Monday, October 14, 2013

September 2/3 Monday/Tuesday Hello France!

Sept 2-3, 2013
For my very extensive photo album of this trip, please go to my online album here to see them.

Started our day with me having to get up at 4am so we could leave the house by 5:30.  Our plane leaves San Diego Lindberg Field at 7:15am. That's never a good way for me to travel as I'm grumpy the rest of the day. Our first leg of the flight was to Washington DC, and two hours later we got on our United flight to Paris. We had turned in our bonus air points for first class seats on the plane, and we each got a little cubicle that included a recliner chair that lays almost flat to sleep in. Yeah right, me sleep in a plane? I asked for a Kahlua & Cream as soon as they came around. Our cubicles had its own video screen and lots of choices of movies and TV programs to watch but what else are you going to do on a 9 hour flight? Hubby and I sat side by side with a little divider between us. With our seats we also got little hygeine kits that included ear plugs and masks, spa lotions and wipes, comb/toothbrush/paste, whatever you might need upon wakening in the morning. Our meals were served in courses so it used up about an hour by the time it was all done.  I was able to watch the movie After Earth, but started to feel sleepy afterwards. I think sometime during the last few hours, as it was getting close to 10pm our time, I was dozing off, which was good because it was going to be "morning/next day" when we arrived in Paris with the time difference.

We're here! After a boring ride in heavy morning traffic from the airport to the hotel thru a rundown and industrial part of the city, we arrived at our hotel.The taxi driver spoke no English and drove just like a French driver careening around cobbled rotaries. So far our modern hotel seems to be blended into an older area and across the street from us the fronts of the apartments are older and more interesting. I wanted to take a photo out our hotel room window but the glass has lines on it like louvers so I took this one from the street. At night when people returned to their apartments and turned on their lights I tried to see what the insides looked like. Even with my weak little binoculars, I couldn't see very much. Too bad. And yes, hubby  said I was a Peeping Tom. Who wouldn't be in Paris? 

We had to stop and take a 3 hr nap because neither of us slept much on the plane and when we arrived here, it was just after midnight for us, but already 7am here. We got to the hotel at 9am. Now I'm just trying to feel normal so I can get my face back on, and dressed, and wait for hubby to wake up so we can go walk around outside. 
People warned us that it might smell out on the streets and so far it appears to. Kind of like a sewer smell. But it wasn't all the time. And OMGosh! the French people smoke like there's no tomorrow! You can't even walk outside without getting a lung full. 
One of the airport attendants in San Diego told us to see if we could go visit the village Van Gogh spent his last six years in painting. Its 35 miles from here and it all still looks like it did when he was here, and artists are all over painting there, and you can buy small paintings. It sounds lovely and we're looking into that. I think the Metro which is right down the street from us takes you there. My friend Jody says the Metro subs here are wonderful and efficient and very easy to use. Our first tour is tomorrow so I'm looking forward to seeing some real Paris and outside the city. 
Its pretty warm outside right now, about 78 and is supposed to be 85 tomorrow, 89 Thurs, and then cool down to 78, then 73 by Sat. We drive up to Rotterdam, Netherlands on Sunday and the next night take the ferry across to England. At least we'll get some cool and colder weather in England. It was pretty miserable at home with the extreme heat, and we're looking forward to some cooler weather.

We just discovered our hotel, the Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe, is only a block down the street from the Arc de Triomphe. We're on one of the wheel spokes of the street layout extending from it. How cool! This is our hotel from a publicity photo. From this view you can see the Arc de Triomphe on the bottom left that it's named after. As you can see, its quite modern and is blended into the surrounding older buildings. I wonder what was there before? And why in the world did they ruin it? 

This photo shows the streets extending out from the Arc. 
The most famous street, the Champs' Elysee is right around the corner from us, on another of the spokes, but its the really pricey area to shop, and very crowded. However we didn't have much time to go there, and we wanted to see the historical stuff.

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