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Jill McCracken’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 05 Jan 2011

Location: Paris, France

MapOur first night in Paris:
After a bit of a detour with an adorable yet directionally challenged boy from Montreal, we settled in to unpack. Our room is sort of like living in an IKEA showroom, except with a balcony...a beautiful balcony overlooking Parc Mountsouris! We discovered that male passerby have no qualms about calling up to you on a balcony. I believe many cups of tea will be consumed on that balcony (in addition to the wine that currently sits right next to my textbooks). Our bathroom is amusing; the shower does not have a lip to catch the water and apparently we're both kind of splashy. All was remedied with some shammies from a supermarket in nearby Chinatown.

Even though we could have slept for a day and a half, we forced ourselves to stay awake and explore the neighbourhood. Having so many shops nearby is so convenient! We passed bakeries, a hardware store, grocery stores, multiple pharmacies, a bank and a post office in less than three blocks. Note: Bicycle lanes are only painted as a suggestion. As are pedestrian crossways. Traffic lights provide no comfort that drivers will actually heed to them. You're kind of on your own. At one point I saw a driver creeping through an intersection perpendicular to the flow of traffic...but apparently that's how you drive in Paris!

We settled into a small cafe with a kind server who went out of his way to make us comfortable and happy. We arrived prior to the Parisian dinner crowd, so our menu choices were extremely limited because it was an in-between time. We could not have cared less; we were all so exhausted that croque monsieurs and madames were perfect for our palates. My favourite part was the chocolate chaud - it was basically a chunk of chocolate that I poured warm milk soon as the chocolate was melted, we dipped the baguette in it. Love at first bite.

A trip to the wine store completed our evening; white wine for three euros? Yes, please. Even with a glass of wine to knock us out, somehow we both woke up at 2am. Full-blown, 'can't fall asleep' sort of awake. Our street isn't too busy, but it feels busy at 2am when you are trying to fight jet-lag.

Much love!