Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday in Paris

I had such a great day. I was pretty bummed Gary had to work today, but I got going with our (very) "continental" breakfast of yogurt and muesli and off I went. Walked to the Eiffel Tower and gazed at it with its changing-by-the-minute personality. Walked along the Seine River and took in every sight and sound: the boats going by, the birds, the lovers walking, children skipping and playing, autumn leaves blowing, people selling their wares, chestnuts roasting, horns honking... loving every minute. I feel like I jumped into a movie or something!

Then down the Champs-Elysées and loved stopping in all the stores and looking at all the people everywhere. Especially LOVED going to Laduree's and getting some macrons (HOPEFULLY they will make it home this time!). Then had an amazing lunch there.

Then I went to the Monet exhibition and waited over 45 minutes in line only to discover it would be another 3 hour wait, so I left, and walked all the way back down the Champs-Elysées on the OTHER side of the street, past the Eiffel Tower and to my hotel. Got ready, and then a driver picked me up and took me to meet Gary and his Paris team for dinner.

Another Wonderful Day in Paris!

Well this was another great day in Paris, although we had a few little problems.

First we started out in the market, which was awesome:

Then we walked along the Seine River and stumbled upon the original Statue of Liberty!

Sadly, here I discovered I had left my Compact Flash card back at the hotel, and we were across town from the hotel! But I'm glad I had my iPhone!

We then headed to our tour of the top of the Eiffel Tower! We had JUST ENOUGH time that I thought I could make it back to the hotel and get my flash card for the camera for the incredible shots we would have from the top. Gary was going to wait by the Tower for me, because he was fighting off (another) horrible headache. As I rushed to go, because of the uneven streets, I went FLYING (in slow motion I might add), scratching up my elbow very badly (even through my coat), my knee, and my hands! I was SOOOO sad, but rushed back to the hotel and got my card.

We were so happy we booked online, because we went right to the front of a VERY LONG line!

Then to a wonderful little cafe for lunch, and off to the
Champs Elysées to go up and down the wonderful shopping areas. Find of the day is what people describe as: If you’ve spent even a small amount of time in Paris, you know that the macaron is ubiquitous. And in a city of fastidious eaters, it’s significant that a single dessert has managed to win the hearts and minds of so many.

Laduree macrons: WOW!

At first we were asking ourselves: WHY are we waiting for 40 minutes in this line for these little cookies that don't even look that amazing? Well, Paris IS famous for them, so we determined to wait for the fun of it and get some to take home. INSTEAD, we devoured ALL of them on the street in FRONT of the store! ha! They were AMAZING!!!! Maybe I'll go back today and try to get some triple-wrapped so I don't eat them all! It is said this should be on a list of 100 things to do before you die: eat an authentic Laduree macron! How can something so petit pack so much PUNCH in a few bites?! Only in Paris!

We then stumbled upon a movie theater and went to see Facebook together. Having met Mark Zuckerberg personally, I had a little bit of a hard time identifying with the impertinent brash personality portrayed in the movie, but then again, he IS brilliant, and maybe several years ago he may have come off that way. Now he is an amazing and pretty humble guy to meet.

We then trucked back across town towards the Eiffel Tower and stopped for a charming late night salad with the rest of the Parisians (everyone seems to eat late here!).


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Autumn in Paris

Paris is amazing. I was last here in about 1982 as a newlywed. It had a profound effect on me then, and it does again.

People line the streets holding hands and kissing... I don't know why but couples getting photos in front of the Eiffel Tower LOVE to kiss! The streets are filled with little patisseries and chocolatiers and restaurants/cafes with outdoor tables. Couples are sharing crepes, laughing over coffees, and walking with their heads together whispering...

The Seine River is lined on both sides with people walking. Children are laughing, and teenaged girls walk arm and arm with a bounce to their step. The metro is packed with people standing jammed. No one seems in a hurry enough to push you aside, and it seems as if people just enjoy the simplier things of life here... like each other!

Walking down the Champs-Elysées is such an awesome experience. People are in and out of the stores. With the obelisk at one end, and the Arc de Triomph presiding other the other end, trees lining the avenue, and the stores and restaurants on both sides with their up to the minute fashion, you can see why Paris is known for some of the best shopping in the world!

The Eiffel Tower looms over the city and from time to time, wherever you are, you catch a glimpse of it. There are French flags flying here and there. Occasionally you run across several policemen or military, and we walked quickly past a growing demonstration about something or other that was getting unruly, but all in all the feeling here is of peace and simplicity.

Even walking around in the rain is amazing. Today was the perfect day: their typical (sparse) breakfast of yogurt and a few slices of turkey (Gary had the muesli), then off on the metro across town to see St. Michael's and Notre Dame. It was POURING RAIN, but with our umbrellas we just joined the crowds walking the streets!

After walking around Notre Dame and the square of beautiful buildings there, we stopped for a sidewalk Nutella crepe and coffee. More walking and sightseeing, and then a lunch of a chicken sandwich (everything is on French bread!) for Gary and a salad for me. We then hopped back on the Metro to make our way to Champs-Elysées and sightseeing there.

We walked the streets for several hours, walking by the Louvre and through center city, and then made it to our Paris in Lights nighttime tour. We discovered we were supposed to have eaten, so we quickly each grabbed a chicken sandwich on French bread, and we jumped onto the bus.

The bus took us to the Eiffel Tower, where we went to the second floor and took photos and had a quick sparkling water and some "sweet" popcorn (kettle corn!). We walked around the Eiffel Tower for an hour, and then met dockside at the Seine River for our boat tour. After the boat tour (which was awesome) we walked back to our hotel, stopping on the way home for a little fruit salad (and Gary got escargots and oysters!).

We were gone from 7:30 a.m. til 11:30 p.m. It was an amazing day in Paris!