France / Paris

Arriving in Paris

We arrived in Paris, and Scott was excited to finally have his fear of the gypsies validated, as a guy offered us a cab, took my bag and walked away.  Obviously we stayed up with him, Scott and I shooting each other looks, wondering where this was going.  He started putting our bags in his car, and Scott asked how much it was to get to the address we were going to.  He said 100 euro, because ‘that is far’.  Uh-uh.  Thankfully, the owner of the apartment we are renting had sent us all kinds of useful notes, which included the fact that a cab from Gare du Nord would be around 15 euro.  That was quite the mark up he was working there.

So we took our bags back and walked away.  Got a legitimate cab – and it cost us 14 euro before tip to get to our apartment.  So Scott is now satisfied with this trip.  Someone has tried to rip us off, and his ‘abundance of caution’ is not in vain.

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Looking down the staircase in our building.

Our apartment.  Entering our building is quite cool, and so European.  The front door is big and wooden and heavy.  When you come through that door, it brings you into a courtyard, where you enter a second big wooden door off to the side, and then proceed up – I believe – 88 steps (every time we try to count we’re off by 1 step, we think they’re multiplying), to the 3rd floor apartment we have.  No cute elevator this time.

The stairs are beautiful, oval-curved, and old – meaning uneven – and not for the faint of heart.  Especially with all of our bags!  But it was TOTALLY worth it when we came into our apartment.  It’s adorable, and I think I want to buy it on the spot.

It is 5 rooms.  The front door opens into the dining room, which has a door off the the left that goes into the kitchen, on the opposite wall to the left that goes into the living room, and a cupboard door that isn’t a cupboard, but a door into the bathroom.  Both the living room and the bathroom, also have doors to the one bedroom. The living room has two sleeper sofas, so that’s where the girls are sleeping.

The view down the street from our living room.

The view down the street from our living room.

The floor plan is interesting and cute, but better than that are the high ceilings, the molding around the ceilings, the large french windows that unlatch and swing open in every room, and both the kitchen and master bedroom have one wall that is curved with a window in it.  Then, when you lean out the living room window (it has decorative bars that keep you from falling out) and look down the street, there at the end, the Eiffel Tower is peeking out over the other buildings.

Our first bottle of wine!

Our first bottle of wine!

We got unpacked and settled in a little, then went for a walk looking for one of the recommended restaurants in the notes from the apartment owner.  We settled on Le Procope, just down the street from us.  It was founded in 1686, so is believed to be the oldest cafe in the capital.  (However, it must be said that a couple of restaurants claim this title!)  However this one was frequented by Jean-Jacque Rousseau, Diderot, Voltaire, and Napoleon apparently ate here at least once, leaving his bi-corn had as guarantee of payment.

Escargot

Escargot

So we just dove in, ordering Duck Pate & Escargot for starters.  KatieRose liked the pate, liked the first bite of escargot, but then couldn’t quite handle the rest.  Scott and I liked both, although 2-3 escargot are good for me, a plateful is a bit much.  Then Scott had the most amazing marrow stew, while the girls enjoyed salmon, and I had a cod with a mustard-Bearnaise sauce that made me want to lick the plate.  I restrained myself.

KatieRose after she tried Escargot & Lydia got grossed out.

KatieRose after she tried Escargot & Lydia got grossed out.

If you get a chance to eat in Paris, I highly recommend it.  As one of our guides said, “In Paris, even when the food is bad, it’s still pretty good.”

Then we got back to the apartment and ready to rest up before our walking tour the Saturday morning.  But first we looked out the window to see the Eiffel Tower lit up. The conversation went like this:

Eiffel Tower all lit up.

Eiffel Tower all lit up.

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Me:  Oh girls, look, the Eiffel Tower is lit up.

They scurry over and settle into the window sill and we watch.

Me:  And I think, every hour on the hour, the Tower twinkles or something.

KatieRose runs and checks:  Hey, but it’s 10:00 now.

Lydia:  LOOK!  Look at it sparkling!

And we sat on the sill and watched is sparkle for the 5 minutes it does that.

Not a bad finish to the first day in Paris.

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