Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Loudshoes in Europe, Part 4: Paris

You know how you've always heard that Paris is spectacular and wonderful and the be-all and end-all in vacation experiences? Well, it's all true. It's fabulous.
We flew to Paris from Ireland and had to get ourselves from the airport to our hotel on the train and the metro; luckily, the Mister and I have enough French to be able to read signs and get ourselves on the right train and not to Poland or something.

Our daughters were a bit taken aback at a European hotel room, even one in a modern was very....compact. No ice machine, no ironing board, no free wireless. It ain't Disney World, let me tell you. But it did have a dazzling view of Paris from it's rather large window, and that was good enough for me.

We went out straight away to see the Eiffel Tower, which was #1 on our agenda, and as we strolled beside the Seine on a beautiful summer evening, we just kept turning to each other and saying "do you believe we're in Paris??"

The Eiffel Tower was way bigger than I thought it would be (I'm not sure how big I did think it was going to be, but I was surprised.) The Mister thought it was smaller than he thought it would be. Go figure. It is far more delicate and lacier than I thought it would be, too. It's really very lovely.
We wandered around a bit (and got asked 50 bazillion times if we would like to buy a cheap, plastic souvenier of the Eiffel Tower, by dozens of interchangable, sketchy looking guys who were so clearly used to being told "no" that they'd have fallen over with surprise if we had said "yes".)
Everyone was getting hungry, so we found a sidewalk cafe that looked like it would not cost all the money we possessed and we got a decent dinner from the most stereotypical snotty French waiter. Seriously, if I hadn't thought he would spit in my food, I'd have asked to take his picture. He was so full of contempt for us pitiful, non-French tourists that he'd have had to add a few inches to his nose to look down on us properly.

On the way back to the hotel, by way of the Eiffel Tower again, the heavens opened and we got full-on thunderstorm. We ducked into some phone booths nearby, Thing 1 and I in one and Thing 2 and the Mister in another. And Thing 1 and I found a cell phone in our booth! We tried to figure out if there was a number in the contacts that said "home" or some such thing, but the fact that neither of us speak French hindered us somewhat. And then it rang! It scared the bejesus out of us! We probably should have answered it to find out who it belonged to and to tell them where it was, but, again, we don't speak French and we couldn't tell them where it was anyway, we didn't even know were we were. ("Allo! Je have your phone! Here in the booth du telephone! Near la tour Eiffel! But I have no idea what street we are on or where the hell your phone is! Adieu!")

Even though I had said that there would be no sleeping on our trip to Paris, we did make our way back to the teensy hotel room and settle down for the night.

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