Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Paris- Day 1

Day 1 in Paris-
Mark and I arrived in Paris at 6:20 a.m. this morning. By the time we got on the RER (its like BART or a Subway) it was rush hour. We got crammed into our seat by a crazy train full of Parisians on their way to work and school. Luckily we were able to get off at our stop (which was wrong- oops) and it was pouring rain. We followed our correct directions from the wrong train station in the rain and couldn’t find our hotel. Luckily, I knew the area pretty well on paper, because I was doing my research we ended up in the right area, we found the correct RER station and our hotel immediately following that.
We got to our room, its decent. Small, but we have a king sized bed, and its clean. We cleaned up a little, dried off and walked to the boulangier (bakery) for a delicious croissant. Mark panicked and ended up with a croissant too because he couldn’t pronounce what he really wanted. Tomorrow, we will have a little more confidence and actually order correctly.
We walked along the Seine river to the Eiffel Tower, which is more majestic and beautiful in real life than I could ever imagine. Its HUGE! We will probably go up it on a clearer day, the thought of standing at the top with rain pummeling us, just wasn’t what we had in mind. Also, in the flurry of getting soaked and not finding our hotel, we left the camera back at the room, so we couldn’t go to the top without the camera. We then decided to go to the Musee de Orsay and walk around. We got to the musee and both decided that after being awake for 23 hours straight that we weren’t in the proper mind set to appreciate fine art.
We went back to the room, and took a 4 hour nap. It was wonderful. It woke us both up. We decided to go see a band in a cave (as someone recommended). It was near the Notre Dame cathedral so we decided to kill two birds with one stone and go. We got to the Notre Dame and we’re awe struck. It was huge, and the entire thing is carved into amazingly sculptural things. The front has everything, people, animals, gargoyles- it was incredible the amount of skill involved. We went inside just in time for Mass. We watched most of it, and it was truly amazing. The ritual, the beauty, the history, were all just amazing.
After Mass we stumbled into another cool area with a hotel that was renovated into a department store. It was pretty neat the Hotel De Ville was really pretty, with tons of amazing statues and fountains near by. We went inside and it was a regular old department store- but the outside was neat. We ended up eating at a little restaurant called Le Cavalier in that area. I had a glass of wine with a piece of chicken and pomme frites, Mark had a ham, cheese and tomato sandwich that he claims was like “nothing I have ever had before.” Ill agree to that, I had a couple bites and it was great. We wandered into a different area near the Notre Dame where Mark had his first crepe ever. He got a crepe with strawberry jam. Then about 10 minutes later he got his second crepe with nutella and banana. He is taking a break from crepes for a while.
We walked over to the jazz club in the cave, and looked at how packed it was and decided to just call it a night. We are now back in the hotel room after a nice long foot soak, and we’re going to watch some Flight of the Conchords-

The people have been nothing but nice and accommodating to us. My French is very very basic, and they tend to know I don’t speak French the minute I say “bonjour” so they speak English to us! I don’t think that the French are any worse than most San Franciscans- its not that they’re rude, its that they don’t care about you- like all bigger city people. I respect that, it’s a model I lived by while growing up and living in the bay area. I'm not going to smile and say ‘hi’ to everyone that passes me, and if someone asks me a question, I'm always a lot more helpful if they at least make the effort to communicate efficiently with me.
So far, so good!

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