Saturday, September 11, 2010 one

to get to paris from london we took the eurostar {a train}.  we left the hotel at 8am and hauled our luggage on the tube to get to the eurostar departure station.  we were on our way at 10am.  once we arrived in paris i finally felt like i was in a foreign country.  we immediately went to get metro {subway} tickets so that we could get around paris and at that point ran into our first language barrier.  the area where you were suppose to get tickets was full of people all speaking different languages.  we tried to avoid the long line and use the kiosk, but apparently some american credit cards don't work on their kiosks b/c of some certain "chip" that is inside them, so we were forced to hop into the long line.  while waiting we were approached by a ton of gypsy's.  each had their own "story" that went something along the lines of, "i'm trying to get money for my sister who is dying and i need money to get her medicine", or some version there of.  we were also approached by a ton of guys trying to sell us metro tickets.  this was the point where mymichael started to feel a bit uncomfortable....lots of people....unknown, confined space....different languages ranging from english, french, german and who knows what else!  we finally got our tickets purchased and headed to catch the metro to our hotel. 

now, let me paint a picture for you....4 people...each person had at least two bags {one that was checked luggage and one that was carry-on luggage}, and the girls had a purse or camera bag as well.  to go up and down the stairs mymichael was hauling his checked luggage and my carry-on so that i could haul my checked luggage.  chris was hauling both his and wendy's checked luggage so that she could get the other piece.  needless to say, we were all out of breath and drenched in sweat b/c it was freaking hot!

we arrived in paris in the afternoon, so the metro was busy.  we were having to haul all the luggage up and down the stairs in the metro tunnels and then we were having to cram ourselves & luggage onto already jam packed metro cars.  we were not getting very nice looks!  we had to change lines at least once or twice which just meant more stairs.  when we arrived at our metro station that was by the hotel we started up the stairs, assuming it would just be a normal "flight" of stairs, when we were stopped by a french woman who looking at us like we were crazy, shaking her head, pointing up and talking in french.  chris pieced enough of what she was saying together to get the point that there were a lot of stairs and that we should use the elevator...what a novel idea!!!  the next day we found out why she had looked at us like we were crazy....the stairs that we were about to go up were spiral stairs that went up and up and up and "normal" flight of stairs by any means!  thank you to the nice french woman....we owe you tremendously!

as soon as we came out of the metro tunnel we were in the middle of a lovely little french neighborhood.  cafes with people sipping cappucinos outside, newspaper stands, markets with flowers outside, corner bakeries and the hum of motorcycles on the streets. 

when we got to the hotel we were crossing our fingers that it would have air conditioning b/c it was hot outside.  so much for weather in the high 70's or low 80's.  we checked in and we were not lucky enough to have air conditioning.  there was a large window, so we were hoping that would be good enough.  we were only there long enough to drop our bags before heading to get something to eat and see notre dame.

we ate in this adorable part of town, it was right by notre dame.

i found this fun accessories store...i don't remember the name but they had some super cool stuff and the interior was so fun!  check out those colorful chandeliers!

after grabbing some lunch we headed over to notre dame.  now, this was amazing.  all through college i took so many art history/architectural history/interior heritage classes that at one point i knew everything about notre dame.  it had been studied over and over and over again.  but let me tell you, seeing it in person was unbelievable.  it was just beautiful....

there was a service in session while we walked through.  everything is massive and detailed.  if you look closely at the interior picture you will see how they have brought in flat screen t.v.'s that i am sure they use during services.  there is stained glass everywhere that is just beautiful! 

that evening we planned to go up to sacre coure, which is a church that is located at the highest place in the city.  we had heard from multiple people that it was a great area to bring food and wine and sit around people watching and looking out over the city.  so after notre dame we bought some fresh baked bread, cheese and wine and headed that way.  it was quite a walk up to the top.  i'm sure it didn't help that we took a couple of detours.  as we got closer to the top we realized that it wasn't just a church, but a whole area of cafes and stores with a ton of people milling around.  we found the grassy knoll, as we called it, hopped the fence and found our spot.

and this is where we had our first glimpse of the eiffel tower....

one thing that we were surprised about in both london and paris was how long the days were this time of year.  there were a couple of times in london where i woke up thinking we had over slept b/c it was so bright outside, but when i checked the clock it was only 4:30 in the morning!  the sun didn't set until well after 10:00pm...almost 11:00pm.  it was really wonder why they eat dinner so late! 

we got back to our hotel and "slept" through our first awful night....90 degree air fan.....big window with a group of guys goofing around outside until about 4:00 in the morning.  can i tell you how close i was to leaning out the window and screaming something not very nice????  i was me.

despite the night our first day in paris was a ton of fun!  stay tuned for day two!

1 comment:

  1. Notre Dame pics are my fave I think...AMAZING! Can't wait to hear more stories and see more pics!


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