Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Paris Day 1


I've had a blast planning this big trip, and it's finally here. We had a great trip across the big pond. We flew Delta and had a good experience. (They didn't lose our luggage, and all the rest is pretty much the same for me!). From Atlanta to Paris was an 8.5 hr flight on the 777, and luckily our travel agent got us Premium Economy tickets, and they were great. We had fully reclining seats with footrests, upgraded menu with "beverages", a toiletry kit with socks, eye masks, tooth brush, and other nice things.

AND. I could not believe the size of the engine out my window. :)

Here's Chris getting comfy in our seats before takeoff. We watched two movies each, then ate a pretty good meal and tried to sleep. It was pretty darn hard to sleep. We were either hot or cold, or being disturbed by someone, so we didn't get more than 3-4 hours. 

But I got to see a fabulous sunrise over the Atlantic.
We landed at 8am local time, and knew we needed to keep on our feet to beat jet lag. And boy, did we ever. 

First, we walked a few blocks from the hotel and walked along the Seine river: Chris is below with the Muse√® de Orsay in the background. 

We followed the river walkway all the way to Notre Dame, which is stunning and amazing as it towers above you.

We walked through the inside, and the vast, high arched ceilings are impossible looking.

The stained glass is breathtaking. This church was begun in the 1100's!!  It really makes you feel how small you are in the scheme of things...

There were some great views from the top, 69 meters (about 210 ft) and 400 steps up:

And many, many narrow steep little steps. Our legs are jell-o. 

Then it was over to the Arc de Triomphe.

This thing, built by Napoleon, is massive.

And, with little foresight on my part in planning, we had a ton of more stairs to climb. 284 to be exact. But we were rewarded with more fabulous views of the city:

My impressions of the city: it's a melting pot of many nationalities. You can hear multiple languages spoken by those around you, but nearly everyone we've encountered at restaurants, hotels and such speak English well. Signs are written in English also and the metro was surprisingly easy to figure out, comparable to our experiences with DC metro. There are places that smell, and areas I wouldn't want to be in at night, but there's a HUGE police presence. And I mean even ones with machine guns. I haven't felt threatened with pick pocketing. The buildings in downtown are beautiful with stunning architecture and history. So far, I'm impressed and am glad we came.

Tomorrow: the Louvre!  And now: sleep!