Saturday, January 5, 2008
Sunday December 30, 2007
Our plane landed at Charles de Gaulle airport at 10 o'clock in the morning. We flew in from Philadelphia where we enjoyed a four-hour layover. While waiting in the terminal I saw an elderly French lady sitting in a rocking chair. She seemed glad to be returning to France. Her grandchildren were running around behind us shouting and laughing in French.
Zachary and I were busy writing the final notes on the back of our photos that accompanied the wedding announcement that we plan to mail from Paris.
After getting about 2-3 restless hours of sleep on the plane, we decided, unfortunately to tough it and visit Versailles. That was a bit of a mistake. Apparently, thousands of others decided it was a great day to go too.
Once we found a parking garage and parked the rental we began our walk to the Chateau.
We stopped at a nice Brasserie on the way where I ordered Bruschetta Thon and Zach had Croque-Linternaute. After lunch we warmed ourselves up with cafe au lait. Once we finished our lunch we left the Brasserie for Versaille Castle.
We waited two-and-a-half hours before we got our tickets and entered and found that we had just one hour to enjoy the castle before closing time at 5:30pm. We walked the gardens to get to Marie Antoinette's place but it got dark fast and we wanted to check in at our hotel and get some much needed sleep.
We left for the parking garage after the sun went down only to find out we needed coins and Zach's Visa wasn't being accepted by the garage's exit machine. We went to another store to get change and met with a French guy who was more than willing to help correct our weak French. They were nice and helpful people overall. Although I feel my French could be better it seems to be able to get us what we need.
We got lost driving at the Bercy Village exit off the the Paripharique and had a nice black Parisian man help us find our way. The street signs in Paris seem to lack consistency. We were frustrated with the driving so we've decided to take public transportation for the remainder of our trip. Tomorrow we plan on taking it easy since we had such a stressful day today. We will probably take the Metro to Montmartre and see the Eiffel Tower at dusk...New Years Eve and my birthday!
Monday, December 31, 2007
After lunch, which was more like our breakfast we decided it would be best to take the Metro into the heart of Paris. We got lost at first but quickly caught on to how things worked. It was a special treat to find out the Metro rides were "gratuit" or free on New Years Eve.
Our first stop was at the Eiffel Tower. We arrived about 5pm, it was dark outside but the lights sparkled on the Eiffel Tower. We walked down the Seine where they had a bunch of cute shops where Zach bought me mulled "vin chaud" and a delicious Nutella Banane Crepe. We shared both.
We ate at a Lebanese restaurant where I had the best tabbouleh and hummus I've ever tasted. Zach tried to drink their Turkish coffee which was unbearably strong.
After that we hopped back on the Metro where we heard a guy playing an upbeat tune on his accordion. It reminded me of the theme tune from European Vacation. We exited at The Champs Elysees and walked the street which was swarmed with thousands of visitors. The trees were dressed in dripping lights.
We decided all that excitement wasn't for us to we headed back to the hotel and arrived around 11pm. We watched the countdown to 2008 on television, on a Spanish channel, then toasted to the new year with day-old Roche Mazet Cabernet.
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
We returned the rental car today.
We then took the metro to Milk Internet Cafe at the Bastille stop. We printed a few documents then decided to walk to a carnival that stood where the Bastille once was.
At the end of the day, we drove the rental car back to the airport and hopped back on the train headed for Montmartre.
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
The day started off so sunny and beautiful, too bad it didn't last.
After breakfast we walked down to the post office to mail our wedding announcements. The clerk calculated the amount of stamps we needed and we had to lick and stamp each one individually...all 55 plus of them.
We dropped the stamped envelopes in the mailbox and took the Metro to Montparnese where we initially were going to see the Catacombs but it turned out they were closed for renovation until February. So a quick change of plans landed us in the Montparnese cemetery where we got lost and couldn't find an exit.
Thursday, January 3, 2008
Last night we ate at a pretty nice Italian restaurant in Bercy Village just a few blocks away from our hotel.
We decided after breakfast to take a bus tour of the city. We waited for an hour in the cold for a "l'Open Tour" bus to finally come and pick us up. We stopped at Madeline for lunch.
After lunch, we went to the Musee De L'Homme where we wanted to see some shrunken heads but as it turned out the bus' information guide was out of date and we ended up seeing Women of the World exhibit there. We left in under an hour and started to walk toward the Eiffel Tower. We ran into a nice Mexican lady and her son. She said she and her husband honeymooned in Paris 15 years ago which happened to also be her son's age. She agreed to take a picture of us and we took a video of her and her son leaving a message for her husband in front of the Eiffel Tower. She wished us well that we would meet again in another 15 years.
We walked to the Eiffel Tower and found it to have a long terrain of people standing in line so we decided to get back on the bus. We traveled to Montmartre for a fancy dinner at Au Clare de la Lune. We realized we had about two hours before that reservation at 8pm so we went shopping for gifts and rested at a bar with piano entertainment. As we were about to leave two Korean girls sat down beside us. They were students who studied in Switzerland and didn't speak French but English. She ordered their dinner in English.
We left the piano bar for Au Clare de la Lune restaurant. For dinner, I had rusty fish soup, salmon, and for dessert, chocolate truffle cake. I told the waiter in French it was probably the best dinner of my life.
Zach and I left dinner about an hour and a half later only to be approached by a Lebanese man who spoke Spanish who wanted to sketch my picture. We told him we had no Euros but he said he's take U.S. money. So, it turned out he wasn't a very good artist. I ended up being drawn to look like an old Spanish lady. So we paid him $15, US, and ended up throwing the sketch away at our last metro stop. It didn't look like me and it wasn't flattering.
Friday, January 4, 2008
Today is our last day in Paris. It's a little sad we must leave so soon.
We went to a Japanese Korean restaurant that we could see from our balcony.
We got on the Metro for the Pompidou Center where we saw a juggler who managed to balance a fish bowl on his head. The center was packed and there was a very long line so we decided to skip it and go to the wine museum. I wanted to see World Place (Johnny Depp's restaurant) off the Champs Elysees first so we stopped there first. By the time we were ready to go to the Wine Museum it was quarter to 5 o'clock and it would be closing in about an hour so we decided to get a nice dessert at an outdoor heated cafe where I had a Dome du Chocolate and Zach had a Marzipan dessert. We watched people walk up and down the Champs Elysees as we enjoyed San Pelligrino with our dessert.
We headed home early and prepared for our flight back to the U.S. in the morning.