Last night I arrived!  I believe City of Light refers more to the fact that Paris was considered a city of enlightened people rather than a beautifully-illuminated town.  Took the Eurostar from St. Pancras train station just down from my dorm room in London.  The journey wasn't what I thought it would be.  Firstly, it's mostly overground whereas I was expecting more underground travel since people refer to it as the chunnel to Paris.  And secondly, we got there so fast!  I barely had time for a cat nap and a read and I was there.

Got out at Gare du Nord and found my travel buddy Callie, who had missed our train and had to catch a later one.  We got a cab to our place on Boulevard de la Villette - a very old building.  Had to climb 5 flights of winding stairs to get to the apartment.  Our host and hostess were Arnaud and his neighbor Colette - very sweet lady who even helped me carry my suitcase up those stairs.  She reminded me a lot of my friend Isabelle's mother.  We found the place through a site called Airbnb, where people put rooms in their houses/apartments up for rent.  It's usually less expensive than a hotel, but not always.  And it can give you the advantage of getting to know a local who's familiar with the area.  Unfortunately Arnaud was away at a film fest (he's an actor), so Colette got us settled in.

For this post I had to choose between the loveliest photos and the photos that best capture some of the spirit of Paris, so I opted with the less lovely.  :)  Since it is my goal to try to capture the spirit.  The view from our window is so old Paris, I think.  And I feel like the Metro is the heartbeat of this city, much like our NYC subway, so I wanted to include a picture of that.  It stops right across the street from us - very convenient.  Also very easy to get around on, but it has a lot more routes, I think, so a bit confusing to figure out how to get places at times.  Still, we managed to get out last night and find the Eiffel Tower.  We had dinner in a cafe and then walked down the Champs-de-Mars toward the Eiffel.  All lit up and beautiful.  The shot I include here was taken just before dinner, so it's not yet lit up, but I love this shot, as the sun was just beginning to fade.

Today I'm not sure where my adventures will take me.  I have a few places in mind, but we'll see where my feet wander.  You'll just have to tune in tomorrow to find out!  hee hee

07/18/2013 6:32am

I'm so happy to hear that your Airbnb experience was positive!! Your lodging sounds fabulous! My fave Paris spots are Notre Dame, the Left Bank, and Montmartre (home to so many famous artists and writers--and the Moulin Rouge). Have you hit any of those? If I ever go back, I think I'd want to see the Gare Montparnasse (station), where the film "Hugo" took place. Can't wait to hear what you discover in Paris--and hear your impression of the French people!

07/18/2013 8:33am

Well, actually I'll tell you about my Airbnb experience when I see you. Suffice to say I'm sitting in a Holiday Inn as I type this. :) I saw Notre Dame, but didn't get to go in. Might do on Saturday before I leave. Callie saw the Moulin Rouge, showed me a pic. I'll try to see Montmartre. We're going to Versailles tomorrow! And so far the Parisians have been very friendly and helpful. Only 1 or 2 rude people. Some have even gone out of their way to be helpful. My friend Isabelle warned me that they would be rude, but so far not the case. Maybe someone had a word with them. :)

07/18/2013 11:11am

Oh, sorry to hear things went sour with Airbnb! Hope you have time to voice your comments on their website. But other than THAT, it sounds like Paris is treating you very well! Can't wait to hear more of your adventure and am loving the pics!!


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