I should hate you. You're expensive, your men are pushy and creepy, parts of you are filthy and smell terrible, your ticket machines don't take regular American strip credit cards, a (not-bottomless) glass of Coke at some of your café's cost €9,50.
And yet - AND YET - I just can't stop loving you.
Paris: Tues 7 May - Fri 10 May
We landed in Paris - well, technically, Beauvais, around 10AM. It was raining, we'd been up since who-knows-when, Ryan Air had been... an experience, I was exhausted and a little bit miserable. After about an hour on a coach, we arrived in Paris proper and made our way to the hotel.
We stayed at the Hotel La Manufacture and I can't recommend it enough. It's in a super great area (safe, quiet, right at a metro stop that is convenient to sights and Gare du Nord) and the hotel itself is clean, comfortable, and staffed by some of the nicest people I've encountered at any hotel anywhere.
After a little bit of running around the city to try to complete an errand (successfully!), we found a nice little place near our hotel for dinner, stopped at Marche Franprix for some snax, and settled in for the night. We must've gone to bed really early that night because I honestly don't remember much of anything after we got back to the hotel.
On Wednesday, we were awoken by a marching band on the Place d'Italie. Turns out, it was a holiday in France (Victory in Europe Day) which meant some of the things on our to-see list were closed, but on the flip side, there were also a LOT of French flags all around which made for great photos. We composed a loose itinerary for the day and set out on our adventure. The list contained a lot of repeats for me, but I didn't mind so much - I mean, *who* is going to complain about seeing the Eiffel Tower twice in their life? Not me. (This was the 3rd and 4th time for me, technically. Still, a-okay.)
The Catacombs were closed due to the holiday, so we had lunch at Café Indiana nearby. It was the same place I had lunch after we went to the Catacombs in 2010, and it was still delicious.
After lunch, we headed to the Eiffel Tower for some picture-taking on the Champ de Mars and then across to the Trocadéro on the other side for some more photos. After that, we walked up Avenue Kléber to the Arc de Triomphe and then down the Champs-
After dinner, we had another serendipitous experience. It was getting late and we knew we wanted to see the Eiffel tower sparkle before we went home because Darcy had never seen it at night. We also figured it might be nice to go up it at night, but it was about 10:30PM and the last admission was at midnight, so if time didn't allow for it, that would also be okay. We decided to try to find a bottle of wine and then head back down to the Trocadéro to watch the sparkles and that proved to be a difficult task. But after about 15 min of walking, we found a tiiiiiiiny convenience store selling small bottles of wine and they also had one €2,50 bottle opener left on the shelf. Score.
We raced back toward the Seine and as we crossed it, realized the first bridge we came to was one of the "lover's" lock bridges, which had been on Darcy's to-see list. Score, again! We quickly followed the river toward the Eiffel Tower but it became increasingly obvious that time was not on our side, so we decided to hop in a cab. We got to the Eiffel Tower with 7 min to spare, ran across to the Trocadéro, found a perfect place to sit, and had our wine bottles open only moments before the tower lit up in sparkles. Super score.
We hung out there for about a 1/2 hr and then decided to go up the tower - why not? There was no line to go up, so we boarded the elevator with about 10 other people (and they didn't confiscate my wine opener!) and made our ascent. The top wasn't open at that hour but the middle level is high enough, trust me. A few minutes after we got off the elevator and had a look around, the tower began to sparkle at midnight. Super, duper score.
On Thursday, we decided to go to Versailles. This was another repeat for me but I loved Versailles so much the first time that I was excited to see it again (and it's no secret that I have a total fascination with Marie Antoinette, as cliché as that may be). The palace is still breathtaking, duh. Unfortunately, the gardens weren't free on this trip like they were last time because now they do some sort of music water show at the fountains, and by the time we got out there we would've had to pay €8.50 for about a 1/2 hr of garden time. We decided to skip it and instead headed back into the city for dinner and to see if the pharmacy I wanted to stop at was still open (it was! And I loaded up on Nuxe products and Bioderma).
We had dinner across the street from the pharmacy at Café de Flore, where by chance, we were seated one spot down from where Bill Kaulitz sat with Wolfgang Joop during Durch die Nacht mit Bill Kaulitz & Wolfgang Joop (none of you care about this I know just let me write it down haha) and had Croque-madame and some wine.
Café de Flore was pretty pricey and we didn't eat much, so we took another break at a café at Place d'Italie and had some drinks and snacks before going back to the hotel for the evening.
We soon settled into bed because we had to be up bright and early to catch the train to Germany!
Up next - Köln!