Thursday, April 2, 2015

Paris warmup

Bonjour from Paris! Baguettes, croissants, cheese, wine, cakes, candies, OMG bring it all to me. Oh and I guess add in some culture, walking, and people watching into the mix.

The flight from Newark to Paris on Tuesday evening was perfectly uneventful despite not getting too much sleep. The plane was actually not full so there was an empty seat next to me and I was quite happy for the extra space. By the time I got to Paris and checked into my hotel it was about noon and I knew that I could not let myself get too comfortable in my room or else I'd be asleep - that wouldn't help the impending jetlag. I decided I'd just start walking from the hotel and see where I ended up. Most direct sight to see... the Eiffel Tower... sure, I'll take it.

Spring is making it's way into Paris with flowers and trees starting to bloom. Not everything is out yet but enough to bring some color to the parks and streets. I found some nice blooms near the Eiffel Tower and couldn't resist snapping a few pictures, I think they came out quite nicely. Just watching all of the people taking pictures jumping, laying down, selfie and whatnot is a sight of it's own at the Eiffel Tower. I also got lucky yesterday afternoon with some spotty sunshine and the temperature around 50. Felt great after being in New York.

After a nice walk I was totally exhausted and not feeling so great (combo of post flight, no real meals since Sunday morning, and lingering sickness) so I grabbed a baguette, came back to the hotel, and never made it back out again. I had to pace myself and not scarf down the entire baguette at one go. I was proud that I only ate like two thirds of it. The rest would be pre-run breakfast food.

The next goal was to stay awake until at least 9PM. A struggle but a success. I probably should have taken something to knock me out but I hoped I was tired enough to sleep til at least some morning hour. Fail... I was up and wide awake at some time around 1AM. Ugh! After two episodes of The Great British Bakeoff on YouTube and some reading I finally fell asleep three or so hours later. Hoping for better luck tonight!

Today I'm most excited about just being able to eat a proper meal and not feel completely ill. Big win! I realized after I ate lunch today that it was the first real full meal that I'd eaten since breakfast on Sunday morning. I also got a five mile run in so that felt pretty good as well - finally able to test out the streets of Paris. It's pretty much nice and flat so that bodes well for the marathon.

Since my mom and aunt are arriving in Paris next week and we're sure to have a full itinerary of the sights, museums, and whatnot I figured that today I'd just wander around with a few destinations in mind. I'm not in a rush to do a zillion things, this is just the warmup. Today's destinations included Rue Mouffetard, Shakespeare and Company bookshop, and a lunch spot. Despite off and on rain all three were checked off the list along with a quick stop into a bakeshop for a pain du raisin - delish and much needed to tide me over til lunch - Luxembourg Gardens, stroll along the Seine, and Pont des Arts. There's a lot more locks on the bridge than the last time I was here and there's actually boards up along along the bridge section itself so you can't even add any more there.


Rue Mouffetard in the Latin Quarter is dubbed as Paris' most photogenic commercial street. Fairly touristy market street but lots of yummy looking foods, Easter chocolates, cheese, meats, bread, and wine. There's more markets in my future so I was just browsing. It was also relatively on the way to location two, Shakespeare and Company. This bookshop was perfect to get out of the rain. I was starting to get quite wet and cold wandering around even with my umbrella so I popped inside and browsed the floor to ceiling shelves of books (in English!) for quite a while. Final main stop on the excursion was lunch at Cuisine de Bar - happiness on plate pretty much. Open faced grilled cheese with three types of cheese on top of one bread slice and then slices of smoked duck between another (see above picture of toasted goodness). Oh, and a glass of wine and a salad. And then a cappuccino (much better than what I drank in the US) to finish it off. Not a bad lunch if you ask me!

Tomorrow I'm off to meet Yvonne in Bordeaux for the long Easter weekend then back to Paris for another week and a half. I printed my train ticket out today at the station so that at 8AM tomorrow I would not have to figure out where on earth to do it - good thing because it took me two different machines before I got it to work. There was some notice about needing it stamped before I get on the train tomorrow, no idea what that means but I will hopefully figure it out with little translation trouble.

Full report of the adventures in wine to follow when I get back on Monday!

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