I made it safely home from Europe and have finally recovered from the jet lag! This post is slightly delayed because the wifi at my house was down when I got home but it’s mostly delayed because I’ve been too tired to function.
Now that I’m rested and properly caffeinated, I think the best way to share this 12-day European vacation with you is to dedicate one post to each city we stayed in. If you’re interested in why I went to Europe and who I traveled with, check out my previous post that prefaces the trip. Stay tuned for the details about Amsterdam and Copenhagen, but for now…let’s jump into Paris!
Lindsay, Sam and I arrived in Paris around 7:30 a.m. after a sleepless overnight flight. We retrieved our bags and exchanged enough money to take a taxi to the hotel. I had heard that a taxi was the best way to get away from the airport when it’s your first time visiting Paris. It was indeed very easy and pretty affordable when split three ways.
We stayed at Hotel Pacifica. It was in a more residential area but we found that the food was much better around our hotel and it was only a five minute walk to the Eiffel Tower. The room was big and the bathroom was very clean. One thing I thought was odd was that the receptionist would take our room key when we left in the evening but then wouldn’t ask for it when we left in the morning. Does anyone know why they do that? Maybe they thought we were going clubbing all night and would lose it? I’m still not sure.
Probably the most interesting event of our first day occurred during our walk back to the hotel. We witnessed three gypsy children trying to rob a guy at the ATM, right in the middle of the day. I found out later that this is apparently not uncommon.
The next day we made our way to the Pont des Arts bridge. If you haven’t heard of a lock bridge or seen one in a movie, basically you and your lover (or in our case, you and your best friends) lock a padlock to a bridge and throw the key into the river to symbolize your everlasting love. We locked our eternal-friendship lock and found someone to take a picture of us throwing the key into the river. Of course, right as we threw the key a tour boat passed under the bridge and our key landed in the boat, probably injuring a tourist. Not sure what that means as far as our future as friends but it makes for a pretty good story.
We then walked to the Louvre to take in some art but mostly because we are like every other tourist and wanted to see the Mona Lisa. Then we walked to Notre Dame and then aaalllllll the way back to the Eiffel Tower. We felt very French as we ate baguettes in the park but at this point we desperately needed a le nap.
Later, we went to dinner and I had delicious goat cheese on toast and the best french vanilla ice cream I’ve ever tasted. We really enjoyed working on our French vocabulary at mealtime. Thankfully, all of our waiters found us charming rather than irritating.
Late that night, we drank a few bottles of wine at the Eiffel Tower, admired the sparkly lights and befriended a semi-famous French comedian named Nidhal. (Though we didn’t find out about his somewhat-celebrity status until later in the trip.)
On our third day, we made the trek to Arc de Triomphe and then moseyed down Avenue des Champs-Elysees to do some shopping and continue our search for coffee bigger than a shot of espresso. Champs-Elysees was a lot more tourist-heavy than we expected and we didn’t get the as much shopping done as we had planned. If I’m in Paris again I would probably hit up a different area to actually make purchases but it was still fun to see all of the famous stores.
On our last morning, we enjoyed delicious ham, egg and cheese crepes from a street vendor and went to the Eiffel Tower to take some more pictures. It was a beautiful sunny day and the lawn wasn’t too crowded so, being the lifetime cheerleaders that we are, we started doing gymnastics and acrobatic-type things. We made some admirers with our awesome skills but all too soon it was time to get to the train station and head north to our next stop, Amsterdam!