Most of this day involved me having a complete meltdown, mainly in part to my leaving packing to the day before we left. Naturally, I was sure I had forgotten everything. And naturally, I completely over packed. As my boyfriend was traveling into JFK from Georgia pretty early, I headed to the airport a bit earlier than usual so we could both die of airport-induced boredom together. It didn’t help that despite what others may have experienced, we checked our bags in and made it through security in less than forty-five minutes.
We finally made it on our flight to Paris and let me tell you Aer Lingus really understands the need for extra leg space on long flights. A+. Even the food on Aer Lingus wasn’t a letdown. We both chose the chicken over the Shepard’s Pie and it wasn’t half bad, especially with the full spread you get: Roast chicken, rice, vegetables; a roll with butter; vegetable sticks and hummus and a trifle, which is pretty much just whipped cream, berries, and cinnamon.
But of course, something always has to go wrong. My TV didn’t work. Even after two flight attendants said they’d have mine reset, and then never came back to check if it worked, I had a grey screen. For a six-hour flight. I was expecting to sleep most of the trip anyway but it was a bit irritating and I’ve e-mailed Aer Lingus but from their lack of a response in the last four weeks, it seems I’ll have to annoy them again.
Back on the plus side, you get orange juice and a muffin when you land (well just a layover for us), which may not seem like much. But that blueberry muffin was the moistest, amazing muffin I’ve ever eaten.
We landed in Dublin for our layover at around 5-something in the morning for about an hour and a half, before hopping on our final flight to Paris. We landed in the City of Love around 9:30 AM and after picking up our bags, purchasing RER tickets and hauling
our my bags onto the train, we made it into Paris at a little around noon. Lucky for us we were staying in an apartment right near Les Halles station, which was a huge benefit for the rest of our trip. It took us about a half hour to actually locate our building despite being direction- smart New Yorkers and ended up right in the middle of the Bastille Day parade which was great.
We were greeted at our building by the two kindest French women who, through our mixture of hand gestures, were able to show us how to pile our suitcases in the very slim fit elevator before shoving my boyfriend in with them. Our apartment was on the sixth floor; and similar to most apartments, you take the elevator the fifth before having to walk up a small flight to the sixth floor. The apartment, a studio, was a very tight fit but was perfect for us two, had a good size kitchen and we weren’t planning to spend much time in it anyway. Plus we had a gorgeous view of the Parisian rooftops and a distant view of Notre Dame.
Our apartment was about a ten to fifteen-minute walk from the Louve, which was great as we were close to so much we wanted to see. We were also a five-minute walk from Les Halles station which I’d say is equivalent to the Times Square train station back home, as you can catch almost every other line there. We also had the main grocery store on our corner and across the street, Walgreens-esque type establishment and a bunch of restaurants. This place definitely gets an A+ for location.
After settling in we decided to go roam a bit and grab something to eat. Our first meal, steaks, were super underwhelming, which brought me down a bit since it was our first day. I definitely should’ve listened to our family friend who said to avoid ordering the steak or beef in France. I noticed they were fattier and just odd cuts from what we’re used to. Wandering around Paris was great because it gave us a chance to stumble upon things that we didn’t have planned into our schedule, such as the Royal Palais. Plus, I could never get enough of the Parisian architecture. Mid-day, around the Louve there is usually various snack carts and as we were still a bit hungry decided to grab a Nutella crepe and a fresh squeezed orange/Gatorade/lemonade mixture drink of deliciousness.
*Tip: Eat the street food.
We had quite a bit of time to spare and wanted our first day to be as leisurely as possible so decided to the Bateaux Mouche it was.
We took the metro a few stops to the Champs Elysee. Of course I couldn’t pass Laduree without stopping inside, where I grabbed an assortment of macarons (and a macaron ice cream from the Laduree stand outside) as well as a few assorted croissants for the next day (one that was filled with a nutty, fruity substance which was AMAZING despite us having no idea what it was.)
After my splurge at Laduree, we started walking in the direction of the Bateaux Mouche, and casually stumbled upon a view of the Eiffel Tower, which for the record, made seeing it for the first time that much more memorable. They were just boarding the next boat we reached the Bateaux Mouche and of course, simultaneously, it also started drizzling. Of course, this didn’t bother me nor the rest of the boat filled with jet-lagged tourists running on adrenaline.
I highly recommend taking a boat ride along the Seine, if ever in Paris. Not only is it calm and relaxing but you do get a really nice overview of various structures and buildings in Paris.
After our ride, the adrenaline finally subsided and we both realized how tired we actually were and continued the rest of our night by picking up something to eat and lounging around our apartment. But all in all, it was a spectacular first day in Paris.
Read about the rest of our Paris escapade:
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