The best thing you can say about any flight is that it was uneventful. We had great seats (row 10). It was calm enough, that even Yulia, who usually flies with a fist full ox Xanax was able to manage with just 4 glasses of white wine over the 10 hour flight. I finished another George Smiley novel, and watched two films. We weren’t able to actually get any sleep, so the downside was we left Seattle in the morning, and arrived in Paris still in the morning, but never really slept.
The ride to the hotel was actually harder. We were exhausted at this point, and it took us a while to find our driver in the crowds. Traffic was a mess, and it was hot. Usually I try to be friendly and chatty with a driver, but I was a mess and Yulia and Sasha were trying to nap. At one point he asked about the air conditioning in the car, and I answered about Seattle recent weather with lots of hand gestures about cloud types.
Not all there mentally at this point.
The outskirts of Paris are still that typical industrial sprawl. It could be Los Angeles, or London, or Tacoma. But without the smell of Tacoma of course. We slowed to a crawl in the center of town, but once in the architecture of the Paris core, and in a bit of shade, we perked up quite a bit. Our hotel is close to Notre Dame, which means that we should be done driving once we get there.
We arrived. The driver had our keys, showed us how the code box worked, and we were in. There was the world’s smallest elevator. It looked like it was retroactively build into the gap in the stairs. It probably was, this was a converted apartment rental building. We have a full 2 bedroom apartment for our first Paris leg of the trip. Naturally it was on the 6th floor. The girls went up and I ran after them on the stairs. I made it to the 4th floor before giving up and waiting for the elevator on the second trip.
We let ourselves in, and it was bigger than expected. It has a full kitchen, two rooms, plus a sitting room. Best of all, we have a view of the Eiffel Tower out the window! That more than makes up for the walk up so many floors. This gave us a bit of energy, so we made a quick plan, go get some food, take a sort rest, then go out for the evening and try to reset out jet lag.
We went across the street to a café with a cute detective inspired theme (it looked very “Tintin”) We were fairly dizzy just sitting there, but had to get some solid food in us after airline “food”. The waiter was very friendly, and didn’t mind our complete inability to speak French, or English at this point. We did a lot of pointing. We barely made it through the meal, our exhaustion was catching up to us. We went back to the room and passed out right away.
A few hours later, we collected ourselves, and started a walk about town. We were excited to see Paris, of course, but we also wanted to try to tire ourselves out so we could actually start sleeping on time. We wandered off from the hotel towards the Pantheon, and were caught in a serious rain storm. We dove into a café and had coffee until the rain stopped. Once it was clear enough, we went back out.
We didn’t have a plan, we just walked around. We cam across the church steps from “Midnight in Paris” and also the bridge overpass from “Ronin”. I love finding filming locations when we travel. We looped back, and crossed the river by Notre Dame. It was just nice to walk the city, see the shops, and do nothing. We just kept wandering around. Eventually, shops started closing, so we grabbed a café for a final late dinner. We had some gallettes and cidre, and chatted with the waiter. This was in the St. Michel district, all small twisty streets filled with small, twisty tourists. It was crowded, but started thinning out eventually. We had a few more drinks, and walked back to the apartment. It was only a block or so away.
Getting back, the Eiffel Tower was lit up and sparkling. We stood at just watched our view for a bit. Not all travel works out this well, so it’s good to enjoy when you get it.