"" Writer's Wanderings: Day One in Paris

Wednesday, May 03, 2023

Day One in Paris

 If I remember correctly this has to be our third trip, or maybe fourth, to Paris. We have covered most of the usual landmarks and things to do so we were planning on revisiting some and perhaps lingering longer at places we only caught a glimpse of before.

Last evening when we arrived, we didn't have a lot of time to do much since we were a bit tired from the travel of the day. Amazing how sitting in a train for three hours can tire you. Actually I think it was more the stress of getting to the hotel on the correct Metro lines and hefting suitcases through the whole thing. Bob mentioned early on this day that we would be taking a taxi to the train station on Monday when we leave for Avignon.

After a light dinner, we walked the short distance to see the Iron Lady as I've heard it called. The Eiffel Tower surprised me by looking a bit rusty. No that's not spellcheck for rustic. She is showing signs of needing a bit of rejuvenation. Come to think of it, lately I've been a bit rusty too so we two old ladies share a little in common.

One of the things I like best when visiting Paris is getting a crepe with Nutella. Near the bottom of the tower there are all kinds of food trucks but coming from the backside, we found one before we had to venture too far. Yum!

We both had an unexpected good night of rest. I thought the rumble of the Metro in our room and the noise from the street below would keep us awake but we fell off quite readily even with the window open to cool the room. When I awoke at three for a few minutes it was very quiet and noise did not pick up again until around 8:30.

Sorry to say but we passed all the French restaurants and cafes for breakfast and headed to McDonald's. Our hotel wanted 18 Euros each for breakfast which we thought a bit high until we saw signs saying "American breakfast for 17 Euros". Way too much to eat and the alternative was toast and jam, the French breakfast. We each had an egg McMuffin and cappuccinos since there was no filtered coffee.

After a little planning we decided that we would take a hop on hop off bus for a tour around the city. The morning was a bit gray and foggy. The Eiffel was missing its top. A bus ride sounded good after all the walking we'd done the past two weeks. We chose the Big Bus over the Toot bus for the simple reason that we could figure out where the stops were a little easier with their app. The cost was about the same and for 90 Euros we got a tour that lasted two and a half hours. 

The last stop was near our hotel so we came back, freshened up and decided on Starbucks for lunch. I know, here we are with all this French food around us but we just weren't that hungry and we knew Starbucks had sandwiches as well as, wait for it, filtered coffee! We order two sandwiches and coffees and the coffee came in the biggest mugs I've ever seen. I don't normally like Starbucks coffee but this was heaven. Oh, the sandwiches were good too. They warmed them for us.

A little researching the Metro system on an app that Bob had downloaded (Bonjour RAPT) and we knew exactly how to get to the Champs Elysee. We've never walked the whole thing or at least most of it before so that was the plan. We also discovered when we went to purchase Metro tickets that we could buy a package of ten which was cheaper than what a single ticket would cost purchased ten times. 

When we started walking from the Metro station we thought was near the Arc de Triomphe which sits at one end of the famous street, we realized we were a little off the mark. Oh well, more steps to add to my pedometer and more points earned for WW. 

Champs Elysee, as you've heard I'm sure, is the place to find all the most expensive clothes, perfumes, shoes, purses, hats, etc. in the world probably. As we walked, Bob held my hand tightly. I wasn't sure if he was being romantic or afraid to lose me in the crowd of thousands or just keeping me out of Dior, Gucci, Tiffany...the lines to get into the famous stores were way too long anyway.

At the end, we explored the Arc de Triomphe. It is quite an impressive landmark. There apparently is a viewing platform somewhere at the top where you get a view of the city but it was not obvious to us looking up. There was quite a line for it thought.

Did I mention that we are in Paris on a weekend? Add to that, it is a long weekend because May Day is on Monday. Children have a holiday as well so lots of families everywhere. 

Best onion soup ever!

A little time spent back in our hotel room with our feet up and we were ready to go for dinner. It was only six, a little early for most Parisiennes but we wanted to get back on a more normal eating schedule and hopefully improve our sleeping as well by not eating so late. At the corner by our hotel was a restaurant we'd scoped out earlier. It had a great menu, even offered pig trotters (pig feet).  Online we'd seen people rave about the onion soup (gotta love those Tripadvisors). It was everything they'd said. Very filling as well. We'd also ordered a large salad to share. It came loaded with little shrimp. Lots to eat.

Those of you who know me well know my mind is always plotting, scoping out new characters, etc. When we'd come into the restaurant, the waiter seated us at a table that was in a section of reserved tables and said we could sit there if we were done before eight. It was a cozy corner table and next to it was a small table with only two chairs. Halfway through our soup a lady came in and sat there. I didn't see her order but a large chocolate sundae with lots of whipped cream and a glass of water were delivered quickly. I mused over what her story might be. She had gray hair beginning to get that pure white that comes with age, sat erect and laid a folded French newspaper on the table but never seemed to read it. Instead, she slowly took little spoonfuls of her sundae and looked straight ahead. Was she people watching? Waiting for someone? Or was she remembering a better time when she came with a love and ate chocolate sundaes in that same spot? Yes, perhaps the romance of Paris was getting to me.

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