Wednesday, February 22, 2012

J'Adore Paris!

Nick and I just got back from three fantastic days in Paris. I know that Paris sounds a little cliche but it was anything but. It was beautiful, it was historic, it was clean, it was cultured, it was WONDERFUL!
It was an easy 2-hour train ride to Paris and we arrived at the Gare Nord at 10am. We caught a taxi and zipped through the streets of Paris. Some of my french came flooding back, not much but enough :) Our hotel was called the Hotel Elysees Mermoz, and it is a boutique hotel just off the Champs Elysees. Our check in was not until 2pm so we dropped off our bags and headed out to check out our surroundings. As soon as we stepped out to the Champs Elysees we saw the Eiffel Tower. Yeah!!!! We're really here. We grabbed some Starbucks, I know we were in Paris but we don't have Starbucks in the Netherlands and it's one of my favourites. I love my skinny half sweet vanilla latte :)
We decided to do a really nice dinner our first night and to enjoy some of the cafes and more relaxed spots for the rest of our meals. We ate at a really nice little restaurant that we passed on our way back to the hotel. We popped in and made a reservation. We had tuna steak, vegetables and fresh bread. The server recommended a delicious bordeaux and it was perfect. That night we hit the pit early and I bribed Nick into another full day of walking with a foot rub. Yes, he is spoiled! We had perfect weather a sunny 6 degrees for our entire trip. It was so sunny Nick had to buy cheap shades because he had forgotten to pack his. I think they looked good but he thought he looked funny.
If I can make any suggestions to improve a tourists experience it is to get yourself a copy of Lonely Planet. My friend Laura let us borrow hers and it was wonderful to read about the history, culture, and must see attractions. We walked the Champs Elysees, toured the Arc De Triomphe, the Grand Palais, the Petit Palais, and the Muse dela Defense. We stopped for lunch and then headed back to the hotel to freshen up. Later that day we walked to the square where they used the guillotine to publicly behead people. It is now a peace square. I wanted to wait until the evening to go to the Eiffel Tower but I
couldn't wait. It was breathtaking! From a distance it was neat to see but up close it blew me away. It is beautiful! I am a proud Canadian but the Eiffel Tower kicks the CN towers butt...if it had one :)
On day two we got up early and had a fantastic breakfast, we went for a run on our tired feet and then headed to the Jardin des Tuileries and the Louvre. People were out sunning themselves in the gardens and again I was blown away by the Louvre. It was spectacular! After touring the outside we headed on to Notre Dame. We crossed over the love lock bridge and past streets with artists, old books and collectibles. This was a spot that left me a little underwhelmed. The architecture was beautiful but I found it sad how they have commercialized the building. Selling collectables at the door just seemed wrong. I guess that to stay alive even the church feels they need to conform. We had dinner at a cute cafe; yummy soup, salad and fresh bread. Nick and I stopped at a bakery and Igot an amazing french pastry. Delicious!!!! That evening we went to the Lafyette Gallery to check out the shopping. We saw Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Dior, and Christian Louboutin. Amazing!!!
On day three we went back to the Eiffel Tower and checked out the Military Academy where Napolean went to school, the Mars Park and the modern peace installation. On the way back we stopped for photos at the Canadian Embassy :)
We saw so many more things then I can mention in my blog but I have to say Paris is now my favourite. I highly recommend a visit. I know I say this every time we go somewhere new but I really mean it this time :)

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