Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Paris Saga: Day I

I don’t even remember how early we woke up on Saturday morning to leave, but it must have been around 4:30 or 5ish in the morning. We could have slept in, though, because the pilots and stewardesses all came bustling into the gate over an hour after we were supposed to leave. Good thing we had a two hour layover in Atlanta, otherwise we might have missed our connection. Anyway, the pilot was kind enough to make an announcement over the intercom to catch us all up to speed about why they were so late. It went a little something like this:

“Uhhh, folks, if you could settle into your seats as soon as possible, it would be greatly appreciated…sorry we’re late taking off this morning…our uhh, flight from Atlanta last night took a little longer than we’d expected, so it wasn’t until about midnight last night that we finally got to our hotel uhh….so, we’re running on the minimum required amount of sleep, but uhh, if you all get settled in to your seats, we’ll try to get you there just as fast as we can”.

Excuse me? You can keep that information to yourself, thanks. Anyway, we made it to Atlanta with enough time to make our connection. Our plane to Paris was newer, and had these touch screens in the backs of each of the seats, so that you could pick what movie you wanted to watch (out of about 30 choices), or what music to listen to (you could create playlists of songs…Arcade Fire was even on the menu!), or recent TV shows, and worst of all, games you could play. So while I was trying to fall asleep while watching Juno, my seat was continually being stabbed by Mr Muscly Fingers sitting behind me. I’m positive that he was playing Bejeweled. Jon had the same problem. And it went on for HOURS. I did manage to get a few hours of sleep, though, and I woke up in time to see us flying over the coast of France. The sun was just rising, and the cloudtops were all pink and pretty.

It was another hour or so before we landed in Paris, and it was a really misty morning (exaggerated by the fact that I forgot to put my glasses on before we landed). Anyway, we got our bags and took a bus to our hotel. It’s actually a really nice place, supposedly a four star, but the service was kind of crappy. I’ll get to that in a minute. Anyway, we dropped off our bags at the concierge, because it was too early to check in, and we walked up the street to the Arc de Triomphe (only about ten minutes or so).

We found this cute little boulangerie/patisserie on the way there, which ended up being our favorite place to eat.

You wouldn’t believe how good this place smelled. Anyway, here are a couple of close ups of the Arc.

So on one side of the Arc is the street we just walked up…

(You can see the Grande Arch in the distance)

And on the other side is the Champs-Elysees. We walked over to where it begins, but were too tired to think about shopping at all, so we headed back to the hotel. They told us that our room was ready this time, so we brought our bags upstairs only to discover…our room wasn’t ready. Not even close. No one had been in to clean it – the covers were all thrown off the bed. (Though, I guess, not as bad as the time Jon climbed into a hotel bed in Miami on one of his work trips, and discovered copius amounts of USED Kleenex wadded up in between the sheets.) Anyway, so Jon goes inside to call the service desk…and the buttons on our phone didn’t work. What! So I sat down in the hallway with our bags while he went downstairs to let them know. We waited around a few minutes for the maid to come, and she forced us to wait in the room while she cleaned it, instead of in the hallway. I’m sure she was just being nice..but it was awkward…we kept having to move out of her way as she bustled around. Once she finished, we set our alarm for two hours so we could take a nap (Jon didn’t get any sleep whatsoever on the flight, which put him at 26 solid hours of being awake by this point), but we accidentally slept for three hours, which meant that I didn’t let us shower before we went on a tour of the neighborhood. Keep in mind that it has now been at least an entire day without a shower. That’s why I’m so greezy in all the pictures from this day. And it was sooooo cold!! We ate at this cute little panini place that was about a 6 foot by 6 foot square of sidewalk, marked by plastic, tent-like walls. We split a panini, I got hot chocolate, and Jon got an Orangina. Then we split a banana-nutella crepe, which I was, obviously, very excited about.

We spent a little while at the mall that was directly facing our hotel, reading cute children’s books in French, and just milling around, but mostly everything was closed up since it was Sunday.

Three notable things happened on our way back across the street to our hotel.

FIRST: It snowed. I TOLD you it was freezing!
SECOND: We saw a man having a seizure. I’ve drawn a little diagram to illustrate how it inconvenienced us.

(Maybe a little hard to read, but you get the idea. We walked a few steps into the crosswalk, stopped abruptly, then headed to the other side of the street. Someone was already helping him, anyway.)

And THIRD: About eight cop vans, all full of policemen, pulled up to our hotel, and there were policemen at every entrance. All with assault weapons. In fact, we saw heavily armed policemen ALL OVER the city for the next couple of days, and couldn’t for the life of us figure out what was going on…until…..later we found out (VERY first-hand) that it had to do with the Olympic torch. More on that on a different day.

But that was the end of day one. was more like two days. But you get the idea. We took a much needed shower, and slept like logs.



  1. Looks amazing. I'm ready for part two.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Whats with the post that was removed by the blog administrator? And I can't believe you didn't just hurry past the man having a seizure and be on your way. Instead you stopped dead in your tracks and ran the other way. Was it really that bad?