Bonjour Paris!

When I was 13, I began taking French and I plastered a large picture of the Eiffel Tower on my bedroom wall. For me it was a magical sight. Finally, I’ve arrived in Paris and I’m happy to say that it’s just as magical at 35 as I thought it would be at 13. I’ve spent the last two days walking through Paris, soaking up the culture and tuning my ear to a language I haven’t spoken in many years. Fortunately, it’s coming back quickly and none of the French waiters have been rude as I’ve haltingly placed my order in French. Despite their reputation, they’ve been very patient with me and I’ve found my attempts usually get a smile. In fact one rather cute waiter at the cafe around the corner from my hotel, seem to get quite the kick out of teaching me how to ask for my bill in French (L’additon, s’il vous plait) at lunch yesterday. I went back in for dinner this evening and to my surprise, he remembered me.
I spent yesterday afternoon wandering through île de la Cité and île St. Louis as I waited to check into my hotel. Paris has been experiencing an unusually warm fall and it was almost hot yesterday as the clouds cleared away, bathing the two little islands in the middle of the Seine with a bright sunshine. The leaves are just starting to turn here, so it looks like I’ll get to experience second fall foliage here over the next two weeks.
I wandered around the outside of Notre Dame; eventually, I’ll go back early in the morning one day for the tour and climb to the top of one of the towers. But, for now, I’ve contented myself with exploring the gargoyles that keep watch.


Jet lag finally caught up with me around 1 am and I ended up sleeping until nearly noon when the hotel desk woke me up and told me it was time to change from my double room to the single room for the rest of my stay. Paris hotel rooms are notoriously small, so I was wondering just how small my single room was going to be. Would I be living in a closet for two weeks? Interestingly enough, the only difference between my single room and double room is the lack of balcony in the single room. My single room still has the double bed and is exactly the same size; it’s just one floor down. As much as I enjoyed checking my e-mail out on the little tiny balcony yesterday (about 3 feet wide), it’s not worth paying an extra 30 euros to keep it.

After I switched rooms and finally unpacked, I resumed my wanderings. I took a long walk down the Seine along the edge of the St. Germain de Pres quarter towards the Louvre. On Friday nights, the Louvre stays open late until about 9:45 pm. The bulk of the tourists clear out and the French venture in. I’m not sure I heard English but once during the 2 hours I was there this evening. I checked out the Islamic and Egyptian art and finally made my way up towards the Mona Lisa when my feet started to feel like they were about to fall off from all the walking. While the gallery was far from empty, I was pretty much able to walk right up to it (I hear it’s another story during the daytime). Much like my experience with Michelangelo’s David, pictures just don’t do it justice. Her slight smile is captivating and I can understand why many have sought her mysteries over the centuries.
By the time I found my way out of the maze of galleries, night had fallen. The Louvre is spectacular at night and I’m not sure my pictures do it justice.




And before I wrap things up tonight, a few more scenes from Paris at night–the first is the Concierge, where Marie-Antoinette waited to beheaded and the second Le Pont Neuf with the Eiffel Tower in the background.


2 Responses to “Bonjour Paris!”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Bonjour Kim!

    I’m really happy you are having a great time in Paris!

    Your pictures are awesome! I can’t believe it! So professionnal! 🙂

    Tourlou,
    Annie-Claude
    (Rouquine)

  2. Anonymous says:

    Kim,

    Looks wonderful. I’ll check back for trip updates.

    Have a blast. Don’t forget to look for Neuhaus chocolates.

    Heidi

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