Saturday, May 15, 2010

Paris: Day 4 - BONJOUR!

Day 4 started early and again with little sleep. An early train ride to Paris awaited us, after we again fought human congestion in the tubes due to delays from the same non-functioning Piccadilly line from the previous day. Not only did we fight full trains, but we had luggage to pull along, walk up endless flights of stairs, and maneuver around crowded tube stations. 

As we arrived at King's Cross/St. Pancras station to depart on Eurorail, we had to say goodbye to my best friend Gemma. The short 3 days I had with her were wonderful. She was a true trooper, dealing with crazy American's who wanted to see everything, trying new food out (so proud of you girl!), and our brutal mispronunciation of English words. It's Gloucester!

Miss ya Gems!!

Our short ride to Paris on the Eurorail was spent catching up on sleep for both of us. We arrived at Gard du Nord Station around 1 pm and then the craziness ensued. We were thrust into the busiest station in Paris and then we had to find the right metro to get us close to our hotel. We tried to avoid having to grace our shotty French by buying a carnet (10 tickets) from the machine, but after being told in French how we can't place Euro's in the credit card slot, we had to give up and go to window. "Bonjour, un carnet s'il vous plaît." This was followed by no response as she texted someone. When she finished her conversation, she got us the tickets so we could proceed on with our journey. I'm not saying anything further, as honestly this has been the only unfriendly Parisian we've met so far. We figured out if you just look for the color of the rail line or the number, you can navigate much easier than trying to read the station names. Plus we realized that how we would say the name, sounds nothing like the announcer on the train saying it. 

We arrived at Luxembourg Station and climbed another endless flight of stairs up to the streets of Paris. We had about 5 blocks to walk to our hotel, and it wasn't that hard to find. We turned right on rue de Vaugirard and it honestly looked like a typical Paris street. And there nestled into the buildings was our much anticipated hotel, Foutaines du Luxembourg. 

We greeted the gentleman at the desk, told him our names, and he handed the key straight to us. The only reminder he gave us was to return our key before we leave the hotel each day. We went up the smallest elevator I've ever been in, which basically holds one person plus a bag. 

Horrible picture, and I'll have to retake!

From the elevator, you pass through a door that leads to the hallway to our room, number 203. 

One amazing thing about this small boutique hotel, is that every room is unique. It previously was used to accommodate the grooms of King Louis XIV, but after recent renovations, it's become a beautiful hotel, which kept several original pieces. 

The rooms is a bit tight, by US standards, but still roomy enough to serve its purpose. The bathroom is nice, but my only complaint is the lack of a shower. Sure, it has a shower head that you can place up on the wall, but alas there is NO shower curtain. If I wanted to walk around in shower water on the floor after I finished I could get a shower in, but I'll survive with a sitting shower or a bath. Heated towel racks and nice robes are definitely a plus in my book. From our window, which when it is open brings in the true sounds of Paris, has a nice feel of living in Paris. A small grocery store with daily deliveries of fresh fruits sit across from us. 

And the beautiful steps we walk up (instead of taking the claustrophobic elevator). 

And the charming courtyard that the rooms surround. 

We immediately fell asleep in the comfy bed for about 2 hours then headed out on the streets of Paris. We walked down to the Rue Cler which hosts many small food shops and markets. We strolled around the area, and found a restaurant/cafe to eat at. Honestly, after we ate, I wanted to run back to the US. The language barrier is very intimidating. I'm afraid to try French since I know I'm butchering their language, and yet I'm afraid to fall back on "Parlez-vous anglais?" in order to avoid offending them. We couldn't read the menu and finally the waiter brought one in English. We still felt horrible saying words in English, but we tried and made sure to say "Merci" often. How are we going to survive another week here?

We followed this by hopping on the metro for the ride home and got off at St. Michael. From here we found the main area of St Germain and explored it. It has many small restaurants of all ethnicities and many crepe shops. Who can resist the light pancake with a slathering of Nutella? We certainly couldn't!

And add a little coconut.....delish!

And since I've already been asked by a few people on facebook, that is my sapphire ring from my father on my left hand. It's moved there often when either my right hand swells or I'm thinking of my father. 

And a quick sneak peak for tomorrows adventures. 

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