I wish I could have posted these photos while we were still in Paris, but the hotel we stayed at was under construction. I mean this quite literally. The internet was only available in the “lobby”, a temporary space between the staircase up to our room and the front door. More like a maze, really. And from the other side of the temporary wall came all manner of construction noises, worst being the electric saw. Or maybe it was a jackhammer. I’m just going to admit right here that I am actually completely ignorant when it comes to construction noises.
Apart from the modest accommodations, the hotel location was pretty much perfect. We took an overnight train from Florence to Paris, so by the time we arrived at 11am, I was ready to reach our final location. Fortunately, the hotel was a mere block from one of the largest metro stops in downtown Paris. If only we didn’t walk in the wrong direction for a block or two first.
We bought metro tickets and never really used them because, for the most part, the weather was so fantastic that there was no reason not to walk. I had a Paris bucket list, and completed almost everything:
- See the Louvre. Here’s a life-saving tip: buy your tickets at one of the large metro stations (like the one conveniently one block from our hotel). There was no line to get inside the Louvre with pre-bought tickets. I repeat, no line. Outside in the hot sun people lined up for hundreds of feet outside the glass pyramids, sweating, and looking rather miserable. Unfortunately, I did not complete the other museum on my bucket list, the Museum de Orsay, because we did not buy tickets first and I flatly refused to get sunburned waiting to get into a nice air-conditioned building filled with art where I would promptly fall asleep.
- See the Eiffel tower. Given my disdain for standing in lines, we did not attempt to walk or take the elevator to the top. We did walk around the gardens nearby and ate our lunch under the tower’s shade. It threatened thunder storms the whole way back to our hotel.
- See the Notre Dame. I won’t lie, it was a bit of a let-down after the Duomo in Florence, as I tend to prefer colorful artsy to dreary grey. However, as I didn’t get to see inside the Duomo and I did get to see inside the Notre Dame, it may get bonus points.
- Find a number of delicious looking restaurants and bakeries from various food blogs. E.g. du Pains et des IdÃ©es (bakery with rum raisin snails that made me seriously consider becoming an ex-pat), L’As Du Fallafel (dare I need to explain that one must order the falafel?), and Breizh Cafe (Breton crepes and cider). Plus another restaurant, Les Enfants Perdus, where the waiters were attentive and the music was in English and Bob Dylan-esc. Pretty classic. Or maybe I was just missing home by that point.
- See the catacombs. Epic fail. But that’s ok, because instead we saw the Luxembourg gardens.
There is still so much left to see, and perhaps more importantly to eat, but I have no plans to stay safely in California forever, now that I have finally hopped across the pond.