. I slept *maybe* for an hour on the plane & am exhausted. I'm feeling grubby & exhausted but I'm in Paris.

So we get to the hotel (Elysees Opera in the 8th Arondissment---awesome neighborhood! Not too touristy which is nice but close to the metro, shopping, restaurants etc) & shower & decide to find something to eat. Btw, Paris traffic is insane. INSANE. I've mentioned that I'm a Boston driver before. I was white knuckling in the taxi from the Opera (where the airport bus left us) to the hotel.

We hop on the metro (we were near the Europe, Rome & Place du Clichy stops) & go to the Arch du Triomphe. Very cool. We walk down the Champs Elysees & decide to try to find a place to eat dinner. I was so tired that I have no clue where we finally ate. Suffice to say the wine was good, the food was incredible (foie gras & duck) & the people watching at the bistro was fabulous. Parisian women have this sense of style that is awe inspiring.

We go back to the hotel & I sleep for 13 hours.

Day 2-June 5th. We make our way back to the Champs Elysees for breakfast & then walk back up to the Arch de Triomphe. These stairs? We climbed them to the top. There are something like 287 or some crazy number. My thighs were screaming about 1/2 way up & I was glad that I opted to dress in "tourist chic" & wore sneakers.
The view from the top is incredible. *please note, the words 'incredible' & 'amazing' will be used a lot from here on in!

After the Arch we walked to the Place de Concorde which is where Marie Antoinette & Louis XVI lost their heads. We wandered over to the Touleries (the gardens near the Louvre) & worked our way to the Louvre. SO impressive. And this is just from the outside! The attention to fine detail on the buildings is so unlike anything we have here in the US.

Yes, we saw the Mona Lisa (or La Jaconda as it's known) & honestly---overrated. Granted, I havent' studied all the "secrets" of it (the land in the back on the left is different than the right side etc etc) but there are so many other paintings that are truly awe inspiring. The coronation of Josephine (heaven forbid I remember the artist) was truly breathtaking & I fell in love w/ one of Raphael's paintings (the Virgin Mary , Baby Jesus & St. John). We toured the "basement" which is where the medevial portion of the castle is located.

After lunch in the cafe we went to the Eiffel Tower. At this point I am so tired that all I want to do is sit on the stairs along the Seine. We decide the crowds to get to the top of the tower are too big & we're too hungry so back up to the Trocadero where we finally find a place to eat.

You have to love a country where the cafe/bistro will bring you olives as a little munchy while you wait. OLIVES people! I am in heaven. Wine & olives. Oh, and bread! Simple pleasures are truly the best.

More foie gras & duck & back to the hotel. Our only English channels were BBC America news & CNN International so we go to sleep.

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