Thursday, May 10, 2012

8PM - Paris : Day 1

Here is my first room in Paris.

It's got a false balcony with windows that open wide to view the building across the alley. The warm breeze gently makes it's way in while the sun sets it's head down for the night - which is something I really need to do. After 30 hours of being awake, travelling, not to mention getting lost many times over, I could say I'm completely beat!

My first impression of Paris so far - overwhelming! And feeling completely out of my element.

When I first touched down at the airport I managed to easily make my way to the tourist information to pick up my transit and museum pass. After that, it was all a blur. The metro system is so complex yet so efficient at the same time. It's amazing how high off the ground the trains are. I wasn't able to make one because by the time I was ready to haul my suitcase up on to the train, the doors were closing. Luckily I packed light!! One really has to pay attention to where they're going or they'll end up on the wrong train going the opposite direction. Didn't happen to me, thankfully but it was a worry for a little while.

I finally made it to my stop and found my way out on to the street. I knew my hotel name, the street is was on, and that it was SOMEWHERE near the Eiffel Tower and of course I didn't print directions or a detailed map so I had no choice but to wander. I walked up a main street on one side of the Eiffel Tower (wow by the way!) and found a map. After which, I thought I knew where I was going but I was clearly lost so I asked a local - in French :) Of course she gave me an answer in French but was clear enough that I could understand. "Rue Columbie et gauche" Sure! Awesome! I was set. Until I couldn't find the street she was talking about. So I asked another local - in French. They sent me in the opposite direction. I was still lost so I asked a traffic cop - in broken French. He dished it out in the fastest French you could ever imagine. Each road these locals told me to take took me to a street I had just been on and I felt as if I was caught in a Bermuda triangle! Needless to say at this point I was frustrated, not to mention, tired, extremely hot, grossly sweaty, and crabby. Where the hell is a cab when you need one?!

I finally stopped into a market as I was thirsty and had been walking around in circles for about an hour. An English speaking Parisian told me where to go but unfortunately, I was just there. Finally, I decided to stop into a souvenir shop to ask one more time - in English. He spelled it out very plainly..."straight, 1, 2, 3 blocks...turn left, then 1, 2, then left again." His directions were perfect! I made it!

I check-in and lugged my suitcase up 4 flights of steps - to only later realize the lift was actually working! Another oversight due to a tired brain.

After showering up, I made my way downstairs to ask for a restaurant recommendation - a local brasserie / cafe and for dinner I had the Croque Madamme :) When dinner was all done I wandered the streets a bit and came across a really busy alley way that was full of markets, cafes, restaurants, and bars so I stopped to get a baguette, some macaroons, and some fruit for tomorrows breakfast. I got the finger wag bringing it back to the hotel though.

"This is not a restaurant."
"So you want me to eat it all now?"
"Ok well I can just leave it here because I can't eat this all now."
"Fine. Fine. But just be careful. We just renovated."
"Je comprend." (Geez!)

Tomorrow is the Eiffel Tower tour and some museum-hopping. Atleast now I know where everything is! Time for some shut-eye.


  1. I know the fatigue you speak of! My first day in Paris was crazy-tired too. We stayed near the Eiffel Tower the first night. It was, overall, a blur. We moved to another neighbourhood the next day (as per the plan).

    I agree: the metro is GREAT but it can be confusing unless you study the map and know the end station so you can get on the right train. But once you get to know how it works, it really can take you anywhere. I saw a t-shirt at a shop that said "I survived the Paris Metro" with a map on it. What a true sentiment. I especially loved the stations at the museums. Fancy!

    Good luck in Paris! Enjoy!!


  2. Yes, all very true R. It helps if you've taken transit at some point in the past too. If you're unfamiliar with public transit, I think it might be more of a challenge. The t-shirt speaks the truth! LOL Yes, some of the stations are great! Very inspiring.