recipe
Apr
16
2008

Paris Diary

Day One

We arrived in Paris without incident. Smooth flight. Cramped but smooth. OMG at the people. Country came to town. I miss home a little already. Husband arrived safe and sound about 7 pm after choosing a Taxi with a driver that didn’t know where Rue Du Cygne was located. But they found it finally. We rested for a bit and then went out and walked along the Seine and caught sight of the Eiffel Tower all lit up. Got a hamburger from McDonalds and went back to the room. Nope not kidding. Leave it to us hicks to go to Paris and eat a hamburger from McDonalds. But hey it was the first morsel of food we had all day so it was yummy.

Day Two

We slept later than usual so when we finally did wake up at 9 am we rushed around and headed out into the city. Here is the list of places we went today.

1. Notre Dame – AMAZING

2. Eiffel Tower – WOW, more than I expected

3. Arch de Triomphe – Maybe my favorite

4. Palais Royal – Husband’s and Hannah’s favorite

5. Palais Petite

6. At a distance Hotel Invallides

7. And everything in between.

We mastered the metro like we have lived here always. It was very easy – as long as you watch your bag for pick pockets (more on this later but just suffice it to say everything you have heard about this is true) and if you don’t mind being touched by people you don’t know. One particular trip today it was so crowded I thought seriously of throwing up so people would give me some space.

We plan on making a day trip back in to visit the Louvre. We of course saw the outside but didn’t really have time to even go through and peak at the Mona Lisa.

And yes crepes are just as delish as you have heard. We have eaten them twice today. Nutella – OH MY! And Rachel got a Sucre – Citron that was pretty darn tasty. I think purchasing a crepe pan is a must for us now.

So guess where we ate on night two. Same McDonalds but got it to go! I am not kidding. We were so tired we just said to heck with it. We just needed to just fill an empty hole in our tummies and come back to the hotel to repack all and get ready for our taxi ride to Versailles in the morning, pick up our rental car and then drive down to our house in Valencay.

It has been great but at times overwhelming. I think everyone will be glad to get to the house in Valencay and rest and prop our feet up for a while. My dogs are barking! I haven’t walked this much since…well forever.

I thought I would be most amazed by the Eiffel Tower and it was very surreal to stand under it and look up at such an amazing piece of architecture. However, the Arch de Triomphe was stunning. There will be lots of pictures later. With captions and comments.

Everyone has faired pretty well except for Hannah. She has had some anxiety but she is doing better. It was a very overwhelming couple of days with all the “exact opposite” of our real lives. I will be surprised if she ever wants to leave the US again even though she does love all things British. After our trip to London on the 21st she may mark that off her list of places to live later on in life.

I have realized that while I can endure change and do love to see all the beautiful and historic things Paris has to offer, there was a very good reason God had me born there. He knew how much I love new things and how spoiled to conveniences I would become. Ice in my drinks. COLD cokes. Acres of land to own a house built well after the 17th century. My own vehicles, WITH AN S as in plural, more than one vehicle. has to offer, I belong in the good old US of A.

By the way, when you visit Paris, if you visit Paris here is what to wear: Black knee high boots (leather of course) with straight leg pants or jeans tucked in, a huge bag of some sort, leather as well, And all the rest black attire, top and coat or sweater and for goodness sakes, tie a scarf around your neck. These suggestions are for men or women. I noticed Burberry is very popular here for scarves. But I also saw massive knitted ones. And it is certainly a tradition to wear a beret. Couldn’t tell you how many I saw…men and women.

When we were at Notre Dame, we heard so many different languages. French, English, American English, German, Russian, Italian, Spanish, Japanese and other Asian languages. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised by the beggars but I was taken back a bit. But I quickly made a mental note of what they looked like. They carried cards written in English saying how they had family in Bosnia or where ever and could we please help. After the first one approached us, and we told them no, Husband began to say NO when they approached and asked if we spoke English.

So back to the metro incident. A little girl about 10 tried to unzip my purse and it on my arm! She had it about undone when I grabbed her arm. She jerked back and said “Pardon, I need to pass.” and gestured to let her by. I told her no go right back where you came from. I locked my zipper from then on. And we began to watch for the same kind of children. They are everywhere. They get on and off the metro watching for tourists. I heard so much about this but wanted to believe it was not true.

Midnight…more later. Tomorrow is another big day.

Day Three – Quite possibly the most stressful day in my 48+ years. Seriously. Getting to Versailles and renting the car and getting to the house in Valencay was more than I could have ever imagined. Language wasn’t so much of a barrier as the ROAD signs or lack of them. Let me tell you, next time you THINK about complaining about US roads, shame on you! We have a WONDERFUL, organized road system, even with constant construction.

But, all that aside we made it to the house in Valencay. It is a lovely older (17th century old) home in a lovely little village. We adored the bakery and chocolatier and they know how to have a grocery store. WOW what a selection for such a small town. LOVELY produce. We drove around a bit and looked at the chateau and took pictures upon pictures.

Day Four – woke up to find everyone, maybe not especially but as much as anyone, husband wanting to go home. Seen it, got a hat, ate a crepe, kissed wife at Eiffel Tower but just didn’t now if he wanted to be here his whole time off. THANK GOODNESS. We were all on the same page. Hannah and I had already had a melt down the day before with all the stress of getting the car rented and travel to the house. I love my husband…its like he can read my mind. He said “Call and change your tickets to one day next week and buy me one.”

Day 5 Called Continental and its either now or never. They had 5 tickets for Tuesday but after that we would either have to keep our tickets as they are, fly some of us separately (NO WAY) or pack our bags and it the road to the airport on Monday. Spring has sprung and the traveling is about to commence! I just was thankful I called when I did.

Details on Day 5 and 6 with photos later!

Day 7 Here I sit in a hotel room in Paris. Tomorrow we fly back home to the US. We couldn’t be happier. I have enjoyed my vacation but I have also learned a lot about myself and this trip has made me let go of many ideas I thought I might like to grasp. First let me say I love America and all it is and will ever be and know now I can never live anywhere else, happily. Viva la France but GOD BLESS AMERICA! I was born here because this is where I am supposed to be. In my little green cottage at the end of the dirt road in VERY rural Louisiana. Home Sweet Home. I want to get back. Eat a steak my husband cooked. And piddle in my garden a little. Plant some zinnas and pick asparagus!

I have enjoyed my time here but no way no how do I want to stay a month! One week is plenty – maybe 10 days but no more. I will leave the longer adventures to the real adventurers! I havent sworn off traveling and the flying was a piece of cake and yeah, as far as I know, I am going to England in October. But for 5 days only!

Rachel will be working on photo albums to post. I am really suffering from jet lag this morning so I will write more later. But my final words for you today are: There are places I have been to, places I long to go, but at the end of the day there is no place like home.

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Connie

Susi,
I am so glad you are all home, safe and sound. I’m glad all of you got to see wonderful things and places, but I can so understand wanting to come home. You and your family did get to do something that most of us won’t ever do and I’m happy that you did get to see the Eiffel Tower and other breathtaking sites—-but one week would definitely be enough for me. Thanks for sharing with us. Please tell Hannah I am looking forward to having her back at work. I know all of you are going to need some time to rest first. Again, it’s good to have you all home. Talk to you later.

Maria Arndt

I so enjoy your blog.
I found you from a link on my sister -in -law’s blog.
(virtual-farmgirl.blogspot.com)
I have been checking in for a couple of months now and watched closely as you prepared for your trip. (You even convinced me to purchase a pair of those “awful looking I swore I’d never wear” Crocs. for an upcoming trip to Disney) :)
I have missed your posts while you were gone.
Welcome back!
I traveled in Germany in 2000 with my mother, my husband and my three daughters (then ages 2,5,8).
I can relate to the travel issues of warm beverages, no ice, and streets with no signs and not much room for two cars!
I did miss electricity also! USA is truely a land with excess and you have no idea until you leave how much we have and use! What a perspective.

I am glad you got some sights under your belt before you returned! No wonder a lot of people go to Europe on tours. It is an awful lot of stress.
I was the only one who even “spoke” some German so that was a lot of pressure for me. I knew about enough to get us in trouble. :)
Welcome Home Friend! Welcome Home!

Hello? Is this a joke I just don’t get?
I certainly wouldn’t consider France a third world country and Maria, there is plenty of electricity in Germany, it comes out of each plug socket.

Glad to hear you enjoyed the sights and at least some of your trip and sorry to hear it was so stressful. Hopefully you’ll enjoy your short trip to London, later in the year.

Maria

Oh, good grief!
I, of course, used electricity in Germany.
My point was that here in the USA we have MAJOR wattage at our disposal.
When we went to Germany, I had a very small motor hair dryer with special adapters for Germany and it blew the first day.
I also know that we are wasteful of electricity, fuel, water and all sorts of energy here in the States.
The contrast is so clear when you live in the little German villages. They conserve on all fronts and it is a natural part of their lives. You do miss the power though and mostly you notice the difference.
My month stay in Germany was the best trip I have ever taken! I would not trade a minute of it.
“Roughing it” in Germany was worth it and I would do it all again if I had the chance! Hot drinks, wet hair , and all. :)

I think you misunderstood me. My husband doesnt work in France, he works in Tunisa.

And yeah, I am spoiled.

Michelle

Susan……….. you are so spoiled– wink wink. I for one love ya and am glad that you are back. Our little town is much different than even some places in the USA. There is nothing wrong with homesickness and liking where you live. Be good and get some rest….

Sorry for the misunderstanding. I thought that you couldn’t really be referring to France. As I said glad you generally had a good trip.

I had more than a good trip. We thoroughly enjoyed the majority of it. It was too big an undertaking for us for a first trip abroad. Lessons learned. And for such homebodies it was even harder.

The more rest we have and the more we talk out what we think should have been planned differently the more we are able to see all the bright spots in the trip.

But we all agree 7-10 days is the most we should plan to be gone from home for recreation.

Michelle, you and I both know what hotel snobs we are. And frankly, that isnt something I plan on trying to change! You know what? Our families need to plan a trip together down to Galveston for a weekend (only in the middle of the week maybe) when the men are home and let the girls take a few 1000 pictures!

Oh my gosh! You came home early!! I’m so glad you got to go, though. There is nothing better at making you appreciate the comfort and familiarity of your own home than going away for a while.
Glad you saw the sights!

Michelle

That sounds fun! They would have a ball taking photo’s and the little ones would love the sandcastle thing I am sure…. I know my oldest ( husband) enjoys a good sandcastle too. We are going next month for 2 days maybe, but you know September is a good time to go too.
So, did you have fun doing American things? ha ha

Exactly what we were thinking. Husband said yesterday we all need to plan on going after public school starts back in the fall. So lets mark our calendars!

Lynne

I love finally seeing an American telling the truth of what Europe (especially Paris) is really like. So many Americans think that Europe is more romantic and somehow better than the states. They are so wrong! I live in Italy and can’t wait to get back to the good old US of A!

Michelle

All I can say is great minds think alike! ha ha
Shannon comes home in an hour……… ready for him to build the duck pen tomorrow. They are cute but they are little nasties.

Ah…..its the crepes…..they linger long after you have left…..thanks for sharing your Paris Diary I linked it in my blog on my Paris rant :)