From the Road: Paris Days 1 & 2
Since last you heard from us in the Stockholm airport we have arrived in Paris and spent two wonderful days here. We didn't get off to such a terrific start, but since then things have gotten much better as we learned to navigate our way around a large city where we don't speak or read the language :) We are fortunate that there are nice people here willing to help out two lost Americans.
The first thing the we had to do was make it to our hotel, a goal made easier because Meagan had arranged for a shuttle car to pick us up at the airport. The trouble was we first had to call and get the shuttle car to come get us, but of course we don't have international cell reception and we could not find the Telcom phones in the airport that the instructions told us to use. We still don't know where those phones are but the man at the baggage claim counter let Meagan use his cell phone to call them.
We finally made it to our hotel where a nice man greeted us at the front desk and got us checked in. We are getting the real experience here staying in a tiny little hotel with tiny little rooms accessed by tight spiral staircases. After two days in the air we crashed in our room after making some quick plans for the next day.
Day 1The next morning we encountered another challenge in getting our metro passes, we will chronicle this for your benefit in a later post, but let's just say that we got going about two hours behind our planned schedule and the guy manning the hotel front desk got to see a lot of us.
With metro passes finally in hand we started out for that icon of Paris, the Eiffel Tower. Using the app NextStopParis I had planned a route that should take us close to it. Unfortunately unknown to me or the app one of the rail lines was out of commission. When we tried to transfer to it we were greeted with locked gates and a sign in French which I used the magical Google Translate app to translate through the camera to find that due to flooding and a strike the line was shot down. There was also a second sign explaining the alternate route to Versailles where we went today. Fortunately when we were looking at that sign (through the Google Translate app) a nice lady stopped asked us if we wanted to go to Versailles and gave us her metro map where the alternate route was drawn out because she had been there the day before.
We left the metro and walked to the Eiffel Tower, a task made more difficult by the presence of the Euro 2016 Eiffel Tower Fan Zone, meaning we had to go quite a ways around. But it was well worth it once we finally made it. We had an amazing time there which we will detail in a future post. I am so glad that we went, I found the whole thing fascinating. It is quite a marvel.
From the Eiffel Tower we went to the Arc de Triumphe. There we had an amazing view and got to climb more stairs. A post on it will also be coming in the future.
Next we went to the Notre Dame Cathedral, which was awesome. The stain glass was really amazing. We also visited the archeological crypt there that shows the ruins under the plaza.
Day 2Today was dedicated to Versailles where we toured the palace with the help of the Rick Steves Audio Europe app, we also walked through the ginormous gardens, and the domain of Marie Antoinette.
That took almost all the day but in the late afternoon we also stopped by the tomb of Napoleon before it closed. Meagan said that by doing the tomb and Versailles made this our ostentatious day.
Well now our feet are very sore, my Pebble watch has recorded two 21,000+ step days now. We did get our first real French Crepes on our way back to our hotel however and they were awesome.