June 10, 2016
Today is our first day in Paris! Mia, Alexa and I got up bright and early at 6:30 am to catch our 8:30 Eurostar train. The ride went smoothly and semi-comfortably. We arrived on the European mainland at 11:45 (there is now a 7 hour time difference between me and home) and bought a one way metro ticket to the center of the city to pick up our “Paris Passes” which grant us unlimited access to the metro, admission into many of the museums, and a one day bus and boat tour of the city. After this, we took the very long (read: very long) metro ride to our hotel to check in. The place is really nice, considering that the three of us are only paying $85 each for two nights here.
After checking in, we walked around our neighborhood to find something to eat and wound up at a little bakery where I had the best ham and cheese quiche I have ever had and strawberry tart. Very yummy.
This afternoon and evening, we ventured into the city and hit some of the big touristy spots. We started at the Eiffel Tower and walked along the Seine River, which has been flooded for the past few days, but has now returned to a normal level. The Eiffel Tower is much bigger than I imagined it to be, and the color of the wrought iron structure is much brighter and lighter than the dingy-looking color that I have seen in pictures. Then we relocated to the Arc de Triomphe and saw some of its beautiful sculptures and carvings. At the base of the Arc is the French Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This is Unknown Tomb number two of this trip, and it is just as beautiful as London’s. This tomb is guarded by a torch that is rekindled every evening at 6:30 to commemorate those who lost their lives during WWI. The tomb is surrounded by beautiful red, white and blue flower arrangements.
We had dinner at a cheap cafe on the Champs Elysees. I had a ham and cheese sandwich. Toasted. Lots of cheese, very good. And an apple tart, also very good. We have now returned to the hotel and are showering and blogging.
First impressions of Paris:
- A lot dirtier than London. Like a lot. The metro and many other parts of the city inevitably smell like pee.
- While still in London the thought of dusting off the French that I took during high school seemed like a daunting task. However, I am remembering more than I thought I would more quickly than I thought I would. Plus, it really helps that almost everyone does speak English as well.
- My feet hurt
- The food is really good. And there’s salt. 👍
Tomorrow we are going to take our bus and boat tours of the city, go up to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, and visit Notre Dame. Busy.