So day one of my Paris adventure began yesterday. I arrived at the
Memphis airport two hours before the flight, just as suggested. I was
sitting at the gate 15 minutes later. There’s hardly ever a wait
there, to begin with, but I always get there early anyway. I got felt
up a little bit by a TSA agent (I forgot to take my belt off during
the scan – oops). And it was not as bad as I would have expected. Not
invasive at all and maybe I was just a little disappointed.
Once I arrived at the gate, Continental announced that due to “air
traffic control issues,” the flight was going to be delayed. The new
estimated time was only an hour later, but it actually only turned out
to be 30 minutes. But count that as a good reason to why I try to book
layovers of at least two hours. I got to Newark in time to grab a
quick coffee drink, throw away my contacts and change into my glasses
for the long haul flight.
Which was LOOOOONG. I guess that’s why it’s called that, huh? I do
think Continental Airlines has more legroom and better seat pitch than
US Airways, but it’s still impossible to sleep on those things. I
think I dozed for an hour total. But at least they fed us and I got
through quite a bit more of “A Dance With Dragons.” I guess that’s
When we arrived, my stomach was doing flip flops, thanks to a pretty
turbulent descent. I also get stomach achey when I’m jet lagged, so I
generally expect it. But I managed to get my luggage and lose yet
another neck pillow. In the exact same spot I lost it last time at the
Paris airport. I give up. No more. This one even had the snap on to
keep it attached to your luggage, but it fell off anyway. I give up.
No more buying neck pillows. It’s like Paris curses me when it comes
I got my luggage, which, fortunately, arrived with me, and made my way
to the train that goes into town. Apparently, when I tried to get my
ticket at the counter, my French was so mangled (I blame jet lag) that
the guy had NO idea what I was saying. He asked me to speak English!
LOLOL Well, that pretty much put a dent in my French-language
confidence. But again…. I do blame jet lag. I was pretty out of it.
So much so that when I arrived in Paris, I got turned around at the
train station and took 30 minutes just to find my exit to get to the
apartment. I was going to use that mTrip app I paid for, but the GPS
without data (or even with) doesn’t work with it. Note to self: get
money back on that piece of crap. So I had to fire up roaming data to
find the street and get my bearings. But thanks to having delved into
Google Maps street view for the neighborhood, once I recognized a cafe
on the corner of the street I needed to take, I knew where I was.
Well sort of. I ended up on the wrong side of the street, but
fortunately, Pascal, the guy my landlords had put in charge of meeting
me since they are on vacation this week. He was really sweet and
carried my luggage. He said his English wasn’t very good and I said my
French wasn’t very good, but we managed to have an entire conversation
in a sort of hybrid between the two. I learned some new words, as did
he. And btw, armoire is still armoire in French! ROTFL Yeah, I felt
stupid asking about that. Dur. Again… JET LAG.
He showed me around the apartment, which is stocked with anything I
might need. There are a ton of guide books and an umbrella and coffee
and milk and dishwasher detergent and dark hot chocolate (yum) and
orange juice and tea (Twinings FTW) and a ton of other things. Every
little detail has been thought out. And I had a fresh baguette waiting
on me (I ate 1/2 of it this morning!), as well as bread from the
infamous Poilane bakery. There’s homemade jams and butter in the
fridge. It’s just absolutely perfect. I feel like a real Parisien now.
Once I had a shower and brewed a rather strong cup of coffee (I used
too much, but it’s a stronger brew than I’m used to and I couldn’t
read the instructions on how much to use because THEY’RE IN FRENCH!
LOL), I felt a lot better. I also had 1/2 a baguette in my stomach
and I think that made it happy. I decided to go see the Palais Garnier
opera house because it was something I’d missed last time.
So I made it to the Opera metro station, where I realized I still
didn’t have any cash and that I was hungry, even after 1/2 a baguette.
Many places won’t accept debit cards under a certain amount, so I went
in search of an ATM. I found one after about 30 minutes, and wouldn’t
you know it? It was out of service. And so another 30 minutes later, I
found one and got cash out. And then it seemed, as I walked back to
the opera house, that there was one on every corner. Okay, I think
maybe I can blame that on jet lag, too. I got a sandwich Parisienne
from Brioche Doree (a bakery chain) that was ham and cheese and
lettuce with a ton of butter slathered on it on a baguette – because
apparently, I like bread. Yeah, it was awesome. I sat on the steps of
the opera house and ate it right there. Just like a real Parisien.
Finally, I was ready to see the opera house. I walked around it and
took some photos and bought a ticket to tour the inside. I wandered
around and was just amazed at how ornate it was. I’ve seen a lot of
theatres, but this puts them all to shame. PLUS it’s the opera house
that inspired “The Phantom of the Opera.” I will admit that I might
have hummed “Music of the Night” while I was there. It was so
beautiful, but after about an hour, I was finally falling apart.
And yet, I still found myself staring at the front doors of Galeries
Lafayette. And I ended up inside, where I suffered from handbag, scarf
and shoe overload. But I did discover a Pierre Herme there and got
some macarons. They were Cafe Infinitement Macarons, I believe.
Basically macarons made with coffee. Which is probably the greatest
invention ever. I put them in my bag so I could savor them later.
I somehow stumbled back to the metro and ended up back at Gare de
Lyon, which is the station closest to me and got turned around again,
although I shouldn’t have, but I think I was just so tired.
Fortunately, I had no problem getting back to the apartment or
remembering the access code that gets you into the building.
Otherwise, I would’ve been screwed!
And so I’m here now. I just talked to Mom (free phone calls to the US
is included) and I’m typing this. I’m going to go out in a bit in
search of wine and cheese for dinner tonight. And that’s probably
going to be it for me. I will be calling it a night early and crashing
out. And hopefully sleeping until a reasonable hour tomorrow. Which, I
think, is going to be a museum day (it’s supposed to rain, but the
forecast here is always changing, so who knows?).
Oh, I also ate the macarons and they were beyond awesome.