Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Paris Part One

I'm so sorry I have been MIA. The day we got back from Paris, I had a photo shoot, wedding, and bridal show to work on with Salt Harbor. It's amazing what a team of people can pull off. Have I told you how much I love working them? I'm amazed every single day. 

Paris: Introduction with a dab of dramatics

 Paris was fabulous. It was more than I had ever imagined in so many ways. I wish so much that I had pictures to share. The husband took hundreds of photos. We made a vow not to look at them until our flight home so that it would be more special and then on the very last day, we left the camera on the train to Versailles. It was devastating. It was the perfect storm of a disaster and could have been a lot worse. It was a rainy day and we were a little exhausted by all of the traveling and celebrating. We weren't quite sure which stop to get off on. The train had a few other obvious tourist with cameras and backpacks, but none of them spoke English. Gray stepped down on the platform, leaving the camera on the seat, and we decided that it was the most obvious stop as it was called "Versailles" although it looked like a small village instead of a Grand Palace. It was a split second decision, and the wrong one. As soon as the doors of the train closed, Gray realized that we had left the camera. Frantic, we went to the train station, telling the attendant exactly what train we were on and what had happened. He couldn't have been less interested. He said "it's gone." Just like that. No help at all. It was so infuriating because we had had such pleasurable experiences with the French. Everyone had told us how rude they were and we hadn't experienced any of that until this moment. If I wasn't a southern lady, I would have bashed my fist right through that glass window and strangled that little French man. That's exactly what I wanted to do, but after seeing my husbands face, and how bad he felt, I just wanted to hug him and go back to Paris. 

So that's what we did. It wasn't it the cards for us that day to go to Versailles, so we did what any self respecting person would do. We had the most expensive, fabulous lunch of our lives at Brasserie Lipp and shopped until we couldn't shop any more. Who needs Versailles when you have Colette, Merci, and Zara? I think that's one hell of a trade off and a great last day in Paris, don't you?

Paris: Day 1
So, let me go back to day one. I'll impose a few borrowed photos just so you aren't so bored reading this post. We flew out of Wilmington at 3:45pm on Monday, November 1st and landed in Paris at 6am Tuesday, November 2nd. We didn't sleep a wink on the plane because (a) we were too excited and (b) there was a very sick baby that cried and cried. I felt so sorry for that little thing, but was so glad when we finally landed. We flew into Paris when it was still dark, so we saw the city lit up and it was spectacular. We got our luggage and took a long taxi ride into the city. We didn't reach our apartment until 10am, after zooming around the city in a black Mercedes with a driver that loved to speed way up and then SLAM on the breaks. I thought I was going to loose my airplane food right then and there. We took a sharp right up a tiny skinny little road and then again, SLAM, we were there at our apartment for the week. We walked up two flights of spiral staircases, luggage in hand, and were greeted by Sabine, our lovely German apartment manager. She had dyed red hair and very cartoonish red drawn eyebrows. She said "Voila" after every sentence and was so charming. Once we were acquainted enough with the apartment, she left, we showered and got ready for our first day in Paris. (It was 3am NC time, 10am Paris time) We were in for a full day. 

We walked out of our apartment and into the first Brasserie we saw, Brasserie de Jessieu. We ordered espresso and Croque Monsiur and it was delicious. Something that I didn't know about the French is that they don't eat on the run (students here and there, but typically not). They sit down and have a proper meal. They sit down and have a proper espresso, a cigarette, and leave a few small coins as a tip. We saw one Starbucks and it was full of tourists. We never had a coffee to go the entire time we were there and I love that. Something else that I didn't see were people on cell phones or texting. It was so refreshing. I have a love hate relationship with cell phones. They are convenient and great, but there is nothing worse than being at dinner and hearing someone yapping on their phone the entire time or stuck in a car with someone that is talking to someone else the entire time. The French really take their time and enjoy the small things in life. A good espresso needs to be enjoyed, without a cell phone. I'm trying to adapt that a little now that I'm home.  

The Eiffel Tower is huge. I squealed a little when I saw it because I have literally wanted to be in Paris my ENTIRE life and there I was, finally in Paris. I'm not sure if any of you have feelings similar to that, but I hope that everyone has a dream that they can fulfill. Whether it is visiting a city, accomplishing an iron man, or whatever it is that makes you joyful, I hope everyone can experience what I felt that very moment when I saw the Eiffel Tower for the first time. My heart was so full and I was so happy. I was finally in Paris and I am so glad that my husband could be the one that made it all happen. 
We went up in the Eiffel Tower, to the top, saw the City, and spent a lot of time just looking at all of the architecture and the brilliant layout of the city. Afterwards, we found another little bistro, sat outside under heaters, ordered a bottle of wine (Bordeaux) and a Nutella and banana crepe. It was one of my favorite meals ever. 

Our energy was wearing off a little off being up for almost 36 hours straight,  and it was getting dark, so we decided instead of walking back the Latin Quarter where our apartment was located, we would take a boat down the Siene River that splits Paris into the right bank and the left bank. It was a great way to see the city and I highly recommend it. We got off at Notre Dame and caught the beginning of a Mass which was really incredible. All along the sides of Notre Dam, you can donate a Euro or two and light a candle. We lit one candle for our dear friend Tonia Megaloudis that passed away from colon cancer two years ago (she was only 39) and then lit a candle for ourselves and our future. It was a really special thing to do in such a historic church. The outside of Notre Dame was full of life, folk bands playing and tons of kids running around. We got another bottle of wine, a plate of french fries, and called it a night. What a great first day in Paris. If you are going and are planning on going, I would highly recommend doing the Eiffel Tower and the river cruise on your first day. It gives an overall idea of how the city is organized and the views are breathtaking.

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