Our Airbnb in Paris was larger than London and a whole lot quieter.
Our neighborhood and our building
It did have a problem however, which was that we didn’t have hot water! It was fortunately quite warm outside so taking cold showers wasn’t too awful. We did complain but were told that the hot water was controlled by the whole building and we should wait a bit as it was probably being used a lot. We waited 6 days and it didn’t change. The owner was the only rude French person we met on the trip. He just didn’t seem to care about being a good host. It didn’t keep us from having a great time though.
Our first full day in Paris we started out walking to the metro when we saw a street market which we immediately stopped at and bought food for dinner and breakfast and snacks. Then after putting it in the apartment we set out again in route to the Eiffel Tower getting off at the Trocadero.
Walked all around that and down to an equestrian jumping contest. It seemed to be a very big event and the girls who are both equestrians (Tessa was on the high school eq team and Leila will probably do that, too), were quite impressed with how high and wide they were jumping. They’d never seen that caliber of jumping.
We then walked along the left bank past the beautiful Pont Alexander III,
the Grande Palais and Petit Palais
and up the Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe.
We did stop for lunch at a nice cafe for the girls to have their Nutella crepes and they said they would try escargot if I had it so of course I did. And they did. (!)
Did a little souvenir shopping, too.
A beautiful day and introduction to Paris.
The next day was Tessa’s birthday and a Sunday so our stop at the Place Vendome
where all the fancy jewelry stores are unfortunately didn’t have all their jewels in the windows. The obelisk in the middle is a tribute to Napoleon with all his battles around it. We walked by the Opera
then through the Tuileries,
past the Louvre
where the girls pretended to be one of the statues.
Then we walked to the river
and the Ile de la Cite to see Notre Dame
then to the Pompidou Centre
where we enjoyed the outside sculpture. We continued through the Marais (which was originally the Jewish Quarter of Paris) with stops at gardens
and the Picasso museum.
Guernica, flowers, and Picasso-designed jungle gym (!)
There is a great restaurant around the corner from our apartment where we went for a fabulous dinner to celebrate Tessa’s birthday. It was highlighted by Coconut Shrimp with a peanut sauce, Rosemary Lamb that was so tender you didn’t need a knife and Filet Mignon with a sauce au poivre.
Then for dessert Tessa had profiteroles, and we shared a flour-less chocolate cake that was filled with a gooey fudge. All way too rich but delicious.
Each morning I would get up earlier than the rest and go down to the patisserie around the corner to get our fresh croissants. Not a bad way to start the day!
We started the next day at the Place de la Concorde. Unfortunately there was a lot of construction or reconstruction going on in Paris so some of the beautiful squares we remember were filled with scaffolds, fences and trucks.
They did try to minimize the effect by covering much of their scaffolding with faux pictures of what the original wall or building should look like some of which were in previous pictures.
We moved on to L’Orangerie where Monet’s Water Lily paintings covered the walls. We were very sorry not to be able to take the girls to Giverny to Monet’s house and the lily ponds but there just wasn’t enough time. They’ll just have to go back.
L’Orangerie is at one end of the Tuileries in the Parc Champs de Mars so we got to walk through the gardens again past the fountains and statues and stop for a picnic lunch before going through the Louvre.
It was incredibly crowded at the Louvre and there were lines everywhere.
In front of the Mona Lisa it was so packed it felt like we were sardines.
(Photo credit: Leila)
We did get to see quite a bit, though, including some amazing ceilings.
And some great statues including the Winged Victory and Venus de Milo.
We wouldn’t recommend visiting Paris in the summer as the lines everywhere were rather ridiculous. After we left the Louvre we walked along the Seine to Saint Chapelle to see the gorgeous stained glass windows
and then to the Luxembourg gardens
where they have the fountain with model boat races. One expected to see Stuart Little piloting one of them. It was almost 5 and Leila kept bugging me to climb the Eiffel Tower so I finally gave in and went with her while Denny and Tessa went back to the apartment. We didn’t realize, when we told them to wait for us for dinner, how long we’d have to wait in line. It took 50 minutes to get our tickets to go up. We got tickets to walk up the stairs thinking we could take the elevator from the second story up to the top as recommended by our guidebook. It turned out after walking up 669 steps
to the second floor there was a huge line for the elevator and we didn’t have the right tickets. It was also 7:00 by then so we took pictures, enjoyed the view
and headed back down the stair for home. It was almost 8:00 when we got there and Denny and Tessa had been waiting for us. (We planned that wrong). We picked up a pizza for us all.