Welcome to Paris!

July 6, 2016 – DAY 1 – PARIS, FRANCE

Bonjour!! This is my first entry in my first ever blog! I am getting a late start on my entries as I hit the ground running in Paris. I arrived July 6, 2016 around 10 AM after a short flight from Boston. I left Boston around 6:00 PM Eastern time and thought I could not have jet leg if I slept from 6:00 PM until we landed in Dublin (around midnight eastern time, 4 am Dublin time). This attempt was hard but the Nyquil sleep aid helped. I was in and out of sleep for most of the time, I thought I slept horribly but my FitBit disagreed. I had a very friendly seat mate from Holland who had been visiting Maine for a camp counselor reunion.

After arriving in Dublin, I had a Croissant and Cafe Latte (and was given a free chocolate).  The Croissant I found good, but looking back it was not better than Starbucks (now that I have been in Paris a couple days and have experienced a true Croissant.

After the short layover I was off to Paris.  I was able to get better sleep on the plane and realized after testing that I sleep better on the RIGHT side of the plane…noted.  I arrived in Paris and was getting into a taxi within minutes – literary.  There was no customs, just a line that I handed my passport to and they stamped it, he barely looked at me. The taxi driver was my first test as to if I could get by with my little French – I was fine.  I pulled up the address on my phone, showed it to him and we were off.  I asked if he spoke English (Parlez-vous anglais?) and he said in perfect English, “a little.”  And then he proceeded to talk in broken English that was perfect, no ascent, it was better than most people in the states. He told me it would be a long drive as traffic in Paris is horrible.  An hour later I was at the hotel (I should have noted the insane traffic and taken note, this will be my first lesson the next day).

I was greeted at the hotel by Denise Anderson, a friend and author at McGraw-Hill, who I have known for years and we happen to be overlapping in Paris by 1-day.  I was so glad to see a friendly face and have someone to give me the rundown before my Paris vacation (which was the first time I had ever been in Europe.  We checked into the hotel (they as well spoke perfect English but let me stumble a little before smiling and saying “hello – checking in?”)  The room was not ready but they said they could have it ready within the hour (great service!  I could be checked in by noon – that never happens in the States).  Denise and I walked to a near by highly rated cafe for my first Cafe Creme (latte).

The cafe creme was perfect and was a great pick me up as my head was a little foggy after the travels.  The olives Denise told me should be eaten with the toothpicks and not your fingers – noted (not an olive fan but will keep this in mind).  The other great pieces of advice that would come in handy, like, in Paris you have to ask for your check, as if they just bring it, it is considered rude of them.  Good to know and I made note of how to pronounce this (in my terms) la-dish-e-on. We finished our Cafe Creme and headed out to explore the area,

We walked through Bastille, Marais (where my food tour would be the next day) and on to the two Paris “islands” on The Seine: The Île Saint-Louis (French pronunciation: ​[il sɛ̃ lwi]) is one of two natural islands in the Seine river, in Paris, France (the other natural island is Île de la Cité; the Île aux Cygnes is artificial). We window shopped and had Salted Caramel Ice-Cream – amazing!

The other fun thing to note, is one of my favorite foods is also in Paris (and they do not need to change the name!!)

On one of the Paris Islands is Notre Dame. After some debating we agreed we would wait in line to see the inside, but not wait in the even longer line (and pay) to go up the towers…

beautiful, but too many selfie sticks, long lines and tourists!

It is unbelievable how disrespectful some people are in places of worship, it even said to be completely silent but people were still talking and taking pictures with selfie sticks and being very disrespectful.

I find myself looking at things that most people do not, I was amazed by the detail in the outside of the cathedral and all the gargoyles.  Very complex and interesting,

We ventured through some markets (I guess Seattle does have one up on Paris – we can do a fish market like no other!)

We ended our tour at a lovely cafe that Denise had been to earlier in the week where they were helpful with the wine selection. We ordered wine (I got Champagne – because when in Rome, or in this case Paris, why not!) and Denise got a full-bodied red.

We also ordered a charcuterie…ate, drank, and relaxed after more than 11,000 steps around the area.

After our meal and drinks I checked into the Hotel Original Paris – and was WOWed – this boutique hotel was perfect (and inexpensive) and was highly rated on Trip Adviser (actually first found it on Hotels.com) It added to the Paris experience unlike the other Paris Bloggers (sorry Rick Steves) that said not to book a hotel online. My room was on the top floor (6th floor) and was themes after 1 of the 7 deadly sins (the other 6 rooms on the 6th floor were all themed as well)  Mine luckily looked over the Eiffel Tower and was the first sight I got of the Tower.  

There is also a standalone bathtub in the middle of the room – no shower!  It is very small but perfect!  I could not ask for a better room.  The interesting thing about hotels in Paris (and I guess other places in Europe) is you have to leave your hotel “key” at the front desk when you leave and when you return to your room (after asking for the key from the front desk) you put the key in a place by the door that will turn the lights on for you.  I heard it was because it is so expensive to re-make the keys and so people do not have them lost or stolen when they are out.  Denise also liked that it was a way for them to know if you are back at night – agreed!  After a long day of walking and traveling I thought I would have the energy to go out, but I was exhausted!!!  I ended up taking a rest and waking up after 9:00 PM.  I could not bear to do anything (never had jet leg like this when traveling, I have only had it after arriving back home).  I stumbled to a take out pizza place that was highly rated and had won a lot of awards (and apparently has Megan Fox advertising)

and headed back to my room for a late night dinner of Pizza (with mushrooms, oregano, mozzarella, and ham) could not find the French work for Basil so I tried something new with oregano, very good! And I learned that they have different menus for different countries, all you have to do is ask!  I found this out too late, but I enjoyed the new flavors and felt very French

and a class of red wine that was highly recommended at the shop Denise and I had been earlier….

What a long, fun, exhausting day.  I had no idea how tried I would be when I had planed the day.  Something to note, when planning a trip to Europe do not over plan before you get here!!  Make sure to build in some “free” days.  More on this later, but I felt like I should have listened to Denise’s suggestion and not planned so much the day I arrived.  I tried to go to bed at a decent hour, but as 2:00 AM came and went I needed to take some Nyquil so I could get at least 5 hours of sleep as I was planning to get up early and head to the Bastille market (which is only on Sundays and Thursdays) and I had a tour planned at 10:30.  The Nyquil did the trick and I was out by 2:30 AM.  What an exciting, extremely filled, first day!


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