Friday. 1:45 pm. A mere three hours after leaving Aix, arrive at Gare de Lyon. Love.the.TGV.
2:00 pm. Realize that while I wrote down detailed directions for how to walk to my hotel from the metro stop closest to it (Passy), I failed to so much as glance at a map of the metro to figure out which line(s) to take to get there. D’oh.
2:15 pm. Stare at the metro map. So many pretty colours. Decide to try taking purple train 14 to green train 6.
2:30 pm. In the midst of enjoying beautiful views of Paris from green train 6, glance at map and realize I am going the wrong way. Get off at next stop.
2:35 pm. Realize I read the map wrong. I was going the right way. Wait for next train.
3:00 pm. Arrive at hotel. Breathe a sigh of relief that Trip Advisor reviews were accurate. Hotel Nicolo is central, charming, and, unless the rate they post in the room is way off (165€), at 85€ I got a fantastic deal.
3:30 pm. Decide travel purse is not Paris appropriate. Not wanting to spend too much on a new bag under pressure, head to Monoprix. Think Zellers with a French aesthetic. If you’ve been to Montreal, think Simon’s but slightly less trendy.
4:30 pm. Late lunch and traditional hot chocolate at Patisserie Viennoise.
Cafe wasn’t as hard to find as described in David Lebowitz’s “The Sweet Life,” but, sadly, the hot chocolate wasn’t quite as yummy either. Granted, I am someone whose best hot chocolate memories involve hockey rinks and the Rideau Canal. Perhaps my palate simply isn’t sophisticated enough?
4:30 pm. Walk along Saint Germaine. People watch in Place de Vosges. Shop in Beauberg. Soldes (sales) everywhere. Somehow manage to buy only one new piece of jewelry.
8:00 pm. Eiffel Tower. Mission: spend the money to ride the elevator to the top. As a student eight years ago decided to pass. Determined not to miss the opportunity during my second visit. Spot the long queues. Mission aborted. Here’s me beside the Eiffel tower : )
[Confession. In looking at the picture that used to be here on screen bigger than my iPhone I realized it was awful. So I took it down. Yup, I’m that vain 🙂 Here’s a pic of the Eiffel tower without me beside it instead]
9:15 pm. Hotel room. Dinner. Three cheese and tomato panini. Wonder once again why even the smallest French sandwich shops can manage to use better quality cheeses than far too many “nice” restaurants back home?
9:30 pm. Dilemma: Jazz or rock music? Rock or jazz music? Remember bad luck with jazz club previous weekend and decide to head to L’International.
10:45 pm. Head wrong way out of Couronnes metro station. Take two minutes too long to figure out how to evade effer who thinks “I don’t speak French,” and “Non,” means “Yes, please continue to walk with me and invade my personal space.” Turns out crossing the street was all it took. Thank jeebus.
11:00 pm. Victory! Locate club and enter just as headliners are about to start their set. If I lived in Paris, I think I would spend many a night here. No cover charge, decent beer on tap, and good live music. Can’t say Wake the President were amazing, but they had cute Irish accents and rocked out despite being crammed with the rest of us in a hot, sweaty basement. So, I bought the CD. They’ll always be that band I saw in Paris : )
12:30 am. Consider a second pint while waiting for rain to clear, but then remember run-in with effer before the show, decide sobriety is probably a good idea, and head back to hotel.
Saturday. 9 am. Awake. Wondering why I set my alarm so early? Remember breakfast is included with the room. Best.beakfast.in.a.French.hotel.ever. Bread overdose: two croissants and a pain au chocolat. And yoghurt. And cheese and a boiled egg. Plus a nectarine for lunch later (after that big a breakfast, no need for a proper lunch).
12:00 pm. Plan: take metro to Centre Pompidou. Reality: turn down wrong street and end up walking. Good mistake. Worked off some breakfast, plus saw loads of cool stuff. Grande Palais, Place de la Concorde, the Louvre . . . and maybe bought some shoes. Did I mention the soldes everywhere?
2:00 pm. Finally make it to Centre Pompidou. It is awesome. Thanks for the recommendation, A. Modern art gallery there is my new favourite. Very accessibly laid out for a non-art history buffs like me. Plus, amazing views of the city. Take that, Eiffel Tower : )
Took a great video of the Parisian skyline that I’ll post when I get home.
3:30 pm. Realize my train is in less than two hours and still have to get back to the hotel to pick up my luggage! Rapid dash across town. Yellow train 1 to green train 6, then the reverse with increasingly heavy backpack.
4:50 pm. Gare de Lyon. Somehow early for 5:16 train to Marseille. Woot! 27 hours in Paris = major success!
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