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Jill McCracken’s Travel Diary

Friday, 07 Jan 2011

Location: Paris, France

MapOur Long Tourist Day – Part 1

The day began harmlessly with errands on Blvd. Jourdan. Post office: check. Bank: check. We’re still struggling to find any merchant, institution or bank who will break large Euro bills into smaller notes, so please be aware of that if you’re planning on coming to Paris. Bring small bills!!

I became obsessed with this café that we had walked by on our first day……it was painted a beautiful deep red and was dotted with persimmon and plum cozy tub chairs and had race-car paraphernalia tacked to the ceiling. I had to go in! We popped in for lunch and had our first experience with a snooty French waiter, he seemed to hate us for ordering inexpensive menu items and sharing. Another note: no doggie bags, that is something to get used to! Kas and I snacked on chicken fajitas & Earl Grey while Sarah and Simone were more adventurous avec café and a REAL Caesar salad: giant achovies and everything. Salty.

We picked up Emily at the house and ventured west to the end of our tram line, then up the north-boung RER to the Eiffel Tower! Public transportation is by far the best way to see the city and save your feet for a long day ahead. We popped up from underground and the Eiffel Tower dominated our view. Yup, I cried a little bit. So Eiffel Tower: check.

Grabbing my first crepe: check. Being accosted by souvenir merchants: check. We toured across the bridge and then traversed the Seine walkways past the National Assembly, the Grand Palais and Place du Canada (for my friends back home!) Kas is officially “one” with the map so we ventured across Place de la Concord past the Obélisque de Louxor and vowed to return to ride the ferris wheel. Quickly looking left up the Champs-Élysées we could see the Arc de Triomphe at its west end, but we will have to come back to view it up close. We drooled at the big name designers on Rue Rivoli, then continued to our final destination: the Louvre.

We had read that the Louvre is free on Fridays from around 6pm-9pm, so we wanted to check it out. But I am so glad that our trip ended up as more of a recon mission because we were so exhausted! I really loved the horses atop the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel and of course I had to take photos of the Pyramid. The line was atrocious so we decided to just tour around the Cour Carrée and head back home for dinner. We were enticed by a familiar song that I have danced to numerous times: a flute busker was playing Swan Lake in the centre concourse. It was a perfect moment.