I have to admit when I was sitting in my little house in Browning, MT teaching on the reservation, feeling so alone and lost in life I never thought this would really happen. 2 years later I have built the most amazing online connections though my podcast and a variety of Facebook groups and well … here I am!!!
So my Uncle had prepared me … my room would probably not be ready until 3pm. The plane lands early in the morning, so I should plan to leave my luggage at the hotel and head out to a close landmark. I would be tired and full of jet lag.
When I ordered my ride from the airport on expedia, I thought it was for both ways. I wish I would have got both at the same time.
Or perhaps took the less expensive metro as my uncle had suggested. On the way to Paris, I had less stuff to carry. It would have been easy probably and a great way to start off. But also having a ride was comforting (and my driver was fantastic!) especially my luggage got lost and so I was at the airport from 5:45 to like 7:45 anyway… No complaints. The airline was quick and efficient, and my bag was delivered directly to my room before I needed it later that evening.
Also, I would not change money at the airport. I would exchange money in Montana before I left and I also would not take so much cash. I got the best deals with my bank card for anything over $5.00.
Anyway, I was so excited to see the Eiffel Tower I didn’t mind waiting to check in. The hotel did offer to let me check in early for a fee. I just dropped my stuff and headed out. The hotel staff was amazing at helping me figure out the best way to go.
My driver had pointed out the FranPrix, the closest grocery store. They had great prices and fresh food!
I got lost right away and I wish I would have gone directly to the train station – the Gare de L’est (as the staff suggested I might add). Eventually, I would come to find out that almost all the buses took off directly from there that I would want to ride and it was the main hub around the corner from my hotel.
The first thing I did was buy stamps and mail Mike a postcard I bought. That was my first purchase with a credit card. I wanted to compare my visa card and my credit card to see which charged more. They both seemed to be about the same. Mostly a Euro would add about an extra dollar or 2 to purchase under $50. So if something cost 5 euros I would figure $6 and if it cost 20 euros it would be about $21.50. It wasn’t a huge difference. If I just added a dollar or 2 to most purchases I could get the exchange pretty close easily.
I found lots of sweet little shops. Already I am reading children’s books in French and I have only been here a couple of hours. I bought Mike a great little cat calendar at this Librarie.
They had these awesome little crank turning music players. They were hard to resist for less then $10.
One of my favorite shops was this adorable little paper store called the L’Ecritoire.
Then I walked around till I got to Notre Dame. I was tired for sure but it was so exciting I didn’t really mind.
After getting to Notre Dame, I needed to take a break. It was about lunchtime… 11am or so. Considering my flight landed on the ground about 5:45 that morning I felt I was doing pretty good. My Uncle had pointed out to me that there were Starbucks everywhere with wifi if I needed to use it so when I came to my first Starbucks with little tables outside I took a break and sat down.
I gathered my thoughts, pulled out my sketchbook, did a very little sketch of the street, took everything in, went through my maps and decided to head down the street a little and find an authentic French Cafe to eat in or at least get a cup of coffee. Plus I needed to charge my phone somehow, and I knew I could plug it into my Macbook if I sat somewhere for a while.
My Uncle had given me some suggestions for places to enjoy in the Latin Quarter.
I found the delightful Lou Lous.
Their tag line
“Start your day with a coffee and a smile”
I was hooked before I walked in the door.
I stopped thinking I would just get a cup of coffee. But it was so friendly I ordered the least expensive thing on the menu. 3 eggs sunny side up. Surprisingly they came with the most delicious side salad made entirely of these thin baby arugalas. Oh it was heavenly. Usually I just like a tiny bit of arugala because I think its too strong but maybe because these were so thin and fresh it was absolutely fantastic and not too overwhelming at all…
I sat and sketched the view across the street. Little did I know this little market was setting up I would come back to and get a picnic lunch for my trip to Musee de Monmartton a few days down the line the best place to see Monet Paintings …
Once I had eaten I was refreshed enough to walk some more. It was time to see the Eiffel Tower in Person!!! I couldn’t wait. My mom had suggested I walk along the Boulevard St. Germain. So I headed up it towards the River Seinne. Then I figured I would walk along the river towards the tower.
But I don’t think you can ever be prepared for the first sight of the amazing tower. And even though I’d been looking and looking it completely surprised me.
But as you can see I was quite far away still, and getting quite tired. It was about a 45 minute walk from here, probably because I was sight seeing and getting lost a bit here and there.
So, I decided enough was enough it was close to 3pm by now time to head back to my room. I searched the bus maps and found a bus that circled by the Arc de Triomphe and back to my room which was finally ready :~))
The bus stands also have digital read outs that tell you when the next bus is arriving and even though they have clear boards that tell you which direction the bus you are about to get on is going, I still managed to get on 3 buses in the wrong direction throughout my trip!!