Monday, May 20, 2013

Paris Feels the Same

Paris feels the same.

I arrived late last night with the usual small disasters; delayed plane, my driver holding a sign that read, "Mr. Erin Hallett" and a 30 euros phone call.  NEVER use your Visa to call from a pay phone in Paris even though it was worth it a thousand times to talk to Chris the moment I arrived.  And it was raining.

Trying to smile before boarding the plane without Chris to Paris.
I really wanted to lock myself in my cozy hotel (Hotel du Champ de Mars)  room and eat the remainder of the Cadbury chocolate bar I bought at Heathrow.  But I promised myself, and everyone at home, that I will be brave in Paris, that I won't be complacent so off I headed in the rain in the direction of the Eiffel Tower.  I got there in time to order a crêpe confiture from Chris' and my favourite stand and to see the 10pm "sparkle show".

Over the years, I have seen the Eiffel Tower sparkle from various points in city, including a very memorable apartment where it was so close, so vivid it seemed as though it was a piece of furniture on the balcony.  But it's been a long, long time since I have stood at the bottom for the "sparkle show".  People oohh-ed, aahh-ed and clapped their hands.  Flashbulbs went off like lightening bolts and people kissed.  I missed Chris so badly in that moment but it was also kind of magical.  Magical to witness people's reactions to a moment they have probably long dreamed, planned and saved for.  And another poignant reminder just how lucky I am and how I need to live and breathe each moment of this experience.

View from hotel room last night - 11pm "Sparkle Show"
I somehow slept 7 hours and woke up not feeling too ugly or tired and with just enough time before checking into my apartment to go for my first cafe creme in Paris.  It was so good I had two!  Coffee can be terrible in Paris and Chris and I have drank our fair share of brown, sugar water over the years.  But this was delicious - rich, dark, velvety and served with a sliver of dark chocolate.  Le Petit Cler, on rue Cler, one of my favourite streets in Paris and a mere 5 minute walk from my apartment.    I already know I will start my day there tomorrow.

The apartment check-in was an absolute dream.  Merci, CobbleStay! There may be something to the idea of having your first night in a hotel to recover and then starting fresh the next day in an apartment.  For once, I was able to understand the various instructions for appliances and ask questions.  I am actually confident I will be able to turn on the television and find the hair dryer!  The apartment was also thoughtfully stocked with ALL the basics, including fresh flowers and baguette.  French basics.

I accomplished what I wanted to do today which was walk to the massive French department store, BHV, and buy a much dreamed about hair straightener.  This now means that hopefully, even without Chris, I can have good hair in Paris.  I walked the long way to BHV feeling sorry for all of the tourists wearing plastic rain ponchos and trying to enjoy Paris in the rain.  The weather today is truly horrible and there are white caps breaking on the Seine.  I took the metro back to avoid getting soaked and stopped to shop for groceries.

30 euros worth of groceries, including wine, blue cheese, Haribo & pickles!

 A few of my favourite moments from today....

The best thing I saw today was a petite woman, no taller than 5'2", carrying a full size Golden Retriever down the escalator, from the housewares department to the main floor, at BHV.

The best thing I have eaten today- so far! - was a small piece of homemade sausage stuffed with blue cheese that I bought from a street market.  15 pieces for 5 euros!

Bisous from Paris until tomorrow.  


Anonymous said...

Great blog post! Its like I am there with you too! Enjoy the journey! :-)


Anonymous said...

Merci Erin, lovely read! Enjoy, thinking of you and am a little green with envy.xoxViv