Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ahhhh Paree... Josh and Julie go to Paris (Day 1)

Being the super awesome friend that she is, Michelle offered to watch the kids for us for a weekend during her stay.  I can never say thank you enough for this amazing opportunity to see Paris...without the kids.  Now technically we've been to Paris Disney Paris.  But we hadn't actually seen the city itself and I'm so glad that we now have.  I realize that I haven't seen that much of Europe yet - my trip in November to house hunt was actually my first trip to Europe.  And so far I've seen Barcelona, Valencia, Rome and Paris as far as cities go.  By far though, Paris is absolutely my favorite.  It's going to take a lot to top this city. 

We arrived in the evening, just in time to check in and grab a late dinner.  We were staying at the Renaissance Vendome which as I'm sure you can assume by the name, is right by the Place Vendome.  It was on a beautiful side street, relatively quiet and had easy access to absolutely everything we wanted to see. 

Inside the hotel

Outside the hotel

Place Vendome

We asked the hotel where they recommended for dinner that first night. Something typically French and bistro-like. They suggested this fabulous place called L'Ardoise.  And like I've been told before, the French do not have the best service...but they do have the best food.  The service, after living in Spain, nothing surprises me.  However, keep in mind that at least in Spain and France, tipping isn't expected - so there's not a whole lot of motivation either.  We were sent to the back of the bus where it was exceedingly hot (even though there was AC in view, they clearly had no intention of using it) since we had no reservation (by now it's around 9PM and the place is full). 

I had a fabulous steak for the first time in at least 6 months.  I had one so-so one in Barcelona a few months ago and I'm gonig to say it didn't even count.  So this is my first taste of real steak in soooo long.  And it just melted in my mouth and I savored each bite.  As did the langostine raviolis - yum!!  Josh had fish and said it was amazing as well. 

We decided to take a stroll after dinner to work off that huge meal.  Lo and behold there was a fair going on about a block from our hotel in the Jardin de Tuileries.  Josh convinced me to go on the ferris wheel which I haven't done in years - not a fan of heights.  But you know what, you live once.  And it was worth the views that we had from so high up with everything lit up around us!  It was absolutely spectacular.  From here we could see that the Louvre was just around the corner from us and the Eiffel Tower wasn't that far either - and both were lit up for the evening. 

Fair lit up for the evening

Josh on the ferris wheel!

Eiffel Tower from the ferris wheel
The Louvre from the ferris wheel

Josh tried to convince me to do the Flume but I put my foot down - after all, one "exciting" ride in an evening is enough for me (though I did do the flume the next night with him and I ended up slamming my head into his when we came down the hill causing a nice bruise on my forehead).

Notice how clean the fair is - have you ever seen a country fair this clean??

We ended the evening with a stroll down to the Place de la Concorde where we had a great view of the Eiffel Tower lit up for the evening.  It was an unexpected surprise to see that at midnight it sparkled as well - such a beautiful sight that my camera absolutely did not do justice. 

While the Tower is lit up at night, at midnight it actually starts to sparkle!

Josh saw "his" car everywhere... let it be known, we also saw several Ferraris - this is a city that likes its sports cars!

On our agenda tomorrow - Eiffel Tower (of course), Arc de Triomphe and as many sights as we can squeeze in one day!!  Looking forward to seeing it all!!


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