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Paris Travel Blog

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The cafe across the street from our hotel.

Maybe it was the long day of torrential rain in Delaware, leading up to our departure, which set the mood.  Or it could have been the delayed flight out of Philadelphia, the lousy airline food (even though we were in First Class), the disinterested flight attendants or the lack of sleep which contributed to our surly demeanor.  It could even have been the manoeuvering of too many heavy bags into and out of the transport vehicle, for the more than hour long transit through Parisian rush hour traffic, which aggravated out frayed nerves.  Needless to say, I personally, was not in the proper temperment to greet our first day in the City of Light.

I sat in the van, gazing out on dilapidated tower blocks as we edged our way into the city, reminded of the rundown areas outside of Birmingham, England, not far from where Mark and I once lived.

A room with a view.....of Paris.
  I hadn't seen Paris, except for the airports, in thirty-six years and I was quite disappointed with the images in front of me.  Where was the indescribable, magical beauty of the city which was the inspiration of so many songs and countless novels?  I know I was rather young during my previous visit but I definitely didn't remember any of this!  How could so many people be wrong in their perceptions?

My head pounded and my eyes ached as we crawled into our hotel bed for a quick nap, hoping to counter the jetlag we were feeling upon finally allowing ourselves to relax.  We had found the "Hotel Concord Lafayette" on the Travelzoo website and had gotten a pretty good deal for a 4 star hotel....upgrade to a Superior room, 2 free "welcome" cocktails at the  "Bar Panoramique" on the 33rd floor, overlooking the city and free buffet breakfast each morning.

The Arch de Triomphe in the Place de l'Etoile.
....all for $139.00, including tax.  Granted, the room wasn't very big, even with the upgrade but it was well appointed, in a very modern surrounding,  with the only negative aspect being the lack of a teapot for boiling water for our afternoon refreshment.

We left the hotel, on foot, in the late afternoon, determined to familiarize ourselves with the area, scout out potential restaurants and stock up on provisions at a local grocery store.  We walked a maze of sometimes narrow streets through the bustling neighborhoods, until we came upon  The Arch de Triomphe in the Place de l'Etoile, located at the center of the city's major thoroughfare, The Champs Elysees.  I was momentarily taken back in time, to 1973, where I had stood in the same location, taking pictures of the flag lined boulevard.

The flag lined Champs Elysees in 2009.
  It looked much the same, as far as I could remember, except that the trees lining the street were much bigger and the style of vehicles had changed drastically.

The overcast sky threatened rain as the wind picked up, dropping the temperature in unison with the setting sun.  Finally, we discovered a tiny, local grocery enroute. We elbowed our way through crowded, narrow aisles, selecting the staples of our usual French meal......bread, cheese, salad and drinks.  We promised ourselves that this would not be a trend and that we would supplement our diet with a delicious hot meal tomorrow.

Parisian mothers pushing their children in buggies hurried home for their late (by American standards) evening meals. Their businessmen  partners locked up shop at the hour of 8:00pm and hurried home to join them.

A picture of the same flag lined Champs Elysees, taken in 1973.
  Mark and I spread our selection of French delicacies across the desk in our hotel room while we washed everything down with glasses of water in lieu of a nice French wine.  There will be plenty of time for that, once we reach Lannion, where our case of Rouge-Bleu wine awaits us!

emmllerg says:
Enjoy your next vacation to Paris
Posted on: Jun 02, 2013
Petra2111 says:
What a great view you had from your room!Sounds like a great hotel! A little consolation for the size of the room: There are no big rooms in Paris!! But that's the charme of it! Cosy and romantic haha
Posted on: Jun 01, 2009
Lord_Mike says:
Fantastique! Congrats on your feature today!!!
Posted on: May 23, 2009
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The cafe across the street from ou…
The cafe across the street from o…
A room with a view.....of Paris.
A room with a view.....of Paris.
The Arch de Triomphe in the Place …
The Arch de Triomphe in the Place…
The flag lined Champs Elysees in 2…
The flag lined Champs Elysees in …
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A picture of the same flag lined …
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photo by: Sweetski