Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Paris - The First Glimpse Of The City

It's about a ten hour flight  from San Antonio, TX to Dallas, TX to Paris France and that does not including any waiting time.  On top of that add in a seven hour time difference and that is when you start to have real fun. Sure the fun is a little fuzzy, but hey!

We arrived in Paris in the early afternoon and used the metro to ride into town.  I was thinking to myself as we rode, that every time a TV show or movie goes to Paris they always show a bunch of sites from Paris and play some French music.  As the scenery whizzed by, I kept thinking about that, then the doors from the other train car opened, a man with an accordion walked through, and started playing a French song.  I kid you not!  Of course, he was doing it for money, but, I don't care.  It was so perfect.  I didn't want to film him directly because we had no money to give him at that point, so I filmed the scenery and now you have my soundtrack to Paris!

Makes me smile every time I watch it!

The metro is easy to use but there are a lot of steps getting from one place to another and then out! A lot of steps...and they seem to multiply when you are carrying a suitcase.  We were able to find our hotel with no major problems but it is always disorienting to come up out of metro station and try to figure out which way to go.

We stayed at Edouard VI Hotel which is on the left bank (read that south of the river) and fairly centrally located.  Frankie had emailed them about a month before we arrived asking for a room on one of the top floors with a window facing the city.  We really liked our room and it even had a small balcony.  Check our our view!  For someone who comes from the countryside , this is pretty cool.

View outside hotel

We decided our first out and about in Paris would be a to walk to the Eiffel Tower, which was about 2 miles from our hotel.  We were not going to go up it yet, we just wanted to see it in person.  We were walking along, and Frankie tells me to look up.  And there it was!

First glimpse of Eiffel Tower 2

We got the edge of Champ de Mars park that the Eiffel Tower is in and saw something that I just had to get a picture of!

Red umbrella - Paris

Is that not one of the most Parisian things you have ever seen (ignore the shoes)??  I loved it!

Ok back to the Eiffel Tower.  It is enormous and while pretty in the day, it is beautiful at night.  It is even more impressive when it sparkles every hour.  Seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkle was my favorite part of the entire trip.  Hands down.  I will get to that more later on.  But here is the tower in the daytime in all its glory.

Eiffel Tower

The tower wasn't the only thing we saw.  There was this:

French Military with Gun

We actually saw these military guys (and some women) all over Pairs.  They scared the bedizzles (I think I just made that up) out of me!  It wasn't so much the fact that there were always at least three.  It wasn't really the fact that they had those types of guns (I have no clue what they are except to say scary) with their finger ever so close to the trigger.  What really  made them creepy as all get out, was the way they walked around. Slowly.  While scanning.  That scared me.  But then I saw a tourist ask if they could take a picture with them and they smiled for the really, just normal people with guns and berets.   Then they started slowly walking again and the fear came back.

After seeing the military and, oh yeah, the tower we went for our first meal.  Let me just say, we had sticker shock.  Restaurant prices were much higher than we expected them to be and I am a cheapskate so it was really rough on me.  It got to the point where I would tell Frankie to just pick a place and stop letting me look at the menu first.  (All Paris restaurants, by law, have to have their menu posted outside.) The ethnic food places aren't as expensive and there are always sandwiches, so we alternated between overpaying and eating Chinese/Japanese/Middle Eastern/sandwiches.

We decide to go to this restaurant:

Brasserie de la Tour Eiffel Restaurant

and the waiter has us sit right in the front window.  Most of the places we saw were fixed in such a way so that in the summer the front "wall" could be opened and chairs would be on the outside.  So we were on display, if you will. When the waiter came back for our order and learned that we just wanted sandwiches (because they were cheaper), he asked us move from the front window to close to the bar.

Oh well, didn't hurt my feelings.

Jerk. Sandwich wasn't that good anyways....and then we ordered just tap water.  Take that!  So yeah, I did just call them out by posting a picture of the name of the restaurant.

No really, it didn't hurt at all.

Moving on!

Near the Eiffel Tower but across the Seine River there were a bunch of Christmas booth just teaming with all kinds of sweet treats, drinks, and other assorted things.  For instance:

Tete Choco Flavors

No clue what they were but for 1 Euro, it was worth the risk. I went with the coco noire or dark coconut.

Coco Noir Tete Choco

With no hesitation, I took a bite. It could have been anything inside that chocolate shell. After all, we are in the land where they eat snails, frog legs, and foie gras. Inside there was....

What  is in a Tete Choco

  ...marshmallow! Yummy!

It was a good thing we walked to the tower because then I saw a crepe stand. The calories (at least some of them) were going to get walked off!  Hello, a crepe in France, um yes!  We could have chosen from ham, cheese, egg, sugar, jam, or Nutella. Nutella it was!

Crepes and Nutella

Just look at that lovely lovely thing of beauty!  Were we done with the Christmas market?  Not even close.  Next we saw the macarons.  Oh the macarons!

French Macarons

Aren't they so pretty?  So light, so delicate, so flavorful! I had great control here and only order one in a coffee flavor.  Honestly though, had I known just how good they were, I might have order more.  Plus there was the fact that I, literally, still had the Nutella crepe in my hand as I ordered the macaron.  It was a gluttonous pig moment full of joy and happiness.  What can I say?

As we continued down every child's dream land, I kept seeing people eating something that resembled churros.  I said to Frankie, "Hey, those look like churros!"  (Jennifer think.  Jennifer say.)  Guess what.  They were!


From this market you can still see the Eiffel Tower and it was starting to get dark.  The tower light had been turned on.

Eiffel Tower getting darker

Oh!  Ah!  But you haven't seen anything yet! Just wait.  Because soon after this picture was taken, it began to sparkle!

This video in no way does justice to how exceptionally beautiful it really was!

With this being our first day in Paris coupled with the fact that we were exhausted, this just about sums up our day.

I would like to leave you with this final shot of the Eiffel Tower taken when it was much darker outside.  Breathtaking!

Eiffel Tower with Moon