Monday, June 5, 2017

24 hours of (mis)adventures in Paris!

Hello everyone!

After 2 very comfortable flights on Iceland Air with no problems for our violins (thank the lord!!), and a very brief stop over in Iceland (they have this thing where they let you stay in Iceland for up to 7 days on your way to Europe for no extra cost to your airfare called #mystopover! We are definitely going to have to take advantage of next time!) Zenas and I arrived in Paris incredibly sleep deprived but so ready to embark on our European adventure!!

We spent just about 24 hours in Paris coming into, and going out of, Europe on our trip, and we loved exploring Paris. However, we also did run into a few experiences that we would rather not repeat when we return... so I thought it would be fun to share all of them with you (the good and the bad) so that you can maybe avoid the bads when you visit this beautiful city!

This was my first time in Europe, and I was beyond excited.  As in, I think I was squealing every few seconds about this architecture, that alleyway, this cobblestone street, etc. non-stop.  Literally, nonstop for 2 weeks.  It's quite surprising really that Z is still with me after enduring 2 weeks of that haha  =p

but look at this! how could squealing not happen! right?   and everywhere I looked was all so beautiful!

Jet-lagged and sleep deprived, we aimlessly wandered from my friend's apartment, marveling at the beauty of this city, and stumbled upon Place de la Concorde.  We actually didn't know what this place was at the time, but we spent quite a bit of time here marveling at everything happening in this square.

and look at this sky!!

and little crepe carts everywhere.
and just when I thought this city could not get any more charming, it added bubbles.
I mean, come on!

You can bet that we spent quite a bit of time in this spot while I ooohd and ahhhd over the bubbles ;) photos and videos of the bubbles were obviously necessary.

Not too far from this place (you can just meander through the garden) is the Louvre. 

We were too sleepyto go inside and enjoy the museum, but we definitely appreciated the architecture, the scale, and the beauty of this whole area.  We spent some time people watching, taking selfies, and taking in the sights before moving on to find something for our growling tummies.

A random(?) bridge on our way to lunch/dinner.
I mean, even the most random things in Paris are so beautiful!

For our lunch/dinner (I think it was 4PM? haha) we stumbled into a random crepe shop.  I did do some research before going, but we didn't realize that most places in Paris would be closed between lunch and dinner times... so a random open crepe shop it was for our lunch/dinner!  haha

This place was actually amazing...  
Sadly, my jet-lagged brain failed to note the name of the restaurant, but in all of our travels in France, we have not had a bad crepe, so I think I'm just going to give a blanket recommendation of, 'have crepes in France!'

We ordered a savory chicken and mushroom crepe and a sweet crepe to share, and as you can see, it disappeared pretty quickly.  ;)
For the sweet crepe, the waiter said "something something (in French) try (in English)?"  obviously, the only thing we could understood was 'try', so we said 'oui!'.  Apparently, it was him asking us if we wanted some liquor on our crepes, so we ended up having a very boozy crepe for our dessert haha  
A boozy crepe happened to us again later in Annecy, so I'm beginning to think it's a common thing..? Any French readers out there, please let us know if that is the case  ;)

Now, if we can give a whole-hearted recommendation to crepes, this next restaurant that we visited for our dinner, did not make the cut.

This was a place we had researched, and so many people raved about it, so we were super excited to try it out. We stood in line (thankfully we were in the front of the line, so the wait wasn't too bad), got squished into a small table next to a whole lot of people, and eagerly awaited our steak and fries.

After an appetizer of super mustardy salad (which Z enjoyed, but I didn't care for too much), they brought out the only thing that they serve at the restaurant; steak and fries.

Maybe it's because I grew up in Nebraska eating amazing steaks for most of my childhood, but this steak and fries?  mmmmmmm.  hmmmmmmmm. not worth the price tag.  
We don't really understand the French obsession with fries, but even at a sit-down/fancier restaurants, they serve fries!  We found it to be a little odd, but if you love fries, come to France.  You'll find them everywhere.

After our slightly disappointing dinner, we resumed our aimless walks around the city.

We would highly recommend the aimless wanderings in Paris.  It's such a charming city with beautiful buildings, endless opportunities for people watching, beautiful blue skies (at least right before it started pouring on us later that day) and so many opportunities to re-enact your favorite movie scenes!

Sound of Music scene, anyone?  I don't know why this specific gate reminded me of it, but it did!

Now for some misadventures.  
At the very last subway trip that we took to go see the Eiffel Tower, we ran into a bit of difficulty while trying to enter the subway station. The turnstile would time-stamp our ticket, but would not let us through. After gesturing and using our incredibly broken French with the attendant there, she told us to just go through the door that she opened for us.  When we got to our destination, we were stopped by the police(?) who were checking the tickets.  Because we were told to go through the door the attendant opened for us, we didn't have one of our tickets stamped.  Little did we know, the fine for not having your ticket stamped would be 35 euros.  35 euros!! We tried to explain to the police what had happened, but they wouldn't hear of it, and told us that if we didn't pay then, we would have to pay 85 euros  -.- 85 euros?!  so we paid the 35 euros, but we were definitely not happy about it.  
So everyone, if you go to Paris, make sure to get your subway tickets stamped, even if the turnstile is broken and the attendant lets you go through the side door!

Another misadventure happened when we returned to Paris with our rental car at the end of the trip. Unbeknownst to us, the gas truck drivers were on strike in Paris, and there was no gas to be found in Paris.  Well, actually a few gas stations about an hour outside of the city had some gas remaining, but there were at least 2 hours of wait time at all of them  D=  ahhh.  We drove around and wasted a few hours trying to fill up our rental car, but around midnight, we gave up and ended up just having to pay the fee for refilling the car at the rental car company  -.-  ugh.  guys.  
I guess I don't really know how we could have avoided this scenario exactly, but it definitely put a damper on the very end of our time in Europe/Paris and an unplanned dent in our budget.  However, we still managed to come under our budget even with this gas fee, and it was a good lesson in rolling with the punches and still having a positive attitude at the end of a very, very long driving day  =)

Despite a few misadventures, our time in Paris was overall really wonderful, and it was a great way to bookend our trip in Europe.  Despite us not being big city people (we would much rather be out in nature being mermaids=me or hiking=Z), we really enjoyed our time in Paris seeing a few iconic places and also getting lost in smaller, but even more charming, streets. Of all of the things we did in Paris, we would highly recommend eating crepes, croissants, pastries (all so good, and so cheap!!), and getting lost in all of the charming nooks and crannies of Paris!

I'm currently in the process of editing photos from our time in Avignon, so hopefully I'll be able to write that post in the next couple of days  =)
Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful week!

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