As I step off the train in Paris, I am immediatley hit with the sights and sounds of the Paris train station. Gare du Nord is packed wall to wall with people of every ethnicity and seemingly every language. It is immediately overwhelming. How will I find my peeps? I had talked to my sister and she said they were at the main entrance. I don't even know what that means. Surely, there is no sign inside that points me to 'main entrance'. Ugh! So I ask her to tell me what she sees outside of the train station and from what perspective and we work from there. I am so happy when my eyes finally spy her, Yanna and Jackie. As we make our way through the crowded streets to our hotel, Angela tells me that her luggage was lost and she still doesn't have her suitcase.
A veiw of the Eiffel Tower from across the Seine
WHAT! Jeminy Cricket - this really has been a rough start for this girl. We continue on to the hotel and I am completely psyched to be here. The neighborhood is positively crackling with energy and it is contagious. I can't wait to drop off my luggage and hit the streets. We only have this one night in Paris! I don't think that I had ever really been in this neighborhood and while it was alive, I was anxious for them to see more than this side of town. Our hotel in Paris was...humble I will say. The room was hot and tiny, but really who cares, We didn't plan on spending much time there.
We are on our way quickly and we take the metro to Concorde. There are few sights in life more rewarding than coming up from the metro in Paris.
Sunset on the Seine
This is my third time to Paris and still it feels awe inspiring. I love this city! As does the rest of my party. The weather is perfect (litte did we know this was the last day with no rain we would experience for over 2 weeks),the sun is beginning to set and I am completely content. We set our sights on the Eiffel Tower and we just follow the Seine River towards it. Stopping sometimes to take pictures, but mainly just marveling over the beauty of this city. We finally get near the Eiffel Tower and decide to find a restaurant. We choose a great one, but I don't remember the name. It was tiny and there was only seating available inside, but it was perfect and the waiter was great (and spoke English, happily).
Yanna and Angela at the perfect little cafe.
We really dawdled over dinner having wine and dessert and a digestivo (limoncello). Right here, during this time, this was a perfect vacation. After dinner, we wander over to the Eiffel Tower and take pictures. Ayanna had been so funny when we were walking towards the tower, because she was all like..."it's not as big as everyone says" and now that we are here she is like, "This is huge". It is now after 10pm so it's pretty much closed up. There are still people around, but nowhere near how jam-packed it is during the daytime. We wander around just enjoying the atmosphere until Angela has to go to the restrooms. I remember that there are some underground ones by the tower so we walk around until we find them - CLOSED!! Ang, by now, really has to pee, so we look for a cafe to have some wine and take advantage of the facilities.
Eiffel Tower at night
Using the bathroom is really one of the biggest drawbacks of Paris (or any European city) of course Paris also has a dog shit problem, but that I can deal with. We finish up at the cafe and decide to head back to the hotel. We find the metro stop head down and discover with much dismay that we had just missed the last train. UGH! Clearly, we had not been paying any attention to the time. We debate for a long time (along with others) about taking a bus, but how will we know which bus? We could end up on the other side of town. Riding bicycles, but Angela (for some odd reason) thinks that only she could make it on the bike, the rest of us would be pulled over on the side of the road gasping for breath. Finally - we decide on a cab.
Yanna and Me
Turns out there is a cab stand down the road. Here, we steal a cab right from underneath the nose of some people waiting and we get wisked away to our hotel. In the end, it was probably the best way to get back. It was quick and we were tired from a busy day. Before falling asleep, I have time to reflect on the fact that it was just this morning that I woke up in Amsterdam. I have been in 3 different countries today - Wow, it really has been a long day!