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September 5, 2012

Paris. I still can’t believe only a week ago, we landed in this foreign city ready to take it head on. We only got 3 hours of sleep the night of our flight so our ambition to really see it all, The City of Lights, on Wednesday was a bit ambitious. But we tried. I also tried to teach Josh a bit of French on the plane but he came out more like this:

The Hotel St. Vincent was where we started our journey. After an hour of waiting for our luggage at the airport, and another hour of swerving past motorcycles through the crowded highways, we couldn’t wait to freshen up at the hotel. It was in the perfect location, in the 7th, just between the Louvre and Napoleon’s Tomb. The greenery growing up the historic walls made the boutique hotel that much more cozy. The city, as a whole, showed us plenty more greenery than New York ever will with its ivy growing up every building and gardens on every block weaved into the old architecture. Everything was so clean, everyone so beautiful, with every street and door being a perfect photo opportunity.

After a short time in the hotel, we were off to explore. We walked to Napoleon’s tomb which overlooked the Grand Palace. The stones in the courtyard were uneven like they had been laid 200 years ago (which they had). We also didn’t notice the renovation that was taking place on the southern half of the building because the scaffolding was made to look like the outside so the beauty remained.

We then strolled further north towards this tower that everyone raves about. We questioned if it was, indeed, the most famous landmark in the world. (What do you think?) When we came upon it, there was no doubt it truly was amazing. To me, it was much larger than what I envisioned sitting in Madam Bunck’s 9th grade French class. Slowly we approached the Eiffel Tower in complete bewilderment of its breath taking magnificence. We decided to take the stairs to the 1st level to catch the views from 300 steps up. With the vast city laid out before us, it was evident that Paris really is the most beautiful place on earth. (This is not an over exaggeration.)

We said goodbye to the Iron Lady and headed towards the Arc de Triomphe. The long walk took us through winding streets with names like “Place des Etats-Unis” and “Avenue du President Wilson”. When we finally arrived at the Arc, it was well worth it. We entered the tunnel under the busy Place du Charles de Gualle and popped up right under the Arc. I promise you, it so 10 times the size of the replica in Washington Square Park. And it was gorgeous.

We then followed the Champs Elysees to a weekend cafe that was open all day (which is rare in France, typically restaurants are open from 12-2 for lunch and re-open for dinner around 6). We had Coke out of a bottle, because, honestly, what is better than that? I ordered a three cheese crepe that was melt in your mouth good. We then plunged into the Champs Elysees for some shopping. We quickly realized it was much like 5th Avenue just much cleaner – and we felt it was a bit American (H&M, Banana Republic, Levi Jeans). We were quick to make our way to the Jardin des Touilloues which led directly into the beautiful Louvre. I have never seen such a beautiful museum (but more on that later).

With sand in our toes, we finally made our way back home. After 7 hours of strolling, and 10 km (6 miles), we were exhausted. Exhausted enough, in fact, to order room service and forgo our first dinner in the city. I don’t even feel bad about it.  I also don’t feel bad about asking a million people to take our pictures like a true tourist from New York City. Thanks for reading about (only our first day of) Paris! There is so much more…

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Barb Shellhammer permalink
    September 6, 2012 12:57 pm

    Oh Al….you make me smile : )


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