Friday, April 3, 2009

Paris- Arrival and Day 1

The flight to Paris was not a problem.  Everything went smoothly.  It was only a two hour flight.

Upon arriving, we picked up our luggage and sure enough, Pierre’s parents were there to meet us.  They were very nice.  His mother does not speak much English.  She can speak a little broken English, but, that is all.  However, his father is fluent in English.  His father was a museum director and is now a banker.  His mother manages a job search company. 

The ride home was about 30 minutes and contained a lot of French.  That was fine, after all, Pierre hadn’t seen his parents in about two months.  They were asking me questions though. 

Pierre’s home is very nice.  It is in a beautiful neighborhood.  He has got a great setup too.  He lives in what is like a guest house, separate from the main house.  He’s got everything he needs in there.  We dropped off our luggage and went inside to get a quick snack of French bread and cheese.  The four of us talked a little more, during which his mother managed to tell me “my house is your house.”  That has been true thus far.  They all say, I can take anything, use anything.  Of course, I try not to and when cooking, I use limited amounts.  They have been very friendly.

A neighbors house.  Just wanted to show the style of houses.

Another neighbors house.

Pierre's house from the back.

Literally, Pierre's house (the guest house).

Little garden in the back yard.

After our quick snack, Pierre and I went for a ride.  It was like midnight, but, he wanted to show me the city quickly.  It took about 10 minutes to drive into the city in his car.  It was beautiful, especially the Eiffel Tower.  It is lit up and looks like it is built of gold.  I forgot my camera but I’m sure I’ll be back again at night.  He also pointed out some other notable attractions, but, you couldn’t see much because it was dark.  Pierre was happy to be back in Paris.  It is one thing I have noticed.  He takes a lot of pride in his city.

Day 1

The next morning, I made two eggs for myself with a little bit of ham and tomatoes for breakfast.  We went and ran a few errands.  The weather was PERFECT.  About 65 and sunny.  Pierre showed me his town, which is quite large.  The layout is similar to that of Long Island.  All the houses are right on top of one another, but, the styles are very different from the styles in Long Island.  All the houses are old, but, gorgeous.  We say city hall and drove next to the river.  It was a very pretty town.  We found an HSBC and I took out some money.  We went back home and Pierre continued running errands until about 1pm when we went into the city.

We took the train in and began walking around.  The first stop was the Arc de Triumphe.  It was HUGE and beautiful.  It is built in remembrance of all the French soldiers that served in WWI.  In the middle of the Arc, is a fire, specifically for the “unknown” soldiers that lost their lives.  It never stops burning. 

In front of the Arc.

The fire for all the killed unknown soldiers.

Champs Elysee.  Viewed from the Arc de Triumphe.

Eiffel Tower.  Viewed from Arc de Triumphe.

We decided to pay the 5 Euro to walk to the top.  Pierre didn’t mind paying because he had only been to the top once before, when he was a kid.  It was a huge spiral staircase that took about 6 minutes to climb.  It was worth it.  The view was amazing.

Then, we exited the Arc and proceeded down Champs Elysees, probably the most famous road in Paris (it runs from the Arc to the Louvre).  It was full of shopping and restaurants.  It was packed with people as well.  We walked and walked and walked.  I couldn’t get over how many shops there were.  It was like Lake George Village in midsummer, except extended for miles.  We passed the President’s house, which was heavily guarded.  As was the US embassy that we passed.  Then, we made it to the Louvre and it was amazing.  I think we are going inside the Louvre soon. 

Cafes lined Champs Elysee.  Thousands.

Outside the Louvre.  Going inside tomorrow.

Notre Dame.

(At this point, Pierre left me because he had a girl he was excited to meet up with.   We decided to meet at Notre Dame again in 3 hrs.  With that, we went our separate ways).  What an amazing church.  Entrance was free so I went inside.  The interior was gorgeous.  I’ve never seen another church like it.  The stained glass windows were huge, the organ was huge, the place was gorgeous.  

One of the many exhibits in Notre Dame.

I left Notre Dame and began walking one direction.  By now, it was about 5pm and I was getting hungry.  Pierre told me not to eat at any of the restaurants because they are too expensive.  He said buy fast food.  I don’t eat much fast food, so when I saw a Subway, I went in there.  I bought a small sub, reasonably priced, and took it with me.  I walked around the back streets for a little while.  When I made it back to the river, I went down to the river’s edge and sat there and ate my sub.  It was amazing.  What a place to eat.  I can’t describe how beautiful it was.  I ended up hanging out there for about an hour, until it was time to meet Pierre again. 

The view from where I ate dinner.  Gorgeous.

I guess things went well with Pierre’s girl, because she was with him now.  The three of us decided to go to an area a little outside the city to eat.  Pierre had a restaurant in mind.  We took the subway there and the restaurant turned out to be a little too nice.  So, again, we decided on fast food.  I wasn’t that hungry so I just went to the mini supermarket across the street and bought some peanuts. 

Since we were in the area, we walked to the theatre.  It was very pretty.  Pierre’s new girlfriend, Charlotte, left us at this point and we went on walking a little ways to our subway station.  We were going to go out for a few drinks, but, we were each exhausted and the cheap places were another train ride away, so we decided to do it another night. 

Saint Jacque Tower.

Outside the Opera Garnier.

We finally made it back at about 10pm.  It was exhausting but very worth it.  I can’t imagine how many miles we covered, but, it was a lot.  We’ll probably do it again tomorrow.

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