Paris, Day 3: Serious Service and Astonishing Art

We planned to wake up early, see the Louvre and then go to lunch at a 3-star (the highest appellation possible in France). Not so much. We slept until 11am and that meant that lunch was our breakfast. So as to not completely lose out on sightseeing, we took a taxi to a point about ½ way up the Champs Ellysses and from there walked up to the Arc d’ Triomphe.

In retrospect, I’m not sure what the big deal is about the CE. Oh, I know it has a history and is grand and all of that. I dare say we both thought it was pretty ugly. It’s just a street lined with stores (seeing the car dealerships reminded me of Van Ness Street in San Francisco) and not even particularly great stores at that. I mean, if we’d seen Chanel’s place or any of the great designers at least we’d understand. But this was more like Target and Macy’s than anything impressive.

The AdT was also a so-so sight. It’s big. Very big. And interesting. But nothing I’d specifically recommend to a tourist. Maybe if I was more into history than I am . . .

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Paris, Day 2: What Meal Is This and Getting A Feel for the Left Bank

We slept until after 11am, and it easily could have been after noon. We clambered up from the depths of a very good sleep and looked at various walks for the day. (Breakfast was a croissant and hot drinks from a local boulangerie.)

We started just across from the center of the Ile de Cite, the heart of Paris, the island where it started 2300 years ago. Think about it for a moment: two THOUSAND, three hundred years ago. America is barely a 10th that old. It’s older than our current (AD) calender starting at ‘0?. Crossing the Pont St. Michel we walked up to the Palais de Justice — which was closed to the public and the Ste. Chappelle, also closed for the day. Le sigh. But it was purty on the outside. Across from that is the place Louis-Lapine, which has an incredible art deco Metro entrance. (Yes, pictures WILL be uploaded . . .) The lightposts on the square even have gilded vines climbing up and around them.

From here we meandered down to Notre Dame.

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Paris, Day 1: Disorientation and Unexpected Darkness

Business Class is _the_ way to fly to Europe, and Melatonin is your friend. We ate well, I had yummy wine (1st Class was essentially empty so the cabin attendant brought me back wine from that cabin to drink — and gave me a bottle “to taste” for the hotel room.) and we slept at least 3 hours. I say this with pleasure because our trip to London elicited catnaps and maybe an hours sleep — TOTAL. *shudder*. Business Class seats are much more comfortable (they recline nearly 180 degrees for one thing) than Economy Plus, and the food was very very good, and so is the wine. It was seriously empty, so we had lots of individual attention. Oh — and the ‘amenity bags’ are great! Eye mask, ear plugs, socks, toothbrush & toothpaste, and really nice moisturizer. All in a very handy bag.

You saw my previous post about CDG, I won’t repeat my impressions.

Dinner was at 8:30pm at Le Tastevin, a multi-hundred year old restaurant on the Ile de St. Louis, an island in the middle of the Seine River which is nearly as old as the birtplace of Paris. We walked from our hotel, and it took a little longer than we expected, so when we rounded the corner to the restaurant, we walked right in  . . . to a woman in a long gown and pointy-princess hat (you know — the fancy dunce cap with a piece of gauze on the tip) singing. She looked at us like we were carrying dog shit, so we quickly stepped back out and consulted. Yes, we were in the right place. Yes, it was exactly 8:30pm, the time of our reservation. Yes, the singing woman was right in front of the only entrance in to the restaurant. Ok, clearly this is surreal time.

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A Bit About the Delay (in posting)

I will now tell you three funny things and the not at all funny thing that came about as a result of their existence. Funny thing about a laptop — it needs power to operate for more than a few hours. Funny thing about France — they have a different power source/plug configuration. Funny thing about the power converter we bought (good for use in 150 countries!): it sisn’t designed for three prong plugs, only two.

So we got a converter at the airport on our way home. That’s why we’ve been silent since the first ‘we’re here!’ posts.

Read on for the deluge!