[all photos my very own]
Upon our arrival to the Charles-de-Gaulle airport I felt as though I had just ate breakfast in Houston. But here I was, in Paris, about to dine on a French style bfast in a local café.
After a long, bumpy taxi ride (which seemed just as bad as the plane ride) due to what they call "circulation", we finally arrived at our hotel. We dropped off our bags and headed to the streets where we grabbed brunch. My mom and I had salads that were simply in a clear plastic container, but proved to be much better than most salads I have served on any plate at Cafe Express or La Madeleine.
Now that our stomachs were satisfied, we headed just feet away to the Arc de Triumph (one of the monuments I listed in my pre-vaca post!). It's just as it looks in all of the photos--only better. We climbed (while huffing and puffing I might add) to the top of the arc. The view was breathtaking with an avenue in every which direction all perfectly aligned with evergreen trees and cars speeding (and nearly wrecking.. don't let these little nuglet cars fool you, they're speed demons on the road). From every angle there was a sight to see whether it be the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur, or just simple jardins (gardens) atop buildings.
The Notre Dame was calling our name next. We took a cab to the left bank. This was my fist time to get a good look at the Seine River--one of the most famous riverways in the world. And there's no question as to why. It's surrounded by beautiful vintage buildings. I can imagine so many movie sites there--everything from a scene in Moulin Rouge! to just an episode of The Hills.
People were flooding in and out of the Notre Dame cathedral. This grand structure not only stands tall in the midst of all the buildings in Paris but it is also very ornate. The detail is magnificent. Inside the columns, stained glass windows, and utter enormity of the structure are enough to mesmerize anybody for a brief visit. I had to ask, "now what priest gets assigned this parish?!"
After wearing the same outfits since our departure from Houston over 24 hours from then, we were all very ready to retire our clothes. For me, it was also naptime. Not only had I just been on an overnight plane ride, but Makenna and I had stayed up all night the previous night. My exhausted body had been telling me all day it needed sleep; nevertheless, I don't regret it a bit. As long as Makenna and I have been friends, we've never pulled an all nighter. Now with that new heart of hers, we've got a night owl on our hands! Just like me!
For dinner, the consierge recommended a spot called Chez Andre located near all the haute couture shops (in other words for all you boys..the fancy shmancy stuff). It's the Paris version of America's Rodeo Drive and 5th & Park Avenue. Only maybe a little more of the schmancy. There's Dior, Louis V, Prada, Gucci, Ralph Lauren, and everything in between. So if you're on the lookout for a handbag that's in the 5 grand range, I'll be sure to pick one up for you ladies.
After working up an appetite from shopping, we found Chez Andre and pulled up a seat outside of the cafe. It's practically unheard of to not have outdoor seating at the restaurants here. I ordered what in most plases would be a Caprese salad. Tomatoes dressed with an olive oil basil pesto-type dressing surrounded a center of cold buffalo mozzarella. It was the perfect refresher for a warm summer day. Both of my parents had the endive salad, both devouring it quickly. My dad and I both chose the steak with pepper sauce which was served with french fries--a popular dish in France noted as Streak Frites. My mom had a duck dish.
We were fortunate enough to be accompanied by an American family from Los Angeles. Mom, dad, three kids, and the nanny. The kids ranged in age from 5 to 10 I would guess. The family said they were renting a house in Italy, staying in Paris for awhile, and finishing in London. "Just the quinessential Euro trip for the kids," the said. Quite a trip for little youngins that probably won't remember it. They were able to give my parents many helpful hints on a future trip to Napa they might be looking into. In fact, Mr. Perry was nice enough to forward an email of all his picks of favorite restaurants, wineries, and hotels to my mom right as we were sitting at the table for dinner via blackberry. On a trip planning more trips. We just never stop!
We were running on low energy at this point, but we had enough left to complete our day of famous monument visiting. So can you guess? Our last stop? Le Tour Eiffel of course! The line was too long to take the elevator to the top (besides, my dad isn't too keen on elevators..). So instead we just capped off the night with some glace (ice cream) and sat in the nearby park watching the sun set beyond the symbol of Paris.
So, that's all folks. Day one in all its glory. Too detailed? Well, you got here so congratulations! Until tomorrow…au revoir!
What It's All About: Travels