Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Paris - Day One (part one)

The girls and I spent a long weekend in Paris! (Have I mentioned lately how much I love the perks of my husband's being a pilot?) We decided fairly last minute to go so it was all a bit of a whirlwind. McKayla has wanted to go to Paris for years and time opened up so we took advantage.

We flew out last Thursday morning. We flew to Chicago. McKayla slept the entire 3 hour flight prompting her seatmate to say she was the perfect travel companinion. Then we boarded our flight for Charles de Gaulle airport. I was lucky and got a seat in business class (girls - not so lucky). Loved business class - real pillows and blankets; goody bag containing chapstick, lotion, toothbrush and toothpaste, eye mask, ear plugs, and socks; seats that recline, and my choice of free movies. I watched "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" and "Trouble with the Curve" and even got some sleep. The meals were wonderful - shrimp, pumpkin bisque, mixed green salad, steak, real mashed potatoes with garlic, snap peas, and chocolate cheesecake. They even had menus I got to select off of. For breakfast I had egg crepes with sausage.

It was 8:30 am when we arrived in Paris. Our first stop was the airport bathroom which we liked. I know - we go all the way to Paris and we're struck by the bathrooms.

It took us a bit at the airport to get our bearings and determine how to get to our hotel. Finally we were on the metro/train headed to our hotel. I had an experience on the train that dispelled any notion that the French are not friendly. The girls were up several rows and I was sitting across from a man and a woman (who didn't know each other). There was also a man standing to my side. There was a problem with the train and we were delayed for about 20 minutes. These 3 people started discussing it. I, of course, could not join in since I do NOT speak French so I just smiled since I didn't want to appear rude. I guess the man standing next to me took my smile as an invitation because he moved to the seat beside me. I was fine with that because, after all, it was a long ride/delay and who would want to stand? Then his leg was up against mine. Still fine - maybe French don't quite have the same personal space issues we have - what do I know since I just arrived? Then his hand is between our legs ostensibly fiddling with the case he is carrying. A bit uncomfortable but... Next thing I know, he is rubbing my leg. As in his thumb is tracing circles on my thigh. Seriously. Excuse me. I am totally frozen. Do I laugh at the absurdity? Do I make a scene? Do I tell him off - wait, I can't speak French? I am such a huge chicken that I just kept inching away and staring out the other window. I was so relieved to get off that train. Then my girls and I had a good laugh about it. Wonder if that's how they do it in France or was this guy just some pervert? He looked nice enough - actually even cute until he creeped me out.

We left our bags at the hotel and went exploring. We were staying right near Sacred Heart Basilica so we headed there first.

It was beautiful. They were doing mass in Latin so we stayed for quite a bit. Then we wandered from there back to the metro station stopping in several gift shops/stores along the way. There was a chocolate store that had an impressive chocolate rendition of the Eiffel Tower.
We took a bus to the Eiffel Tower. As amazing as we thought the chocolate Eiffel Tower was, it didn't hold a candle to the real thing. It literally took our breath away - I guess because it is such a famous landmark but it really is amazing!

We couldn't go to the top of the tower. It was closed due to the weather but we paid to ride the lift up to the 2nd level. It was pretty dang high and the views from there were incredible.

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