Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Paris-last day

Ah, Paris. We had only been in Paris just briefly at the start of our trip and now we headed back to spend the day on Friday. Now, I should probably tell you that I am not a “loves the big city lights” kind of girl. I’m more on the side of “damn, this place is dirty.” That said, aside from the noise, and dirt and pushy little old French ladies, Paris does have it’s charms. I’m at a loss to list many here, but I know they exist. Oh! I know one—fountains—they’ve got good fountain there. Sure, that fountain is probably pissed in nightly by street urchins, but it sure is pretty. Oh and all that culture—the Louvre, And.. other things? I have to admit, since we were spending most of our time in Burgundy, I didn’t do a lot of Paris research (sorry).

We got to Paris and settled in our hotel—the Hotel St. Jacques where the lobby was about the size of our kitchen back at home, but other than that, the place was adorable. Sure, we could only take the lift one at a time and had to turn sideways to fit through the hallway, but it was really quaint, very "belle-epoque." We got a great lunch right across the street and then headed out for some exploring. We knew we were very close to Notre Dame, so we just followed some google maps I had printed out and found it actually within 20 minutes or so. It is a lot bigger than I expected and the gargoyles are awesome. We considered waiting in the line that snaked around the block to get inside, but right about then, the cold/blustery weather turned into freezing/pouring sideways rain, so we just satisfied ourselves with looking from the outside and then headed off to the thousands of little bijou/souvenir shops lining the streets to buy horrifyingly ugly t-shirts and hats with rhinestones (family, expect yours in the mail!). We did this til it was time to meet up with Amy, a childhood friend of Sam’s who owns a Mexican Restaurant near the Point de Neuf. Poor Amy was short-staffed and over-booked for the Friday night so we were lucky to get in to see her before the dinner rush. (plus, out of the needle-like freezing rain—whew). True to Texas, we had margaritas in Gay Paree. We weren’t really expecting to get to see much more of Paris since we had an early flight the next morning and needed to get rest, but Amy gifted us with tickets for one of the riverboat cruises on the Seine that takes you around the city for some of the more famous sites.

You would think with the freezing temps and the general crappy weather, the cruise wouldn’t have many takers, but good lord, it was packed-- We got seats up on the front of the boat—a decision I would come to regret shortly thereafter. We had an awesome view of everything, but as if we weren’t already chilly having been soaked earlier, you add cruising super-fast on the water at night, and yeah—20 minutes into the hour-long+ tour I couldn’t feel my nose.

Who cares if you can’t feel your nose when there’s the Eiffel Tower, right?
We saw that, we saw the place where Marie Antoinette got offed, we saw the (back of) the Louvre, lots of great things. It really was a great tour--just toe-numbingly cold. Back to the hotel to heat up our bones and then in the morning—the adventure of navigating the Paris subway system to get to the proper terminal at Charles de Gaulle. I won’t bore you with details of the trip home other than to say that we had a 21 hour travel time day on Saturday and I had at least 12 cups of coffee. Weeee! Good times. Day 4 of being home and I’m just barely back on somewhat regular schedule.

So, would we recommend France—oh yes—we want to go back sometime, but maybe after we see some other places in Europe (Italy, I’m looking right at you, buddy). The food was all that I expected and more, the people were really friendly and mostly tolerant, beautiful places to see, great wine to drink. Thumbs up… or as they would say: . pouces vers le haut!*

*actually, they probably never say this, I don't know, I'm still mesmerized by their Nouvelle Star finalists and what it says about general tone-deafness as a country, I'm assuming they'll cut me some slack on the idioms.

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