Our First Day in Paris
Our first day in Paris began as any American with a limited knowledge of the French language and their public transit system can expect. We stepped out into the Charles DeGualle Airport after 16 hours of plane travel in eternal daylight, rubbing our eyes and slowly taking in the frenzy around us.
It was 6 a.m. here (around midnight back home), and after figuring out our network of connecting trains, we walked up the steps from the underground metro into the daylight.
The tell-tale architecture of rounded building edges, short sloped roofs, and dense layers of balconies was not the first thing we noticed. Instead, it was the friendly gang of unleashed dogs running out from the park, the school children being happily chased by their fathers, and the scooters that managed to dodge them all through the narrow intersections. It was just another morning here.
We found the doorbell we needed to ring, and our Airbnb host gave us our keys and a bottle of wine. You'd think that carrying a bottle of wine down the street in the early morning would warrant a few funny looks, not in Paris.
Our place for the next two weeks is at the top of six flights of curling steps, and somehow we managed the ascent. I love the feeling when you first crack open the door of a hotel room or rental. I'll share some pictures of our Airbnb soon, but let me say this place is a spatial miracle. The best part is the windows as big as doors that offered us our first real view of the city we were about to explore.
First thing on our list? Coffee. I was thinking trying to go to 100 cafes in 100 days was a little ambitious, but there are so many! We found our first official cafe two blocks away, a place called L'Autre Cafe. Our goal with the cafes is to share good spots we've found for remote workers in need of some coffee, a wifi connection, and a nice atmosphere to work in.
All of the tables were occupied by someone with a laptop. There were a few nice plush booths that looked very comfy for a morning work session — and with outlets to spare! If all it takes to sit here for an hour or two is a €4 cappuccino, I'll definitely be back. It seemed like a good sign that our first cafe had everything we'd need to actually get some work done.
But today was our first day, so instead of settling in to work we explored!
Notre Dame Cathedral. There happened to be a choir performance, which sounded unearthly reverberating off of the massive domed ceilings. According to a tour guide we overheard, Notre Dame began construction in the 1100s. 900 years old. In my hometown, Richmond, VA, buildings from the 1900s have historic plaques.
We walked across the Seine to explore l'île Saint-Louis and the city was noticeably quieter. Only a few cars meandered down the streets and little shops kept their doors propped open. Corey and I found a Boulangerie and a Fromagerie on the same block, so naturally that was lunch.
We soaked up the afternoon sun on the Seine and the effects of sleep deprivation began to settle in. We took a long nap for the entirety of the late afternoon.
It was around 5:30 pm when we finally roused ourselves and took the metro out to the 19th arrondissement for drinks, dinner, and a stroll through Parc Buttes Chaumont.
We ended our day by taking in the sunset from the trellis at the top of the park.
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