Finally...item numero un of my bucket list, done and done! I went to Paris! Who better to complete the top item of my life to-do list with than Maggie. Yaaay! Maggie's hilarious and fun brother Tom also made the journey across the pond with us. There are so many things to blog about...it has to be done in segments.
We look so Euro chic!
Day 1: Parlez vous Francais?
After an exhausting 9 hour flight from Houston to Paris, we arrived to Paris feeling the affects of sleep aids and in serious need of showers and a change of clothes. Our amazing airport shuttle picked us up within minutes and drove us through the districts of Paris one by one on our way to the Marais. Our hotel was the Hotel Castex about a block from the Bastille...pretty much the perfect location for Paris first-timers. Tons of restaurants, boulangeries, patisseries, clubs, a nearby Metro station...fabulous!
We got the key to the room, walked in and saw a front room with two arm chairs, a roomy bathroom, and a bedroom with a king bed. Nice...but for three people, we were expecting the room we saw online with at least two beds. I wasn't exactly cool with sleeping in an armchair for a week. A little upset, I went to the front desk and tried to sort things out. The attendant told me that they upgraded us to the biggest room since we were there for so long and that it was for four people. Huh? Four midgets that want to share a bed maybe.... Then she explained how the arm chairs were actually "beds"..kinda like little futons. After Maggie and I took a while figuring it out (I'm blaming it on the Sudafed)....everything was tres bon.
Tom locked himself in the bathroom at one point...I think he was in there for ten minutes. We couldn't get the lock to budge, but finally I pulled my best McGuyver move, grabbed a penny and set him free. Then it was on to the week o' feasting!
Cafe Moderne was our first intro to French cuisine and my first chance to test out my high school French. Amazingly, I was able to get us a table and interpret the menu. Thanks Mademoiselle Guy (my HS French teacher)!! Maggie had her first of 10 salmon dishes and everyone else had a pretty delicious meal. Mmmm!
Then it was on to wondering the streets of the Marais and the Isle de Citi to see the Notre Dame Cathedral. It was breathtaking and much more elaborate than I had imagined. The island that it is located on should be named the dessert island. The only thing there are creperies, ice cream shops and gelato cafes. How the French are fit...I have no idea. It must be all the walking and smoking. We got some gelato at one of the places and Tom met a french ladyfriend. Go Tom!
That night we ate dinner at La Petit Chaise. It means, "The Little Chair" in French and the food there was superb! I got the soup l'oignion (aka French Onion Soup), duck with an apple chutney accompanied by some of the best mashed potatoes ever and a baked apple, then dessert was a mousse with a warm chocolate/hazelnut sauce. It was a party in my mouth. Tom's soup came out cold, he told the waiter so, and fifteen minutes later his soup returned piping hot and he had to wait like ten more minutes to eat it! Ha! Lesson one...don't complain about your food in Paris...you'll pay.
After downing lots of wine, we walked off some of our grub and found the Eiffel Tower. Anyone who knows me, knows how OBSESSED I am with the tower. It's kind of ridiculous actually... When I saw it twinkling for the first time, I was in complete awe. I was speechless....drunk, but still speechless.
On the way home, we got lost and couldn't find the metro station (in what we later found out wasn't the safest area at night..whoops!). We eventually found a station, but the train stopped and let us out before we reached the Bastille. Kinda scary, but we managed to grab a cab. What a good day....