Paris: Day 8 – Hello, Emerald Isle!

Safe to say that after a full week in Paris, I was still anything but sick of it. In fact, if I could, I would’ve followed the path of one of the women I had met the day before and made a decision to stay for an entire year. But I had to catch a flight to Ireland.

Still, leaving the City of Love was easier said than done. I mean that literally. Carrying my two over-packed bags down from the studio I was staying in was one thing, but I quickly realized there was no way in hell that I’d be able to carry these down multiple flights of stairs and carry them onto the RER to Charles-de-Gaulle. In the end it was for the best though, due to the enlightening Uber ride I had, with the most friendly driver, some of which you can read about here.

Eventually I made it to Charles-de-Gaulle, and sadly made it through security in less than thirty minutes thus leaving myself with about three lovely hours to wait around doing nothing!

Things I Learned While Waiting in Charles-de-Gaulle for Three Hours

  1. 90% of understanding people is through facial expressions. While I can understand enough basic level French to get by in Paris, I in no way will say that I “speak French”. However, while I was lounging in an airport chair looking miserable, some woman walked over with her dog and said something quickly in French which I didn’t understand at all but took to mean, due to her face, “Is the seat next to you available?” I just nodded. She smiled and sat. Boom.
  2. Olive bread is life. If you’ve ever been to Paris or London, you may have seen a cute little chain cafe named Paul. There coffee is okay, but if you ever happen to stroll into one, order any of their sandwiches that happen to be on olive bread. I’ve now found a new love of my life.
  3. Forgetting about military time will actually screw you up. When I first arrived at the gate and told the person checking me in my flight time she looked ridiculously nervous and started ranting about how I was about to miss my flight. I was not. 24-hour military time. Learn it, and then forget it as soon as you get home to the states.
  4. The Jetson’s as well as most modern-day, futuristic movies, stole some of their designs from the crazy silver, in-every-way escalators from the Charles-de-Gaulle airport. (This one isn’t entirely true.)

Eventually I was on a flight to Ireland, excited to explore somewhere new but a bit sad to be leaving a city that I had fallen in love with. Fortunately, it didn’t take long for me to fall completely head over heels for Ireland while we prepared for descent, and were presented with this view.

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FYI, you get a cup of orange juice and the best tasting muffin of your life while flying internal Europe flights on Aerlingus.

Fast forward to me attempting to navigate Dublin Airport with my obnoxious sized bags. This is the biggest piece of advice I can you. I can’t even begin to count the amount of people I met between airports who were on longer trips than me and managed to pack everything into one large backpacker bag, while I was miserable attempting to travel from Terminal A to Terminal B where I could catch the shuttle to my hotel.

Next time I’m following the best piece of advice I received from a fellow traveler. Lay out everything you want to bring, then cut it in half. Then, try cutting it in half one more time. I am not exaggerating when I say I only wore approximately a third of all the clothing I packed.

As I was meeting my mom and sister the next morning at Dublin Airport, I was actually spending one night at a Dublin airport hotel so the ride was only about ten to fifteen minutes. After that trek I only had two things on my mind: food and a shower. When I finally made it down to the hotel restaurant, I found that I was correct; I was in fact the only person eating alone. This was made even more hilarious due to the act that everyone turned to look at me as I entered and then I was sat at a table that sat five, it being the only open table. #MakingAnEnterence #Independent

Upon realizing that everyone, including two older women were drinking alcoholic beverages, I knew that I couldn’t justify just ordering a water. Two ciders and a club soda later, I was back up in my room close to passing out.

Not much of an active day. But hey, at least there was beer.

 

Read about the rest of our Paris escapade:

Paris: Day 7 – A Little Old House with a Garden (2016)

Paris: Day 6 – “Let them eat cake!” (2016)

Paris: Day 5 – Strolling the Île de la Cité (2016)

Paris: Day 4 – How to Become a Parisian in One Hour (2016)

Paris: Day 3 –  Il a été tout a commencé avec une souris (2016)

Paris: Day 2 – I See Dead People (2016)

Paris: Day 1 – Lost in the City of Love (2016)

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Paris: Day 7 – A Little Old House with a Garden

Of all my spectacular days in Paris, and each was in it’s own way, there was no day I was looking forward to more than this one. While most think Versailles when they hear “day trip from Paris”, and of course I visited Versailles as well, it was always Giverny and Monet’s garden that really called out to me. I was beyond excited to even have scheduled in time to go, but once I realized I could take part in a bike tour to this village, I knew that was exactly the way to go.

The first part of our tour consisted of a 30-40 minute Coach bus ride to the French commune of Vernon.

The minute we arrived in Vernon, I knew I’d have to come back to France to focus on the countryside. And though we weren’t too far from Paris, technically on the borderline of Normandy and Île-de-France, the vibe was completely different than Paris.

Our tour guides divided us into two groups; one group would get their bikes first then head to the market, while the other would do the opposite. I was placed in the first. Our tour guide led us to a few storage units where we all got identical bikes, each with a different named taped on it; which he read allowed as he handed them out. My bike went by Mufasa.

After getting our bikes and walking them to the market, we were given a good amount of time to make any purchases from the market and nearby store and bakery, to bring to our picnic. Yes, this was the moment where all my French dreams came true. Hopping from stand to stand, I purchased some slices of salami from one, some slices of gruyere from another and a baguette. I also accidentally purchased a full size bottle of pear cider, while thinking I was purchasing a cup or small bottle, but when can you have too much cider? And of course, you can’t pass a bakery without stopping in to get a lemon merengue tart.

z7We placed our purchases in our baskets and began our bike ride towards Giverny, all the while passing amazing church’s and small French homes and the cutest French women who waved as we passed by. As much as I fell in love with Paris, I may have fell in love with Vernon/Giverny even more.

One of my favorite parts was when we came to open strips of bike paths and I, of course, took it upon myself to speed ahead and lead the pack. Eventually we got to the perfect picnic spot along the Seine River, where we not only had a view of the river and what looked like a castle but also that famous house built above the river that you always see when googling pictures of Giverny.

It was almost perfect. And I say almost only because I ended up popping my bottle of cider over our entire picnic blanket and half of the group. I was one of the youngest ones on the tour, but I met some amazing and inspirational people including bot not limited to: An older couple who was traveling all across France, an Australian couple who was spending a month and a half in France and Ireland, a newly divorced woman who, upon realizing she was able to take a leave from work for longer than she originally thought, decided to spend four months in France learning French, a writer who was finishing up a year living in Paris, and a woman who believed in up-and-going on adventures whenever she felt like it while also taking classes, this week being a massage class in Florence before stopping in France.

I didn’t think it was possible to want to be so many different people at one time.

After finishing, we packed up and hopped back onto our bikes and were off to the house and gardens of Claude Monet. We were given an hour and a half to explore at our leisure, and even after patiently strolling through both the gardens and his home, filled with rather slow moving lines, and stopping every three seconds to take a photograph, I still finished up with a little more than a half hour to spare.

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Conveniently, the Musée des Impressionnismes Giverny is a two minute walk from Monet’s house, and so I spent a bit of time strolling through there.

As I exited the museum, I met up with a couple of people from the tour and we grabbed some gelato nearby, before meeting back up with the group. After riding back to our orignal drop-off and packing our bikes back into the sheds, we were on the bus back to Paris.

I Uber’ed back to neighborhood and ended up spending a little time shopping and a lot of time window shopping. When I got back to my apartment, I cooked up some eggplant ravioli with green olive tomato sauce, warmed up a piece of a baguette, tossed together a basic salad and called it a night.

 

Read about the rest of our Paris escapade:

Paris: Day 7 – A Little Old House with a Garden (2016)

Paris: Day 6 – “Let them eat cake!” (2016)

Paris: Day 5 – Strolling the Île de la Cité (2016)

Paris: Day 4 – How to Become a Parisian in One Hour (2016)

Paris: Day 3 –  Il a été tout a commencé avec une souris (2016)

Paris: Day 2 – I See Dead People (2016)

Paris: Day 1 – Lost in the City of Love (2016)

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