Paris Firsts

Originally published on 31 January 2013.

Bonjour de Paris! (Hello from Paris!) This is my first time ever in Paris, and my travel mate Bianca and I are drinking in every moment! We flew in from Basel, Switzerland this morning, and we’re already pooped from just one afternoon. Join us on our journey!

Starting in Basel, Bianca and I took the train to the bus, the bus to the airport, an Air France plane from Basel to Paris, a shuttle to the train terminal in the airport, a train from the Paris airport (CDG), switched trains, and walked to the hotel–whew! We had minimal (but some) difficulty getting the right train ticket to the city center, but we made it! It sounds a lot more complicated than it was.

My friend Bianca, crocheting away!

There is an added bonus of taking the train in Paris: performers! We had an accordion player and a singer get on and perform for tips during our train ride into the city.

Bianca and I checked into our hotel and squeezed into THE tiniest elevator I’ve ever experienced in my life! It was only about two feet wide and maybe 4-5 feet deep. We cracked up fitting ourselves in, and I was glad we packed LIGHT!

So tiny!

We popped out of our hotel and all we had to do was look up.  We could easily find our way to the Eiffel Tower, just a 10 minute walk away. I was so excited, I could hardly stand it! While we waited in line for tickets, I looked through the Eiffel Tower app and read some of the facts aloud for Bianca and me. Before we knew it we were off to the top! You can’t walk all the way up, but they have really hefty elevators that take you up on a diagonal instead of vertical. We got up to the first stop off and took pictures all the way around. Even just being 57 storeys up was a thrill!

So up, up, up and away we flew (in the safe confines of the elevator), to the tippy tippy top of one of the most famous, most visited attractions in the entire world. The view was stunning! We could see the Louvre, the Arc de Triumph, Notre Dame, the Champs Elysee, the Seine River, everything. I can’t wait to explore it all tomorrow! Bianca and I decided to splurge for ourselves and feel very important, so we ordered hot drinks and looked out on the River Seine like Parisians in a movie! She got a cappuccino, and I got a chocolat chaud (pronounced like “sho-co-la shu”), which is simply the most lovely hot chocolate you could every imagine.

After our stint with Mr. Eiffel, We walked down the Champs de Mars and eventually made a stop at the grocery store to get some food for that night and in the morning. I love going to the grocery wherever I am in the world. The things people eat are fascinating!

Armed with enough food to get us through till lunch tomorrow, we started back to the hotel. As we talked and walked down the street, we rounded a corner and both stopped dead in our tracks and gasped!

Because THAT is what we saw! It truly took my breath away. It had been a fairly overcast and gray day. Everything kind of looked dead and wet and, well, sad. But I was determined to make the most of this first trip to Paris. Seeing this as we rounded a corner made the whole trip magical!

And after that we got lost. Yes, lost in Paris. Another of my favorite pastimes when traveling is getting lost the first day! We found our way back eventually, and I even had time to upload photos, blog, Skype with my parents and my mom’s school kids, and eat my yummy French in-room supper.

Bonne nuit! (Good night!) Au revoir! (Goodbye!) What will we get into on Paris Day Two? Find out soon!

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