Prologue: Arrive in Paris (April 29, 2015)
We’re here! That sounds more cheerful than I feel. It was a long night on a long flight, and now an exercise in patience to get to the hotel and find food (as opposed to what they pretend is such on the plane) and a place to sleep!
We took the Air France shuttle from the airport because it stops (Port Maillot) “across the street” from the hotel. You know, you read that and “across the street” can be interpreted in different ways, but thankfully this was accurate. The bus stopped RIGHT across the street from the entrance to our hotel! And our room was ready! (This at 11:00 am!).
I want to sleep, but can’t. No surprise. Adventure beckons…who can sleep? We got settled in our room and headed back out.
Not our first (nor second, nor even third) time in Paris, we are on the hunt for things we haven’t done or experienced before so “Bois de Boulogne” floats to the top of the list. It is close by and the day is nice … Why not?
The Bois de Boulogne is like Central Park in New York. It is to the west of the “downtown”, and it must be known by some other names because when we asked passersby on the street how to get there, they had no idea…This despite the fact that it covers a couple of square miles! Wanting just a “walk in the park, “ without a fixed destination clearly in mind you can be sure one will, and we did, get lost! Thankfully, it was a beautiful day and the walk was so reminiscent of Wisconsin in the springtime, that we enjoyed it. There was not a lot to recommend, but the discovery of the Foundation Louis Vitton was a surprise and a photographable moment! [We did not visit the inside.]
Wandering around with a deficient GPS, we finally broke down, hailed a cab and rode back to civilization. We had lunch in a place near the hotel called Chez Leon (Leon being a brand name as opposed to the city or even a person), but a big bucket of mussels was just the thing we needed to launch us on a post-prandial nap that lasted about 3 hours.
Once among the living again, I donned my hiking boots and we set off for the Arc du Triomphe (via the ATM). I wish I could say that the weather was still beautiful and the pictures fantastic, but I may have to use Photoshop to make them even interesting. No photo could ever capture the magic of Paris, but “nebishy weather” certainly isn’t going to do it! For anybody!
Nonetheless we did walk to the Arc and take some pictures and then continued on to Place du Trocadero for pictures of the Eiffel Tower. Here our ideal photo aspirations were spoiled by construction and barricades (to keep people from climbing on and falling over (?) the walls). We walked down the various levels, threading our way between the hawkers of barking mechanical dogs, schlocky metal Eiffel Tower reproductions and “selfie arms” until we could cross the street and photograph the tower, as well as the bridge leading across the river. By now it was evening, and to our delight, the tower began to glitter and twinkle as the lights came on before they settled into a fixed lighting that (seriously underexposing) gave us some interesting night views with the rain-threatening sky.
Before long the threat of rain was a moot point, as the heavens opened and we sought shelter and food, yet again!
It is not so warm this time of year (late April) that rain can be ignored. It left us both wet and cold. We did find a nice dinner across the street from the quai. We ate and warmed up, but the combination of unpleasant weather and a sleepless preceding night made it fairly easy to opt to go “home” by cab.Want to keep reading? Here’s the next day.