David and I just got back from a wonderful trip to Paris! I have several posts in my head to write here, but I thought I'd start with what we did. At the end of each day I wrote a little diary with pictures so I would remember what happened. Here's day one and two.
Paris Day 1:
We arrived at the airport on a red-eye flight. Going through Immigration was super easy. No forms to fill out, and only a "Bonjour" from the agent. We also got on the train going towards Paris pretty quickly, as all the trains were free that day due to smog issues.
After checking into our Air BnB apartment, I took a nap and David went for a run. Eventually I was ready for seeing Paris, and we were off.
We took the metro (free) to pick up our Paris Museum Passes. (A MUST if you are visiting Paris and like museums even a little.) From there we walked to the courtyard of the Louvre, and I saw my first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. It's one of those things you can't help but take a picture of whenever you see it, and my future pictures will show evidence of this.
We decided to walk from the Louvre to the Arc de Triomphe. Pretty soon along our path we saw a sign advertising "vin chaud" (hot wine) and it seemed hard to pass that by. So we got some and took a moment sitting by a pond, watching people go by. Which seemed like the very thing to do at the start of a vacation.
It's a long walk, but we walked all the way to the Arc. The walk morphed from being in a park-like place to being in a huge shopping area.
It was just starting to get dark by the time we got to the Arc. We didn't know it then, but every day at 6:30, there is a small ceremony to tend to the eternal flame at the base of the Arc. We saw the procession leading up to it, and all the traffic that was stopped as they went by.
After that, we hopped on the metro and met our friends at an Ethiopian restaurant (Godjo) for dinner. (I know! Our first dinner in Paris was Ethiopian! But it was good.) Our friends suggested afterwards that we go to a jazz club in a medieval cave, but it didn't open until 9:30, so we had some time to kill.
We were near Notre Dame Cathedral, so we walked over there. There was a group of street performers there dancing with different things set on fire, which finished up with a fireworks dance. It was pretty spectacular.
After that, we headed over to Caveau de la Huchette. Cover was 15 euros, and the atmosphere was very cool. We ended up a room away from the band, but it was a nice space. It was quiet enough there that we could talk to our small group, but certainly loud enough to appreciate the music.
After leaving there, we were a little hungry, so we found a Maoz on Rue de la Huchette. David loves Maoz because it's a great place to get vegetarian food, and it was just right to get some frites and mayonnaise that night.
Paris Day 2:
We started this day a little late given our activities the night before. We picked up some pastries at a local bakery (chocolate almond croissant) and ate them whilst meeting our friends in front of Notre Dame Cathedral.
We took the metro (free again on Sunday due to smog) to the Eiffel Tower. The line to walk up was much shorter than the elevator line, although we did have to wait a little. You can't walk up the whole tower, unfortunately, but you can walk up to the second "floor". The walk up to the first floor was a little over 300 steps. On this level there is a section of glass floor you can walk on and see the people below. The stairs up to the second level are not as crowded since some people opt to take the elevator up from this point. Although there were people coming down the stairs while we were going up, so it was harder to pass people going up the second set of 300-something steps.
The second level requires you to take an elevator to the top, and there is also a gift shop and restrooms on this floor. The elevator line moved pretty quickly. And then we were at the top! The views were huge, and it was quite crowded. We did get some champagne at the tiny champagne bar to celebrate.
For the way down, we took the elevator down to the second floor. David and our friends took the stairs the rest of the way, and I decided to wait in line for the elevator. The lower elevators accomodated a lot of people, so the line moved quickly and I got there before they did.
After that, we walked from the tower back towards the Left Bank area. We decided to make this a day of eating and drinking, so we stopped in to one cafe after another. At the first cafe, I got this macaron, which was my favorite of the trip.
From there we flitted from one place to another. We had a beer while watching the sun shine on the Louvre. We got a cheese plate (amazing) and wine at another place.
And finally we went to dinner at a vegetarian restaurant. We hadn't been to enough places, yet, though, because after that we found a place for after dinner drinks (I had hot whiskey) before finally retiring for the day.