Paris, France (Part One)

"...the essence of Paris is lost if seen through the double glazing of a hotel room or from the top of a tour bus. You must be on foot, with chilled hands thrust into your pockets, scarf wrapped round your throat, and thoughts of a hot café crème in your imagination. It made the difference between simply being present and being there." (pg 57. John Baxtor, The Most Beautiful Walk In the World)

Oh, Paris.

 It seems like so long ago, and yet still too clear in my mind to go unwritten. During our time in Germany visiting and traveling with Tyler and Laura, Isaac & I took a side trip to Paris for three days. It was far too short to even begin to experience this extraordinary city - but absolutely wonderful and a precious memory.

We arrived by train into Paris midday on a Wednesday and took the metro from the train station to the station by our airb&b. It was already a hot, muggy day and we had heard rumor of it being the hottest day of the summer so far in Paris. When we arrived at our apartment, we realized it was on the eight floor of the apartment building and that there was no elevator! :) We also soon realized that there was no air conditioning in this building - not a rare thing in Europe, but still a significant change for us!

We begun the climb with our suitcases in tow with a lot of energy - we were in Paris and almost to our apartment! The excitement was motivating. :) 

However, about four flights of steps in, the air became extremely thick. :) We were gasping for air and dripping with sweat and climbing and climbing and climbing. Our two carry-on suitcases felt so heavy and large in that tiny staircase. Ike would yell down to me "are you doing okay sweetie?" and I would grunt back - it was miserable and hilarious. 

By the time we made it to our apartment, we were both soaking/dripping sweat! We instantly took cold showers and laid on the bed in front of a table fan.   While it was not exactly how we pictured our first hours in Paris, it makes us smile to think back on. :)

Our sweet little airb&b

After we are cooled down and changed into fresh clothing, we went out looking for a place for dinner. One of the nearest places to our apartment was a fun little hamburger place. It wasn't especially French, except our waiter - a young boy in his late teens who barely spoke English but was so kind and attentive to us. We loved him and that simple dinner!

We ended our first night in Paris with a very long walk along the Seine River as the  sun set.

"No Parisian drives around Paris. A few cycle. Others take the metro or a bus, but most walk. Paris belongs to its pietons - the pedestrians. One goes naturally a pied -on foot. And it's only on foot that you discover its richness and variety....But every Parisian, and everyone who comes to know Paris, discovers his or her own, "most beautiful walk." A walk is not a parade or a race. It's a succession of instants, any one of which can illuminate a lifetime. What about the glance, the scent, the glimpse, the way the light just falls....the "beautiful" part? No tour or guide or guidebook tells you that." (pg 4. John Baxtor, The Most Beautiful Walk In the World)

The next day, we picked up sandwiches and went to Plas de Vogue to sit and enjoy them. This is one of the few parks in Paris where you are allowed to sit on the grass! We sat among locals and tourists and enjoyed the morning hours. 

Victor Hugo's apartment is in the square around Plas de Vogue - we toured his apartment which was interesting and full of amazing artwork.

We wandered around Paris for most of the day and eventually found our way to Merci - a store that had been on my must-visit list. It did not disappoint! While everything in the store was far to expensive to ever consider buying, there were beautiful and unique things everywhere you looked!


"Nobody has yet found a better way to travel slowly than to walk. It required two legs; nothing more. Want to go faster? Don't bother walking - roll, slide or fly: don't walk. But once you are walking, it's not performance that counts but the intensity of the sky, the splendor of the landscape. Walking is not a sport." (Charles Gros, Walking: A Philosophy)

(A flower /plant market we happened upon later in the afternoon)

 Late in the afternoon, we stopped at Norte Dame 

 This flower shop was on the corner across from our airb&b apartment. I just loved it. So Parisian and simple and just perfect.
 This cafe was on the cafe opposite the flower shop - also across from our apartment building. It had fantastic reviews so we decided to try it our second night in Paris. It was a wonderful experience! We had a great spot on the street. I ordered emmental cheese toast and Ike had a veal chop.

Ah! Such a sweet dinner and memory. Afterwards, we walked a few blocks down, past our apartment and the metro station, to the eiffel tower. It was the perfect finish to a magical day.  I hope to write more about that sweet experience soon.


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