Sunday, November 9, 2014

Hello from…PARIS!

Bonjour from the beautiful city of Paris! Jesse and I arrived yesterday in this amazing city and have been trying to balance his practical, responsible side (Seriously, we do not need to announce via social media that we are out of the country!) with my unquenchable desire to communicate every single thing (If I don't share it, it's like it isn't really happening!) I thought I might scribble in a journal and take pictures and put together some sort of album after, but then daughter Jess suggested I blog as I go - just letting close friends and family know where to get the photos and updates about our adventures. So -- here's a quick(ish) post on the trip over and first day's events.

Warning: if you're not into minutiae, these posts probably won't interest you!

We took off from Monroe Saturday afternoon after a whirlwind packing job that actually included me packing for a week in Paris in a small carryon bag. I know! 

(Full disclosure -- I packed most of my "toiletries" in Jesse's canvas carryon bag and brought a backpack for my "personal" carryon -- which included my computer and a Kindle, among other things. So, light, sort of, and we did manage to get on and off of two planes, through customs, a bus, the Metro and the streets of Paris and onto the world's smallest elevator with our bags, so, all in all, not too shabby!)

The Air France flight from Atlanta to Paris was crowded and fun. We were determined to sleep on the overnight flight, but that was easier said than done. We watched a movie (Guardians of the Galaxy) enjoyed a surprisingly delicious onboard meal (soybean and corn salad - delish - roast chicken with mustard sauce, rice and veggies, cheese and bread, fruit and dessert!) then attempted to go to sleep. Jesse ended up watching two more movies and I surfed a few comedy TV offerings. By the time we landed, (I don't know, six, seven hours later? So confused!) we were pretty tired. We wandered around the airport looking for the Air France shuttle to take us to "Etoile" so we could then get on the correct Metro line to take us to the apartment we rented in Paris' 15th Arrondisement. It took some searching (and we almost opted to share a cab with a nice couple we met from Montenegro) but then the right bus pulled up…then circled the airport for what seemed like forever before finally heading toward Paris. The Sacre Cour was the first "sight" I spied as we approached the city. Then suddenly -- rooftops, Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower…we were here! We found the right Metro line, bought our tickets, got off at the right stop and found our little apartment building! (This felt like a huge accomplishment!)

And when we got to the top floor (via the world's tiniest elevator) we were rewarded with this view from our new home away from home:

We'd been warned by globetrotting friends (Thanks, Kevin!) NOT to take a nap on the first day, so we were determined to push through the jet lag and headed out to an open market on our street that is only open on Sundays. (Thanks, Elisabeth Grant-Gibson for this and many, many other tips!) Okay, here's the part where I post an obnoxious number of pictures of produce -- completely unedited and unfiltered, right out of my phone. The fruits, vegetables, cheese, bread, meat, seafood…all absolutely beautiful! And fresh flowers! Parisians love their fresh flowers!

We bought some grapes, strawberries, Camembert, pain aux cereals (yummy grainy bread), olives and enjoyed an early-afternoon snack back at the apartment!

Then we decided to get "oriented" to the city by getting on one of the "hop on, hop off" open top buses that circle through, with recorded commentary, for an overview. The problem is, by this time we were both so sleepy that we could barely keep our eyes open! We did get our first glimpse of many of the places we plan to visit this week -- the Louvre, Notre Dame, Musee D'Orsay and more -- but we finally decided we had to get off and get coffee or we wouldn't make it through the rest of the day. We popped in a cute cafe near the apartment and ordered two coffees -- teeny tiny cups of espresso were delivered to us. After the first sip, we both thought "Oh no. Too strong. We'll never be able to drink this." After the third sip, we decided we really liked it and may become espresso converts! We topped off this bit of fuel with a visit to a neighborhood patisserie where we got an eclair au chocolate and a couple of macarons. We gobbled them before I could get a picture -- shocking, right? We returned to the apartment, where I did my nesting thing -- unpacking, getting situated, puttering around -- and Jesse took a super-short catnap. Then we were off in search of an early supper so we could finally give up and go to bed. We wandered around our new neighborhood, perusing menus and peeking in windows. And what did we choose for our first actual meal our first actual night in Paris?


To be fair, it was a delicious hamburger - wonderful beef, topped with sharp bleu cheese, a beautiful salad and wonderful frites! (Hey, when in France, eat…French fries?) Don't worry, friends, we promise to be plenty experimental in our dining choices the rest of the trip! This night, we needed comfort food! So we walked back to the apartment, where this lovely nighttime view awaited us:

Ah. Paris is always a good idea…


Hannah Crain said...

hooray! i love the details! hope you are having so much fun!

Emily Adkins said...

This is wonderful! I am looking forward to reading the rest of your posts!