When I was envisioning visiting Paris, I pictured myself looking very elegant, seamlessly coasting along, looking and acting completely lovely. I failed to live up to this image. And frankly, Paris failed to live up to providing us with the agreeable weather I’d naturally assumed we’d have.
My journal states: “July 3rd 2007: We arrived via Eurostar in Paris just before noon, and took the metro to our stop. There was a light rain… by the time we figured out which direction to walk to our hotel, it was pouring. We found our hotel in the rain. I did my best not to be miserable about it.”
Ah yes… my first glimpse of Paris: rain, LOTS of rain, and me, looking like an utter and total drowned rat in the midst of it. Walking several blocks to our hotel, dragging our luggage through puddles. I was not enjoying being rained on, mostly because that wasn’t part of the mental deal I’d had with Paris. It was supposed to be fantastic and romantic. Instead, it was raining and this was making me angry (again). Though honestly, rain in Paris with the love of your life SHOULD be romantic, right? So the problem was me and MY perception. Like I said, I’ve learned a lot about myself — and about mental and practical travel preparation — over the years.
“Our welcome at Hotel Moulin Vert was warm and friendly, so that helped. We rested and revived ourselves, then ventured out again, this time purchasing an umbrella first. As soon as we bought it, the rain stopped (of course it did). We took the metro to Champs-Elysées, and promptly bought banana chocolate crepes and discovered that they’re very messy and SO delicious (SO DELICIOUS). We then took a tour bus around Paris, seeing the Grand Palais, Pont Alexander, and got off the bus at the Eiffel Tower.”
Grand Palais. And my love.
Okay, a note about my expectations regarding the Eiffel Tower. And frankly, Paris in general. I didn’t expect much. I know, I know — everyone loves Paris, everyone gushes about Paris, and for some reason everyone also loves the Eiffel Tower a lot. But Paris hadn’t been on my list of places to visit. Whenever people talked about the Eiffel Tower, I rolled my eyes. “Blah blah blah Eiffel Tower blah blah blah” was my attitude.
But as the red tour bus turned the corner and the great iron giant rose up before me, I was actually riveted. Stunned. It was a MOMENT. I turned to Andrew and declared, “This is amazing!”
“We then took a very long walk to Café de Flore. The French are brisk and polite. If any of them are snooty and rude, I fit in just fine. I had a club sandwich and Andrew had a chef salad of sorts. We both had red wine. St. Germain was very lively , even that late at night. We took the metro back, and fell into bed around midnight.”
You can tell this happened a long time ago because I was happily drinking red wine and all was well.
Also… that walk was more than long. We actually got lost again. We were lost in a fantastic place… but I was tired and my feet hurt. I was remembering all the advice I’d heard about making sure your footwear is comfortable. And I was wishing I’d taken that advice.
Another observation… whatever “snooty, rude” treatment we experienced in Paris (particularly at Café de Flore), was just fine by me. It matches my very own modus operandi. This made me feel quite comfortable.
Our start in Paris may have been a bit rough… but we were excited for what was to come.
Champs-Elysées: renowned for its delicious crepes.