Murphy’s Law (Paris Part 1)

June 2, 2009 at 8:40 PM 4 comments

The weekend before last, Memorial Day weekend, was a 4-day weekend for John, and as I have already mentioned, we took advantage of the holiday and went to Paris to celebrate our first anniversary one week early.

The 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 was much more beautiful this time around.

We decided to drive, and even though it ended up being more expensive than the train (thank you tollways and Paris parking fees), we are so glad we made that decision. The drive was amazing – the countryside was gorgeous! On several occasions, I remarked to John that I felt like we were in a painting or a postcard photo because of how beautiful the scenery was.

The only exception to the beauty were these ugly concrete geometric “sculptures” that ran along about 10 k of the highway closer to Paris. They were odd and gaudy.

When we got to Paris, we were initiated into Paris driving by afternoon traffic (but I’m pretty sure there’s heavy traffic all the time in Paris) and swarms of motorcycles that had no regard for lanes. This is how motorcyclists drive in Germany too; however, at least here they are typically safe with their driving. In Paris, though, they weave in and out and speed around cars like freaking crazy.

Once we exited the freeway, we drove right by our hotel but we were on the wrong side of a road with a median, and we couldn’t turn in, so we drove to the end of the block to turn around. It wasn’t as simple as making a few left turns, because guess what? There was the largest roundabout I have ever seen, and we had to drive through it. It was insane. There were no lane markings on the roadway, and cars were exiting from the inner circle and eeeeeeeeek! Not to mention, our GPS said “enter roundabout and take 12th exit.” Seriously. What? Who can count that many “exits” with traffic swarming around you and the impending feeling of doom?

No worries, though. We obviously made it through safely. We got up to our room and relaxed for a bit while making a plan for dinner. You see, John had made wonderful suggestions for most of our trip, and he had presented them to me in envelopes marked with the day and time they were supposed to happen. It was a great surprise as well as a relief that I didn’t have to do any planning! Anyway, he purposefully left some things unplanned so we could do some random things during our trip. The first evening’s dinner was one of those times.

I perused my travel Europe book and was excited to see a Tex-Mex restaurant listed in the places for suggested Parisian dining. The book said they had great margaritas, live Latin music and good food. John and I laughed that we would go all the way to Paris just for Tex-Mex, and after joking for a few minutes about it, we decided we both actually did want to eat there. About an hour’s metro (aka subway) ride later, we were in a sketchy part of town where we really stuck out in our dressy clothing. We walked up to the restaurant, which appeared quiet…strange, we thought, since they were supposed to have live Latin music on Friday and Saturday nights. When we got to the front of the building, we could finally see that the restaurant had changed names. It was now a bakery of sorts. To add insult to injury, it was closed. Ugh!

We improvised and decided to go to the St.-Germain-des-Pres area, which is where our plans were later that evening. We figured we could surely find somewhere to eat around there. We looked around and couldn’t find anything that wasn’t a cafe (aka coffee and pastries…limited menu), and as we later learned, we were only a block from a myriad of actual restaurants. Anyway, we ended up at a very touristy, over-priced restaurant that served crummy steak and green beans.

After dinner, we walked a few blocks to the place John had planned for our evening’s entertainment – Caveau de la Huchette, which is a jazz club in the basement (looks like a cave…thus, “caveau”) of a place in the St.-Germain-des-Pres area. It’s been in business for 60 years. It was a lot of fun, but also very warm inside. We listened to music for awhile, danced to a song and enjoyed a drink upstairs before heading back to our hotel. Oh, but the craziest thing happened! I was sitting near the coat check resting my feet because I swear they don’t make comfortable heels, and I noticed a poster for a musician who “happened” to have just played a gig at the address of the former Tex-Mex restaurant. How crazy is that? (And to clarify, he played at the new establishment at the address of the old Tex-Mex place.) In all the music venues and all the restaurants in Paris, how unlikely is it that the musician on the poster would have played at the ONE place we tried to visit earlier in the evening?!

It was a great first day in Paris! I don’t have a lot of photos from day 1, but I have included the ones I took in the slide show below. Enjoy! 🙂

Vodpod videos no longer available.

PS Those of you who go/went to the Stone…is it just us or does the bassist from Caveau look like Matt Carter?

PPS I know, I know. I didn’t do a “Not Me!” Monday post this week. I honestly couldn’t think of anything to say, though I know I did embarrassing things. Bah!

– Sarah


Entry filed under: Our Goings On, Travel. Tags: , , , , , , .

A First! Tie your napkin ’round your neck, cherie (Paris Part 2)

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. CN Heidelberg  |  June 3, 2009 at 9:01 PM

    TWELFTH exit!! hahaha I think I would have been doomed to spend eternity in that roundabout!

    • 2. osarah  |  June 4, 2009 at 9:03 AM

      Exactly! I couldn’t help but think of National Lampoon’s European Vacation and how they got stuck in that big roundabout!!

  • 3. purejoy  |  June 7, 2009 at 3:08 AM

    we were in paris about 10 years ago and took the metro to the champs d’elysee at night. it was beautiful, all lit up with the traffic wizzing about it. we dodged six lanes of roundabout kamikazee drivers only to discover there was an underground pedestrian walkway!! who knew!! it’s a good thing we weren’t arrested!

    • 4. osarah  |  June 8, 2009 at 11:23 AM

      Haha I know exactly where you’re talking about. We thought we had to cross that way at first too. I’m glad you all made it safely!!


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