The Honeymoon: Beerman, Blinky, and Me.
I have wanted to go to France for basically my entire life. I like French food, French films, French music, French wine. Et cetera. So when TG and I started talking honeymoon (which may have even been before we started talking marriage, actually), you can guess where I wanted to go.
TG wasn't so sure. He had been to Paris briefly once before, right after the 9-11 attacks, and the mood wasn't particularly great. And he did live for a while in the UK, which seems to breed a contempt for the French in a lot of people.
I didn't whine or wheedle, I swear. But TG couldn't come up with anyplace better, and when we came up with the idea of driving out into the country, he started to get excited about the idea.
So off we went!
I hadn't actually flown anywhere in a longish time. Not since Daniel and I went to Vancouver, actually. So just getting on an aeroplane was exciting for me. TG found my giddiness tres amusant. Our flight left Thursday night and arrived Friday morning. I thought we'd sleep on the plane, but I didn't begin to drift or until we were almost there. TG did a much better job of nodding off.
We had done our research before leaving home, and concluded that we could find better deals on everything if we could just wing it. Our good friends Heather & Ian had gone to Paris for their honeymoon the previous September. Their advice: take the Metro to Oberkampf station, and you will find everything you need.
We have such smart friends!
We took the train into town from the airport, using our 3-day "Paris Visite" Metro passes. I was blown away the moment we left the Metro station - April in Paris! Chestnuts in blossom! Blue skies, weather ten degrees warmer than what we'd left behind in Toronto, Gorgeous old buildings, sidewalk cafes! "Wow," I said to TG, "Toronto is going to be unbearably ugly when we get back."
Better still, we didn't have to look far for a hotel - just standing on the corner, we could see four hotels down one street, and three down another. We checked out a couple - one full, one too pricy, one had two single beds instead of a queen - and finally settled in the Hotel de Vienne - a lot of stairs to our tiny room, but it was cheap (41 euros) and clean, with a pretty view (of course there was a view - we had to climb a million tiny stairs to get to it!).
The first thing we did was have a little nap.
Then a quick trip to the supermarket down the block for snacks and wine (so much cheaper there than here!), and off to the Louvre. Fridays have reduced admission, so we wanted to get there right at the start. We could have spent days there, though - it just goes on and on.
Being jetlagged, we cleverly left our cameras at the hotel. Sacre bleu! No matter. We hopped onto the Metro again and headed in the direction of the Eiffel tower, stopping at a bistro on the other side of the Seine for a bite and a sip of wine. The Metro is awesome, because you can go anywhere in the entire city and only ever have to transfer once. It is extremely cleverly laid out.
The Eiffel tower is one of those things that you expect to be a bit of a let down. We've all seen a hundred pictures of it, you don't go there expecting to be surprised. It's a cliche, but it's one of those cliches you can't miss.
But somehow, when you're there, it's just so much more beautiful than you'd expect. Huge and glowing in the sky, overpowering in its mix of industrial strength and romantic optimism.
We ate some cotton candy at the wee amusement park across the way, just soaking up the atmosphere, when suddenly it occurred to us: when does the Metro stop running?
Somehow it hadn't occurred to me that it would. It didn't seem right that the City of Light would not have a 24-hour subway system. We ran to the nearest station, and the attendant told us there was one train left, so we headed to the platform. It would take us nearish to our neighbourhood, but not right there. But somehow walking home in the middle of the night doesn't seem so bad when you're in one of the world's great cities.
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