An hour later, with only a very vague idea of where we were in the city, we dragged our bags through the streets toward (we hoped) our hotel. Turns out we were going the wrong way but we figured it out and got ourselves righted. It took a while but eventually we found our hotel aaaand our room wasn't ready. Nor would it be for some hours.
Much to the horror of the woman sitting in the lobby, we unzipped our suitcases and whipped out hair brushes and makeup compacts and tried to make ourselves feel at least sort of human. I stopped short of refreshing my deodorant and spraying in some dry shampoo in front of her but it definitely crossed my mind. I wanted to apologize and explain that we'd spent the night on a plane and this was our best option but decided she could just deal with it.
We found ourselves a Metro station (only to discover they didn't sell tickets at that one and we had to find another Metro station) and we headed to the Champs Elysee.
This was accompanied by much, "Oh my gosh, guys, we're in PARIS!!" and "AGGGHHH!"s.
We got to Champs Elysee and, you know, first things first.
We tried chocolate coconut, regular chocolate, pistachio, salted caramel (we got 2 of those and it was a good thing we did) and raspberry. Salted caramel was far and away the favorite, followed by chocolate coconut. No one particularly cared for pistachio.
We're not really a sight-seeing type family. We take beach vacations, the kind where you can show up with only a swimsuit and a bottle of sunscreen and be fine for a whole week. And maybe that's why I didn't think too much about the sights ahead of time. I was excited in a vague sort of way but was much more looking forward to the food (mostly the pastries). I was completely taken aback by how moved I felt when confronted with the Arc de Triomphe. It's so much bigger than I thought it would be. It was stunning and overwhelming and I just wanted to touch it. So I did. And then we went inside and up up up.
Little did I know that every day in Paris would involve some mind numbingly twisty, exhausting set of stairs.
|Inside the top section of the Arc|
|Her arms length photography is unparalleled. Mine is always way off to the side and out of focus.|
And then! We saw it.
I had no concept of where the Eiffel Tower was in relationship to where we were so the fact that it was RIGHT THERE totally caught me off guard. And, again with the emotions. That ended up being a common theme during this trip.
|Look Ma! We can see the Eiffel Tower!|
|I wasn't joking when I said I had a lot of pictures of me making unattractive faces. I was just REALLY excited, ok?|
|They're not related at all.|
|I gotta tell you...spiral stairs when you're jetlagged and sort of dizzy from going up and down in planes multiple times in a short period of time? Not super pleasant.|
|Feeling very small.|
After the Arc de Triomphe we set off for the Musee Marmottan, which was annoyingly not included in our museum passes (and also did not allow photography). However, we saw the most gorgeous Monet paintings. The real deals.
I did a report on Monet in the 4th grade. My mom had a print of one of his water lily paintings in our house and when you grow up looking at a beautiful painting like that every day it starts to feel personal, like your own special secret bit of beauty. When called upon to do a biographical presentation, I immediately chose Monet. I wore a beret and talked about his time at Giverny and I showed pictures of a handful of his paintings done of the gardens.
Seeing those paintings in real life was magical. I wanted to hug them (is that weird?). It was like being reunited with dear friends.
Around 4:30 we decided we desperately needed to go veg at our hotel for a bit. Jet lagged and sore, we dragged ourselves to the nearest Metro stop and finally back to our hotel. We tried to get ourselves back out the door to the Louvre (it's open late on Fridays) but all we could manage was some dinner just down the street before coming back and collapsing into bed at 7pm.
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