We arrive in Paris with so much luggage. Two massive backpacks, one massive suitcase, three carry on bags, my purse and a car seat. Let’s back up… We exit the airplane and it’s HOT. Like I’ve never felt. We’re tired. We’ve just been on an airplane that left at midnight New York time and arrived at 1pm Paris time. Are you confused? So was I. All I knew was that I slept about 2 hours on and off in a sitting position.
We get through the customs line, out to the suitcase area. Voila! There is all our luggage. Phewf. We move into the next area and there’s wifi. Yahoo! Ooops! Guess what? We forgot the car seat again. So Luc takes off back into the area that says “Do not pass. You will be arrested.” or something like that.
He comes back, unharmed and we summon an Uber. Into the Uber we go. It’s 40 degrees. No shit, no kidding. We have no water and the Uber driver explains that it’s so hot his AC isn’t working. Are you shitting me? All the windows open and Vivi is melting in the back seat. She’s complaining she’s thirsty and I start to worry about her when she starts to fall asleep as she slept most of the flight so she shouldn’t be tired.
So I tell Luc we need to get water. The driver says ok, and about 10 mins later he finally finds a place. Luc runs in and grabs two bottles of water. Incredibly, they don’t have cold water. I wake up Vivi to drink and she hates drinking this hot water. Me too.
We get to the apartment and haul all the luggage upstairs in the itty bitty elevator (3 trips I think). It’s small but so quaint. No AC again. I didn’t have an expectation that there was so I’m less disappointed than I was for the car ride.
We instantly shower. The shower is really UNIQUE – up some tiny stairs into a little alcove… Pretty cool. Arno shows up and tells us all about the apartment, and the area. It starts to rain. A lot. Then it stops. Starts again a lot… Stops… you get the idea.
It’s dinner time now (time goes by so quickly it’s crazy – I guess that’s what a 6 hour time change will do to you) so we go out and look to find a place to eat. We passed by this really cool area with a very fine mist coming out of the ground everywhere. It was really nice as the heat hadn’t let up.
Then we found a great place to eat right beside the road (there are so many places like this with tables and chairs beside the road to take in the ambiance). The rain started to pour again. We had an amazing dinner with steak tartar with frites, and a massive salad with bacon and goat cheese and rose wine. The best meal we had the entire trip IMHO.
The rain came down, then hail then thunder and lightning. It was pretty insane. It let up enough for us to walk home.
We got a very early start on the day, 7am (probably due to the heat and time difference) and the streets were empty. It was cool outside. I was really refreshed and super happy to be able to walk the beautiful streets of Paris in the peace. It was so serene.
We first took in the Pompidou Centre which is an art museum. Some people think it’s ridiculous and others think it’s a modern art miracle. I was surprised about the empty bottles that were strewn everywhere in the streets of Paris. People are allowed to drink alcohol in the streets all the time. And the consequences of that are that they leave their bottles everywhere for other people to clean up. I was a little amazed.
We walked on and got to the Hotel de Ville (Town hall). A beautiful building.
Then across the Seine River, everywhere I looked it was stunning and hardly any people.
And over to the Notre Dame. Things were starting to pick up a little by this point with people. We arrived in front of the Notre Dame and there were a few tours. We went inside just ahead of about 100 people entering. What timing. It was immense. I’ve been here before but it really takes your breath away how immense it is and how it didn’t start out like that.
Vivi wanted to light a candle to remember all the past great grandparents.
We left there and headed over to get some breakfast. Two espressos, two orange juices, one croissant and 2 pain au chocolat. Delicious!
We then walked to Luxembourg Palace and Gardens. This place is absolutely stunning. I would spend a whole day here just meandering, exploring, people watching if I could. We were trying to get to the Catacombs. After what seemed like forever (Luc: “it’s just past this… it’s just past that…”) we made it only to find the longest line I’ve seen. Luc asked how long and the guy said about 3 hours to wait to get in. Forget about it. We were disappointed because neither of us had seen it before but we weren’t willing to wait 3 hours either. Another time. Something to come back to see.
We bought some goat cheese and took the metro to the Louvre. It was hot at this point, close to noon and the people were everywhere. I was beginning to struggle. We saw the outside of the Louvre and the pyramid. I’ve seen this before and it doesn’t disappoint. Vivi really needed to use the bathroom (I can’t tell you how much looking for a toilet takes of our time.)
We weren’t far from our place so we headed home to have an afternoon shower and siesta.
I coached that night so Luc and Vivi took off.
Then we had another dinner in the street just a couple of mins away walking from our apartment. It was a big day of walking. Versailles tomorrow.
We started our day a bit late as we had a 12pm ticket time at Versailles.
There was so much security everywhere as this was the last day of the Tour de France. On the way to Versailles we stopped at La Defence. This is the big archway seen in the photos below. Pretty cool to see. It’s huge.
Then onto Versailles. After the train left us off at the station we walked about 15mins (grabbing some lunch at the market) and hit the line up. Thankfully we had a ticket so our line up was still 10mins but not the mammoth queue if you didn’t have a ticket.
Into the castle and WOW! Incroyable.
Vivi kept saying how much she wanted to have a castle like that and that if it was her, she would share with everyone. Everywhere you turned was magnificent. It’s all you can really say about this place.
We had a walking recorded tour. It was so hot (I sound like a broken record) and there were so many people. We made the rookie mistake of going on a weekend BUT it’s not open on Monday and that was our last day in Paris so we had to go on the weekend.
After the inside we moved to the outside. I can’t begin to tell you how immense the garden (if that’s what you call it) is. Massive fountains with rows and rows of hedges and sitting areas. What they did with and in these gardens is anyone’s guess. Luc guessed a lot of fornication…
I realized after the visit that I wanted to learn a lot more about Versailles so here are a few links if you’re interested in Louis the XIV’s reign and more on Versailles:
- Chateau de Versailles YouTube Channel
- Versailles Dirty Little Secrets
- Google: Palace de Versailles
- Versailles: 3D
- Rick Steve’s Versailles
We returned home and I coached again that night. I’m loving that I can create my business to work with me while I’m travelling. This is really my dream come true.
Last day in Paris. Today was another day of walking in the heat. But I’m not complaining.
We got to visit the Eiffel Tower and the Sacre Coeur.
We took the metro to the Eiffel Tower and Violette really wanted to walk up to the second landing so we marched up the 700 stairs to fulfill on that goal for her. Luc and I have been to the Eiffel Tower about 3 times each. It’s still breath taking when you get up there and see the views over Paris. It’s hard to believe that it was built for the 1889 World’s Fair and was only supposed to be a temporary structure. Something that’s different than before is that you need to go through a bag check and security screening both before you walk onto the grounds and again have your bag searched before going up.
After that we walked over to a beautiful view point (I still haven’t been on the grass opposite the Eiffel Tour) and took some photos.
We were late (how could that be, we’re on holidays!) to meet a friend of a friend of Luc’s, Arno at the Sacre Coeur. So, off on the metro again and over to the Sacre Coeur.
This place holds a special place in my heart: it’s where Luc proposed to me about 11 years ago. If you want to hear the funny story, reach out to me and I’ll let you know how it went down.
We met Arno who brought the most delicious picnic for us. Red wine, cheese, bread, veggies, figs and tea. Arno is moving to Salt Spring for a year and is looking for a place to live on SSI starting in September. He’s going to be working at the Wolf School over there. If you know of a place he can live over there, don’t hesitate to let me know.
After lunch, he showed us around to some of the less touristy spots that locals go and we so appreciated him telling us about all that he knew. The photo of the tall brown houses below are some of the oldest in Paris. One other thing to note: the one on the right recently had some tenants leave. This was an establishment for swinging couples. They could visit this place. He assured us he only knew this because of common knowledge (not from experience).
We were spent after a full day of walking and stairs… so we cooled down with a shower and a siesta.
We leave Paris. Another tremendously hot day. We pack up and leave our tiny abode via Uber to the train station. I’m feeling a bit sick (totally thought a cold was coming on) so I’m happy to just rest and get to Switzerland.
Things to note:
- I’m feel like I’m understanding French better than I expected.
- I’m feeling familiar now with France and Paris (not like it’s a completely different world). This is interesting because I’ve been here a few times now. Luc and I agree that it will be a while before we go back.
- We’ve had more good experiences than bad with Uber. We will choose this again.
- The heat is really getting to me. Unless I’m having a cold shower, there isn’t any relief. Not even at night. I yearn to feel cold.
- Luc and I are fighting and disagreeing about stupid shit. More than usual.
- I want to slow down. Like pronto. This pace of travel is way too fast for me, my body and my being. It’s nice to see so much but I’d like to just “BE” in a place to be a part of it.
- Paris is so incredibly beautiful. You have to come here to see it’s beauty. Looking at in on TV just doesn’t do it justice.
I’ve been to EU a handful of times, always in the fall or winter, so I’ve never experienced the oppressive heat you write about. Thanks for this perspective. I love the magnificent view of Paris from the Sacre Coeure – day or night. I took each of my kids there on separate trip and remember taking the funicular down with one, and the stairs up with another. I hope you find an easier pace.
Thanks Greg for your comments! We’re in Antibes now and are finding a slower pace. The opressive heat didn’t let up until yesterday around 5pm. That was 20 days of non-stop heat. A little too much for this red head. 🙂
Sacre Coeur was beautiful. Interestingly there is a big gate around it now. When my husband proposed 11 years ago, there wasn’t the gate so I was confused when I saw it there. I asked why it’s there and sadly due to terrorist concerns. They erected it a couple of years ago.
This is a great blog !!
Thanks Scott! ???
Paris Je t’aime
Oui moi aussi mon amour ?
Wonderful to read of your time in Paris and see the photos. What an amazing interlude to your lives. Wonderful experience for Vivi~
You got on the site! Yay! It was a wonderful time. 🙂
You tease us with your Sacre Coeur want to hear a funny story line. You have to tell it now. Too curious.
You bring back so many memories. Thanks for taking me there again.
Thanks for reading and commenting! It’s a beautiful place in the world to be sure.