A Better Side of Paris

orsayOriginal Post: May 13, 2015

I didn’t have dinner my first night in Paris. I’m not sure if I was exhausted or didn’t want to face the 134 stairs back up to my 7th floor flat. Regardless of the reason, I believe I was sleep around 8:30 which is why I was wide-awake at 5:30am! But hey, it just allowed me to get out early and explore.

I felt like an idiot when I tried to leave this morning. I couldn’t get the key out of the door! After a good five minutes trying, I figured out that the key is removed in a horizontal position not a vertical position like in the US. It’s the little things that get you when you’re outside of your norm.

The metro situation improved today. I feel like a pro now. With an application called Paris Metro, I made it to several place today and didn’t get lost and didn’t get on any train going the wrong direction. Perhaps my annoyance yesterday was due to fatigue and overcrowding. I arrived at the metro this morning at 0700 and there were only a few people. I boarded and actually got a seat. As I sat there, I couldn’t help but notice how miserable everyone looked. I don’t know if it’s because I was the only one on vacation and everyone else was heading to work or what, but there was a lot of misery on the faces around me.

I made my way to Jardin du Luxemburg or the Luxemburg Garden. One thing I noticed en route is that this part of Paris was very clean. There were several boutique and flats along the way. It was nice. The garden is a beautiful place and a great place to people watch. There were plenty of joggers. I saw a man amongst the trees doing some form of martial arts movements and it was like a scene out of a movie. I was also witness to a topless photo shoot. I wish I hadn’t witnessed it because the young lady wasn’t really hot and she was wearing granny panties, but her make up was pretty! I strolled among the trees and waterfalls and took in all the beautiful greenery. I do miss that about home.

From there it was time for breakfast. I found a little café and ordered. There was a special for 8 and half euros: baguette, croissant, apricot jam, fresh squeezed orange juice, and a hot beverage. I added a plate of cheese because just bread didn’t seem like enough. The OJ was the best OJ I’ve ever had in my life. Aaron, if you think CJ’s OJ is great…whew, you need an OJ in Paris! I really wanted a second glass but I didn’t want to be stereotyped as the typical overeating American; especially since I’d already ordered cheese. Speaking of cheese, it’s so in expensive here. I would have paid $12 for the Brie alone if I were in the US. The plate came with Brie and 3 other cheeses.

I then made my way back to the Notre Dame Cathedral. I am so glad I did. The place is majestic. I’m amazed at the age of buildings abroad. When you consider the history of some places it’s mind-blowing. There were hundreds of people inside the church. Yet, it was very quiet. People respected the space and that was nice. The photos don’t do it justice. The stained glass and the height of the ceilings made it so grandiose. I went into the treasury, which was 5 euros. I had to wake the guy up to take my money but since he didn’t have change he said, “You go free.” I’ll take free anytime. The treasury consisted of some spectacular pieces from past popes. It was stunning and lots of sparkles. Notre Dame is a must. I wouldn’t recommend an organized tour though. Not for this site.

I made my way to the Mussee D’Orsay or the Orsay Museum. This is an art museum with a building as fabulous as the art inside. There are several floors of art and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was nice to be in a real art museum. I saw several Vincent Van Gogh paintings. The sculptures throughout were beautiful as well. Going along with the French nakedness theme, I thought it was funny when I saw teenage boys taking pictures standing next to life size paintings of naked women. And then, I was really shocked when I ran smack into a painting of a woman’s vagina. As if that wasn’t shocking enough, that same painting was on a postcard! Who sends that through the mail? I have to admire their comfort with nudity though.

I went on to the café at the art museum. I really wanted food but couldn’t find anything I wanted on the menu so I ordered a couple glasses of wine. As I sat editing my photos, I overheard the 2 ladies next to me talk about Seattle and the Pacific NW. I had to ask…and they were from Portland! It’s such a small world. We had a great conversation and they invited me to dinner. I would love to go but some how I’ve misplaced the information. That’s so unlike me! Hopefully I’ll hear from them. On the other side of me was a lovely couple from San Francisco. We had a great conversation as well. It’s so nice to meet Americans outside of the US.

It was naptime after the museum.

After my nap, I was in bed and thought about those 134 steps. Was I really hungry enough to go get back on the Metro, eat, and then climb the stairs again? I could have survived without eating dinner again but as much as I love food, I had to trek out to find food. It’s part of the experience, right?

I went to Chez Paul in Bastille. This is the place that a native Parisian recommended to me so I was very excited about going there. I love a good dive. This place definitely had the look of a dive but I was disappointed in the meal. I think they suffer from having too many menu items. I had escargot; rabbit legs stuffed with goat cheese and mint, and seasonal vegetables were potatoes and leeks. I’ve never had rabbit, unless I had it as a child and don’t remember, but it was dry. It had a slight gamey taste, which I expected. However, it wasn’t strong enough to be off-putting. The sauce that was on the rabbit was good though. The potatoes were totally average and the leeks didn’t get more than one bite. It was just okay.

Well, that’s all I have for now.

Living life…and it’s good.

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