Saturday, October 1, 2011

Ahhh... Paris

Arriving in Paris at 5:30am affords you the chance to see the city before it is awake, but then again, the same could be said for us.  We were fortunate to be able to get into our apartment early as the renters before us left a day early.

The apartment is quintessential Paris, small but well appointed with a French Country kitchen, which, truth be told, is what attracted me in the first place.

There are two small bedrooms with en suite baths—the door to the bath in the loft is so small that even I must duck to avoid banging my head upon entering.

A small living/dining area, with nine foot windows that open out to french balconies that overlook the street make up the rest of the apartment.  Sleeping with these windows open at night is a bit noisy, but necessary as the weather is untraditionally warm for the first of October and absolutely gorgeous.

After a brief nap—I know that you are supposed to stay awake so that you acclimate to the time difference, but sleeping in coach during an eight-hour international flight (when it is essentially late afternoon to your body) is next to impossible. By the time we got to the apartment and were shown around, we collapsed into bed and slept for 3 hours.

We spend the early afternoon getting a feel for the neighborhood, locating the closest boulangerie and market for essentials, and then walking to the Louvre while we wait for our friends Leigh and Mary to arrive from Portland.  The French have a notorious reputation among Americans of being, well, let's just say brusque, a cultural characteristic that you have to quickly decide to not let bother you.  We pop into a small brasserie and are immediately told to "wait" in a manner that seems somewhat annoyed.  We are shown to a table in the small, stuffy restaurant and seemingly forgotten.  What we thought would be a quick bite to eat turns into a long affair, with our waiter managing to avoid eye contact whenever we need something, including the check.  Servers here are paid a salary and gratuity is added to the check; there is no incentive to provide great service.  I  feel as if we should apologize for not being French or for at least not speaking good French.  The food is nothing special—I have very high expectations when it comes to eating in Paris—but we do share a lovely bottle of Vognier.

The afternoon is topped off with a short stroll through Jardin du Palais Royal along with many others out soaking up the sun or enjoying a game of boll on this beautiful Saturday afternoon.

Tonight is Nuit Blanche (White Night) with many artists' exhibitions open all over the city, as well as some museums open all night with free entry.  We'll see if any of us makes it.

For more pictures click here.

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