Our plane landed in Paris at about 5:30 a.m. Once we were through the passport checkpoint, I busied myself by taking pictures of airport chairs while Ish waited in line at an ATM, hoping that the dollar had possibly maybe become worth something overnight.
We then took a cab to our hotel. Our driver did not speak English, so I was incredibly relieved when Ish was able to direct him to our hotel in French.
I started taking French classes when I was in the 4th grade, and continued them through my first year of college. That's ten years. TEN.
Ish, on the other hand, took one year of French sometime in high school, and perused a few books before our trip.
The result? Right. Ish did all the ordering and direction-giving, and I said "oui," "non," and "noir" a LOT.
Here is what I can tell you about Paris on a Sunday morning in November before 7 a.m.: it is not only quiet, it is also still dark.
Naturally, our hotel room was not ready at 7 a.m., so we left our luggage with the front desk and went wandering around the Champs Elysees. First stop? The Arc! (Which I kept referring to as "The L'Arc," because I thought it was very funny to call it, essentially, "THE The Arc." Hoo boy. That IS a real knee-slapper, huh?)
Pictured: The L'Arc
Ish: Okay, now you stand in front of it.
Me: I don't want to stand in front of it.
Ish: How will they know you were really here?
Me: They aren't going to think someone ELSE took all these stupid pictures.
Ish: Just one of you, come on.
Me: I haven't even changed yet. And my face is chubby and I have a million hours of plane on me and my hair...
Ish: JUST STAND STILL.
Pictured: La Chubette, giddy as a schoolgirl.
We continued to wander around and stare at lots of unopened cafes and shops.
I can't say I was terribly surprised that there was a McDonald's, but I had never stopped to consider how the tagline "I'm Lovin' It" would translate in French. You know, for people who generally serve better food to their pets.
Pictured: I'm lovin' it = C'est tous ce que j'aime = It's all that I love. How creepily romantic.
Eventually day started to break, and people started to stir. We headed back toward the direction of our hotel in hopes of finding an open cafe.
Pictured: The L'Arc in near-daylight.
Pictured: The L'Arc in daylight, as viewed by a bald man.
We did, in fact, find several open cafes, and this was great. San Francisco cafes tend to open late (like 10 a.m.), and this is something I have never understood. But in Paris, not only could I have coffee and croissants (and bread and jam and butter, oh my) at 8, I discovered the most wonderful breakfast treat in the world: vin chaud.
For those of you NOT as fluent in French as I (what with my TEN years and all), that translates to "hot wine."
Pictured: Hot wine. Figures that my "good" photo would be of booze.
It was quite good.
However, after the flight and breakfast and a glass of hot wine, I discovered I was too tired to stand. We headed back, again, to the hotel in hopes that our room would be ready before long.
On our way, Ish pointed out that enough dark and fog had burned off so that you could see just past The L'Arc.
Pictured: What's that in the background??
Pictured: It is! It's the Eiffel Tower!
Truth be told, I was deliriously happy to see it, but also just delirious. We desperately needed to nap.
Luckily, our room was ready not long after we got back. And it was fantastic! (Thanks, UpTake!!)
Here is some of what the room looked like, from a not-very-good angle:
Pictured: A hotel room.
The windows opened as doors out to a small balcony, which was amazing:
Pictured: Room view #1
Pictured: Room view #2
Even with the lovely views, however, it took about 4 seconds before we both passed out.
When we re-emerged, it was late afternoon. We felt refreshed and ready to take in the city. First stop: taking the Paris metro.
Pictured: Uh, sign of the metro.
While we were on the metro, and I was sitting, completely overwhelmed with how wonderful and cool and romantic and European everything was, a guy got on the train somewhere behind us. He started playing his guitar and singing, and it was immediately obvious that he was an American (or at least had been at one point). And he decided to play 'Til There Was You.
Now, as couples tend to do, Ish and I have organically developed a list of songs we consider "ours." It's not a very long list (uh, and for reasons inexplicable, Don't Phunk With My Heart is one of them). But Til There Was You was one of the first songs Ish ever off-handedly sung to me, and so you might well imagine that when we were suddenly hearing it, live, on the Paris metro, I couldn't help but cry just a little.
Pretty great stuff.
We got to our stop, and so walked around some more.
I couldn't have told you where we were at any point, because I wasn't paying attention to the big stuff. I just loved every little thing. The sidewalks, the trees, the people, the accents, the dozens of street vendors selling light-up Eiffel Towers they referred to as, bleeng bleeng.
But I can tell you that I was just wandering along in my own world when Ish stopped walking and just looked at me.
Ish: Uh, look.
And all of a sudden, there it was.
Pictured: Like you don't know.
And um, there I was, too. In the same place! I even stood in front of it without protest.
And then it got all super sparkly!!!
So we got closer, on the idea that we were going to go up in it. But by the time we got to the base, I decided I'd had enough terror for the day (since the only thing I'm more afraid of than flying is heights), and the lines were long, and while I'm sure the view is great from it, the view of it was perfectly marvelous.
Instead, we decided to take a tour of Paris from la Seine! Ooh, la la!
It was the perfect thing to do on our first night: Get a feel for the layout of the city, see some of the historic sites from a cool perspective, you know. I did also think it would be a terrific opportunity to take some photos.
From a moving object in the dark.
Thus we have these four gems:
Pictured: Scalp of German female tourist. Also, something very historic in the background.
Pictured: Scalp of German male tourist. Also, opposite perspective of something very historic in the background.
Pictured: Definitely historic building and wall and trees.
Pictured: My favorite photo of all. Of a dark historic building. Or possibly a boat. Or maybe a wall. Plus with more scalp.
So After our picturesque tour, we strolled along and found a cafe for our first glass of French (non-chaud) wine.
Here, Ish makes his best "French" face.
Pictured: Ish thinking his wine is better than your wine.
Next to him on the cafe wall was a poster, and I found the phrase "provided in following web" tres charmant!
It was fun in the cafe. I loved that people were eating and drinking coffee and wine and some were lovers and some were friends and one woman behind us was just studying. Even in SF there are very few places that have the all-in-one feel of a cafe/restaurant/lounge where you could have a meal or not, linger or not, smoke or not, and drink coffee or wine or Perrier. It felt great.
We had dinner nearby, and then made our way back to our hotel.
And there in our room, with the windows open and Ella in the background, we danced.