“To breathe Paris is to preserve one’s soul.” — Victor Hugo
And so it begins! This year’s journey abroad. France, here we come!
New York was particularly deserted this year before the 4th of July weekend. It seems like everyone got out of the City early. We literally zipped over to Newark Airport in record time, hitting no traffic whatsoever. And once at the airport, we were the only people in line for our flight. Almost unheard of!
I have to say, this year we were a bit spoiled. We were booked on a “boutique” airline, La Compagnie, that ONLY flies from New York to Paris with about 74 all business class seats. One of the added perks was waiting in the private lounge with an open bar and food bar. In no time at all, we skipped the “regular folks” security line and headed through the VIP line to the plane.
Having flown international flights several times (even with “comfort plus” seats), it can be a grueling 7 hours. Not being able to recline makes it nearly impossible to get your body comfortable enough to sleep, making the arrival and impending jet leg worse. But this plane was equipped with great electronic seats that reclined a full 175 degrees….they were like Lazy-Boy-Chairs, with a few bells and whistles. Despite this ringing endorsement, I have to admit that I still didn’t sleep all that much. Nerves still got the best of me.
With only a slight delay, we were in the air and on our way to Paris. Our flight was great, if a bit bumpy at times, but by 10:45AM we had safely landed in the beautiful City of Lights, still my favorite City.
Our Hotel, Les Tournelles, is located in Le Marais, and is housed in a 17th century building. It’s small, with only 24 rooms, but it is very elegant and the rooms are quite nice. It’s the perfect location for us, only just around the corner from one of my favorite spots in Paris, the Place des Vosges.
We dropped off our bags, and despite being really jet lagged and zombie-like, we pushed through and headed out for lunch and some much needed coffee.
We literally had 24 hours in Paris. It’s really just the jumping off place for this year’s trip…the starting point. What to do? What to see? Where to go? We really didn’t want to use the 24 hours to go to museums or wait in line for main attractions…we decided to just walk the streets and make quick visits to our favorite places. Luckily, the weather cooperated (never a guarantee in this City) and it turned out to be a beautiful day.
After the Place des Vosges, we headed to another of our favorite spots (as well as every other tourist’s) the Ile de la Cite to visit Notre Dame. I think you could come here every day and never tire of how beautiful it is. Not only is it one of the enduring symbols of Paris, but it’s just simply beautifully set on an island in the middle of the Siene.
There was definitely a presence of militia with machine guns, in light of the recent terror incidents in France (and Europe in general) but it was not alarming, and really no different than what you see in New York at Grand Central or other major tourist attractions. It’s just another fact of life in 2017.
Another tourist favorite, as well as ours, is Berthillon glacier (ice cream) which we had to visit on such a nice, warm day. They actually sell the ice cream all over at different little shops, but we like to come to the original. They have very pure, real flavors like raspberry, peach, lemon, coconut, etc. We settled on a cafe and I had the blackberry.
And to make the most of our 24 hours in Paris, we decided to give our tired bodies a little rest and we walked back to our hotel and let ourselves have a one hour power nap so that we could enjoy the rest of the evening. Paris remains light until well after 10PM….so you can really make the most of a long day. After refreshing ourselves, we stepped out into the most beautiful evening sunlight. Paris was really gleaming and showing it’s most alluring side. We lounged in the gardens of Place des Vosges before our 7PM dinner reservation at L’ange.
Dinner was a bit on the early side for Paris, but we knew that we wouldn’t make it so late into the evening. L’ange was the perfect little french bistro with great service and delicious food. Despite being the one that said I wanted to be a bit more adventurous in eating on this trip, it was Josette that ordered the chicken gizzards for an appetizer. They were really good! They reminded me a bacon…but more like duck bacon. Crispy and salty. I had a nicoise salad with a tuna mousse for an appetizer and I got duck breast with pureed parsnip for a main course…Josette got the lamb. A bottle of rosé from Provence sealed the deal.
It wasn’t a particularly heavy meal, but we were stuffed to the brim, so we strolled along the Siene and made our way to the Louvre. Along the walk, sightseeing boats glided by, and Parisians sat along the banks of the river enjoying intimate picnics with friends and possibly lovers.
It was the perfect way to end a wonderful (if not long) day in Paris. We took a taxi back to our hotel and within minutes of brushing our teeth and climbing into bed we were both out like a light!
Tomorrow morning, after breakfast, we will head to the train station and make our way to Rouen where will start our visit into Normandy!