Since I was a child, I’ve always wanted to go to Paris. I’m not really sure why but I’m sure every kid has an idea of some place they would love to go and may never think it’s possible (The other place I’ve always wanted to go is Australia.). So I’ve been planning this trip for a couple of months and the day has finally arrived. I took a Qatar Airways direct flight from Doha to Paris and the more I fly Qatar Airways the more I like it. I flew economy but there is a small section on the second floor of the plane that’s economy seating. I got to sit on the second floor (I know, it’s the little things that excite me at times). It was a cozy overnight flight and I did sleep the majority of the way. I had a nice well rounded breakfast courtesy of QA: scrambled eggs with mushrooms and tomatoes, chicken sausage, hash browns, fruit, yogurt, croissant, and orange juice. It sounds like a lot and it was! It was all very tasty though. Once we landed, the adventure began!
Hmmm, first impressions of Paris: cool but not blowing my socks off, and a little dirty. I am truly amazed at the public transportation system. I’m no princess (really David, I’m not) but I don’t think I could do the tube thing on a regular basis. It’s not only exhausting, it’s crowded, dirty, and when someone lets a little trapped air go amongst all those folks, it just ain’t right. Truly, the process for getting off the plane, through passport control, onto the train, to my first stop in Paris was 2 hours. Good thing I had a fabulous Qatar Airways breakfast because I was worn out!
I got off the train to see Notre Dame because my accommodations wouldn’t be ready for a few hours. Since I packed light, it wasn’t too bad lugging my small carry on around with a backpack. I did feel like the ultimate tourist though with my luggage, backpack, and camera. I had a chance to take a few pictures outside of the cathedral but couldn’t go inside with my luggage. So I may go back before I leave. I think it’s worth seeing the inside. The outside is absolutely stunning.
I still had a little time to kill so I began to wander the streets. Then the specialness of the place hit me, or, the lack there of. The streets were lined with tourist shop after tourist shop. And I just kept walking and finally turned off the beat & path and lo and behold…..I found a cupcake shop! Yes, indeed. I met a nice Canadian young lady working in the place and I had 2 cupcakes: one for me and one in honor of my BFF. The strawberry lemonade cupcake was wonderful. The cake was actually strawberry. Most of the time it’s vanilla cake with a strawberry lemonade frosting. But they got it right. The cake was moist and the frosting was light and tangy. I savored every bite. Then I had a salted caramel cupcake. Delicious!
My journey continued down the little side street and I admired the architecture. I do enjoy the old buildings and the little flats with the iron railings surrounding their outdoor spaces. As I came back onto the touristy street, I decided to stop and have a bite to eat and find a much-needed toilet (they don’t call them restrooms or bathrooms in the part of the world). I had a cheery waiter who was quite funny. I ordered a croissant and a cappuccino. I studied the menu and couldn’t really decide what else to get because I wasn’t very hungry. So when he came back I ordered escargot. He said, “Where you from?” I said, “America.” He laughed heartily and said “No wonder! French: croissant, cappuccino, escargot, impossible! American, possible!” I laughed too because it really didn’t make sense but when else can I just go to a café and order escargot at 1045 in the morning? After I finished all that, I had a glass of wine which didn’t make much sense either. It was a great dining experience! By the end of it all, the waiter did a great impression of Americans. It went something like this, “Oh my God!!!!” and then “Jesus!” I wasn’t sure whether to be offended or amused. He was certainly amused. He seem impressed by what little French I know…or maybe just appreciative. It was fun.
The bathroom was a shared space. I was confused when I went downstairs and there was a man and his young son in the bathroom. The stalls, clearly marked male and female in one small room, were not so clean. As a matter of fact, the men’s stall was much cleaner than the women’s stall but neither stall had a toilet seat. Weird.
After all that excitement, I headed back to the train to find my way to the flat (apartment) that I found on www.airbandb.com. I got a bit turned around trying to find the place but eventually made it. It’s a quaint little place. I chose it because of the LP selection. I’ll start jamming some Miles Davis after a bit. After a super long morning though, walking up 7 flights of spiral stairs was pretty rough. All in all, it’s been an eventful day and I need a nap so I can go explore the city more!
Until next time folks…