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Snapshots: Paris, Day one

Upon arriving in Paris, our very first order of business was coffee, and quick. After a 2 hour train ride, 6 hours on a plane, 1 hour layover and another 3 hour plane ride, we arrived in Paris at 1:00 am our time, 7:00 am Paris time. We’d been awake about 19 hours with another full day ahead of us if we wanted to try to avoid jet lag.  Not to mention we were robbed by a taxi driver on the way to our hotel.  Having been forewarned about the “illegal taxi” drivers, we made sure to go to the airport’s designated “taxi” pick up location. Flagged down by a man who seemed to know what he was doing, we were led down a flight of stairs and into what was obviously NOT a taxi. Too tired to turn around and go back for an appropriate taxi, we got into the 1993 minivan and paid well over 30 euros more than we should have.
Needless to say, coffee was the first stop when we dropped off our luggage.  We were caught off guard immediately by the lack of cafes open at 7:30 am.  Back in the states if you were a “breakfast” place, you’d be open by 7:00, at the very latest.  But in Paris it seemed as if they opened somewhere between 7 am and 9 am, and we had to walk around a bit before finding a spot that was open. Well worth the walk as I was immediately smitten by the French coffee. I’m not sure how I am ever going to go back to American coffee!

 

After a refuel of caffeine we headed out to the streets to meander around our hotel. I’m an excellent meanderer.

And we meandered for about an hour before we were craving french coffee again, and maybe a croissant…

Paris stole my heart almost instantaneously.  The city is not only breathtaking beautiful, with stunning architecture and history every single place you look. But it was also amazingly clean and, contrary to what many people say, the people were very friendly and very helpful.

After crossing the Seine River we decided to find a place to settle in for some wine (FINALLY).

And what is wine without an assortment of cheeses? Michael, of course, was dying to order some pomme frites.

After a few glasses of wine we headed back to the Seine via some small side streets, discovering wonderful charms everywhere we turned.

Although horribly touristy we boarded a guided river boat cruise towards the end of out day.  We’d heard it was a good way to get a glimpse of the city.  Since we were only staying 2 nights, we figured it was a good idea.  It was VERY touristy, full of a hundred people taking pictures of every building we passed with a recorded audio “tour” that was played in so many languages you couldn’t really understand anything that was being said.  Not to mention everyone thought it was very cool to all make “Oooh” and “Ahhh” noises under each bridge to hear their echos. Not sure how familiar you are with this portion of the Seine, but there are A LOT of bridges. 
But, nonetheless, it was a great way to see some of Paris’ great landmarks whilst floating along one of the world’s most historic rivers.  I suggest you bring yourself a guide book if you decide to go, though, so you can read about the landmarks yourself as you pass them since the audio recording is basically useless.

Notre Dame.

The bridges themselves were probably my favorite part.  Each one was SO different, they were outstanding.  Not to mention that along the river thousands of tourist and locals alike laid out on picnic blankets drinking wine and eating snacks. There were people dancing, families playing and couples gazing lovingly into each others eyes, we even saw a few weddings!

By the time the tour ended it was finally turning dark.  The sun sets later in Paris then back home, around 10:00 pm this time of year.  
We headed back to the 8th arrisdesment for a quick dinner.

Croque Moisneur anyone?

Goodnight, Paris. See you tomorrow.

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See other photos from my trip:  Paris Day 2 & 3Mustard Making in Dijon, FranceExploring DijonChampagne Vineyards in Champagne,  and Wandering Through Reims.

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