Our First Morning in Paris
We slept in quite late – jet lag and the winter chill of Paris making me resistant to face the day despite the joys outside our Airbnb. Matt was insistent we get up, blowing raspberries and stealing the blankets until I got up in a fit of giggles.
After a hot shower, we went out in search of coffee (our host only had a disposable pod coffee machine – shocking!). On the way, we stopped in a little cheese shop (Fromagerie de Grenelle) where I picked out a cheese that looked like a fillet of cod (Bouyguette) and a cheese shaped like a heart (Neufchâtel). Matt got his favourite: Comte!
We went to Michel Arnoux, a little bakery at the end of our street for cafe allongé (americano) and a croissant. Despite its humble vibe, it had vaulted ceilings, big glass windows and marble flooring. Out of the back of the bakery came a woman in a purple fur vest – I’ve never seen a baker in furs before! Paris is full of surprises.
For Matt’s second cup of coffee, he ordered what looked like a Timbit. I laughed that he was getting a Timbit at a Parisian bakery – but when he bit into it, it had an apricot filling and was much denser than a Timbit. I stole a little bite… for science!
Afternoon in Paris
Matt set about planning our our itinerary in the kitchen while I worked on my first blog post on Paris in the living room. When I came out for some baguette, smoked salmon, and wine, he had a huge map of Paris spread out on the kitchen table. Matt was excitedly plotting out our day’s activities. Today, we were going for another walk!
We bundled up and set out, baguette in hand for snacking. We passed by the Eiffel Tower and walked up to the Palais de Tokyo, a contemporary art gallery I’d read about online. Unfortunately it was closed for renovations until February. We then made our way to Arc de Triomphe which was crowded with people taking pictures. Apparently this is where the big New Years Eve party is in Paris . There was a light show and concert stage all set up with booming music.
We walked down Champs Élysées, which is like the Yonge/Dundas (Toronto) of Paris, just 200x longer and more grand. It was all in a sparkle of lights and crowded. We got trapped in the longest Christmas market there too – it was extremely uncomfortable with all the people and no escape for blocks!
We walked down to Place de la Concorde where there was a Ferris wheel, Egyptian obelisque, an ornate fountain, and food vendors.
We were hungry, so got souvlaki on a baguette from a street vendor. I felt a bit robbed as it was 5€ a piece. We got a beer to share and walked down down the street (drinking in public is socially acceptable here!), admiring the city lights.
We passed the Paris opera house and went in search of a public washroom. Google Maps failed us, so we went to Starbucks instead. The Starbucks was unlike any we’d seen before! It looked like a 18th century ballroom with chandeliers, mirrors, and ornate woodwork.
We were getting cold, so we headed home, stopping in a grocery store where we picked up odds and ends for tomorrow.
NYE in Paris
After warming up at our flat, we set out to the Eiffel Tower. We packed a blanket, cheese, and champagne – but stopped for some mulled wine along the way. It was being sold on the sidewalk outside a small bistro by a very jolly server. It was much better than the mulled wine we had at the Christmas market yesterday – even had slices of lemon floating around in our cup!
We found a nice spot on the grass below the Eiffel Tower and had our picnic. There was no countdown and I found myself with a mouthful of baguette when the clock struck midnight! 2017 snuck up on me!
At midnight, the Eiffel Tower did its hourly sparkle light show. Some surrounding homes set off fireworks. There was popping of champagne bottles and some people started singing. It was all very civilized.
After we had a our fill of cheese, we walked down the Champ Des Mars with a bottle of champagne, making our way home through the winding streets. There were empty bottles of champagne on the sidewalk, women in furs and high heels smoking outside of bistros, and street sellers hawking their wares.
Back at the flat, we sat at the kitchen table to finish our champagne, eating the creme caramel we’d bought at the grocery store earlier. Matt put on a countdown to NYE around the world and we watched footage of NYE in Times Square, reminiscing on our trip there the year before.
I got a good giggle out of the thin walls, enjoying the music at the French party next door. Loud neighbours are so much more palatable when you can’t understand a word they’re saying – and when you’re in Paris! We went to bed around 2:30, listening to the neighbours sing off key to French pop songs.
Goodbye 2016 – hello 2017!