Paris Part I: Days 1 & 2

January 8, 2008 at 1:04 PM 4 comments

Sorry it took me a whole week to get a post from Paris up. Between being exhausted from our trip and trying to tie up some loose ends before I head back to Texas, we have been pretty swamped with stuff to do.

Paris was a lot of fun but not really what I had envisioned. Perhaps if we go back in the spring or summertime, it might be different. Something else I didn’t expect?…the LINES! Oh my goodness, we had to wait to wait again to do almost anything. I will say, however, that people were a bit nicer than I had prepared myself for. Only a couple people were so snooty as to ignore us altogether purely based on the fact that we were Americans. We were even trying (really hard) to speak French. John didn’t know any French before the trip and was amazing at picking it up. I only took a semester of French during my first semester in college (five and a half years ago!). Between the two of us, I think we did really well for ourselves.

Our first test was when we got off the train at the main station in Paris. We had to navigate where to go and how we should get to our hotel. It didn’t take us long to find a subway map and locate the subway stop for our hotel. We plotted out our route from the main station and set out to find a way to buy tickets. We found these computers that dispense tickets, but everything was in French. Still, we managed to get our tickets fairly easily using the little knowledge we had of French, and we were on our way. We got to our hotel between 11:30 and midnight (our train got in around 11 PM), put our stuff down and headed back to a cafe/bar we passed when we came up from the subway.

We made two stops at this bar during our stay. I believe the place was called The Depot, but I could be wrong. It felt kind of Austin-y and was a nice place to relax…except for the smoke. That’s another thing. There is smoking everywhere in Paris – even more than in Germany. I had a hard time with it since it gives me such bad headaches, but it definitely made me appreciate all the no smoking areas in the US. Speaking of, if you ask to be in a smoking section in the US (if the restaurant even has a smoking section), you are usually sent to a small room in the back of the restaurant. It’s the complete opposite here. If you want the non-smoking section, you’re in the small room in the back, and usually, there are still people smoking there too.

Anyway…the next day, we got up early and went to a little bakery right across from our hotel. I ordered as best I could in French, and we got two quiche Lorraines and two delicious glasses of orange juice. We then made our way to the Arc de Triomphe. The traffic circle that surrounds it is crazy, by the way! There don’t appear to be any lanes – just a lot of crazy driving. At least that’s what it looked like to me.

We didn’t go up in the Arc de Triomphe but walked around the outside. It was pretty neat, and being able to look all the way down the Champs-Élysées was cool. From the Arc de Triomphe, we walked down the Champs-Élysées. There were a number of really expensive stores and nice cafes along the street. We never knew how expensive Cartier could be until we saw their watch and other jewelry displays in their front window. We only went in a few places – a few car stores (not dealerships…think showrooms), the GAP (I was trying to find a hair clip…never found one), Virgin Records Megastore and Louis Vuitton.

We stopped for lunch at a nice little cafe toward the end of the main part of the Champs-Élysées. I had the most fantastic ravioli, and John ordered French onion soup and what he thought was duck. Well, he ordered duck foie gras. Neither of us knew what foie gras was but decided the duck must be pretty good, because it was a bit pricey. When our food came, we thought we were missing the duck. I had my pasta, and John had his soup and some random plate with toast and a orange-ish paste (kind of like butter) on it. When no duck came, we concluded the paste thing must have duck in it. It wasn’t until we got back to Germany and could look online that we found out that duck foie gras is duck “fat liver.” Here’s an explanation I took from Wikipedia: ” Foie gras (French for ‘fat liver’) is ‘the liver of a duck or goose that has been specially fattened by gavage’ (as defined by French law). Foie gras is one of the most popular delicacies in French cuisine and its flavour is described as rich, buttery, and delicate, unlike that of a regular duck or goose liver. Foie gras can be sold whole, or prepared into mousse, parfait, or pâté (the lowest quality), and is typically served as an accompaniment to another food item, such as toast or steak.” Eesh…I’m still getting nauseous thinking about it. I tried it and didn’t think it was good, but I guess at least I tried it. Ew.

By the way, I just looked up what gavage is. I don’t think John or I will be eating anything foie gras again. Gavage means feeding someone or something against their will. :o(

Ok, back to happier Parisian thoughts. After lunch, we decided to ride the ferris wheel. We’re both very glad we did that. It provided great 360 degree views of Paris, and was definitely worth the money. As you can see in our picture slideshow below, we saw a lot of the major sights we later visited close-up while up in the ferris wheel.

The sun was getting lower in the sky, and we didn’t want to run out of daylight, so we hurried to the Eiffel Tower…only to wait around 2.5 hours in line just to go up in the tower. During that time, we got very cold and it poured rain on us. Luckily, some very nice Italians in line behind us graciously lent us their extra umbrella during the downpour.

Going up in the Eiffel Tower was pretty neat, but it would definitely have been more enjoyable if we had done it in warmer weather. It was cold and extremely windy the higher we went up (of course). We went to both of the lower observation decks and the deck at the top of the Eiffel Tower. Both John and I were a little squeamish about the height. For once (truly once), I think I was a slight bit more adventurous, because I didn’t have quite as much of an issue getting near the edge. I’m sure it wouldn’t have been as easy if I didn’t have John holding me by the back of my jacket, though!

My photos for the day end here, and unfortunately, I have a terrible memory, so I don’t remember what else we did. I’ll have to ask John later and get back to y’all on that.

Here’s our slideshow for Paris Part I! Be sure to pay attention the the captions in the slideshow if you’re not familiar with Paris. I tried to caption everything as best I could.

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Bon Voyage! Paris Part 2: Days 3-5

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. classic elegance  |  January 8, 2008 at 3:23 PM

    awesome photos! I love the ice bar on the Tour Eiffel =) tres chic!
    ~cat~

    Reply
  • 2. h*dizzle  |  January 8, 2008 at 3:26 PM

    amazing photos! sounds like paris didnt let you down!btw, you look really nice with your hair down !

    Reply
  • 3. Laura  |  January 10, 2008 at 4:00 AM

    Glad y’all had fun and can’t wait till you get home to hear more stories!

    Reply
  • 4. Murphy’s Law (Paris Part 1) « SoJo Life  |  June 2, 2009 at 8:40 PM

    […] last time we were in Paris, it was December 2007, and being in the midst of winter and all, Paris wasn’t very pretty. Needless to say, Paris […]

    Reply

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