Meeting The Old Lady of Paris

Since our room wasn’t ready when we got to Paris, our plan to take showers and change clothes and then set out exploring was kaput.  So instead we just headed out in our clothes that we had slept in on the plane with just a quick stop at the hotel restroom to brush our teeth and hair.  We probably weren’t the best example of Americans for the French to see, but we were determined to start enjoying our time in Paris!
Our hotel, Le Parc Tracadero, was was maybe two blocks from the Tracadero and just across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower.  So our first order of business was to meet “The Old Lady of Paris” herself.  The view as we rounded the Tracadero was pretty spectacular with blue skies and warm temperatures.

The tower was very crowded so after walking under her we walked down the Champ de Mars and enjoyed some of the beautiful scenery.  Even though Paris was a few weeks behind us on the spring weather and their trees weren’t fully green yet, the flowers were breathtaking throughout the city!

We headed towards our first desired destination, the pedestrian walking street of rue Cler.  As we walked through the neighborhoods we got excited to catch glimpses of the Eiffel Tower through the buildings.  I’m sure you could tell that we were tourists but we really didn’t care!

As we got to rue Cler we decided to enjoy walking down it before looking for somewhere for lunch.  I was also pretty overwhelmed with all of the exclusive French menus that we saw on the way and was hoping to find somewhere that had an English and French menu to try for our first meal in town.

Rue Cler was full of unique shops including multiple fishmongers (the smell!), cheese specialists, green grocers, butchers, and (my favorite!) florists.  This was the first floral shop that we got up close to and I was in love.  If only we could have these on every street corner in Alabama and I would be one happy girl with a house full of fresh flowers and probably no money left to buy food….I guess it’s good that we don’t have them in Alabama!

As we walked down rue Cler we got increasingly hungry and so we set out to eat our first meal in Paris.  We ended up at a nice restaurant, Bistro St-Dominique, with velvet banquettes and a menu that was in French with an English translation below each dish.  (We found the English translation under menu items more often than not in Paris which was incredibly nice.)  I enjoyed a delicious pasta and Jason had his first “head-on” fish in Paris.  I tried hard throughout the meal not to look at it!

After lunch we meandered through the streets and ended up walking up the Champs Elysees and seeing the Arc de Triomphe.   It was pretty (and much larger than I expected), but the Champs was really busy for my liking.

We headed back to the hotel and were finally able to check in.  Our room was very nice and quite spacious based on the other things that I had heard about Parisian hotel rooms.  And if you tipped your head as you looked out of our round, mansard window you could make out the Eiffel Tower! Magnifique!

We let our concierge suggest a casual bistro for dinner and ended up at La Petit Retro.  We were starving and made reservations for 7pm and found out once we arrived that we would be the only ones eating for at least an hour!  Needless to say, we adjusted our eating schedule for the rest of our trip so we wouldn’t stick out quite so much!  We had (in my opinion) the best wine of the trip at this restaurant and I want to find some more so I can see if I just enjoyed it because we were in Paris or if it was really that good.

We had an early night that night since we had only gotten a few restless hours of sleep on the plane the night before.  We actually ended up sleeping over 12 hours so I guess we really were exhausted!  We were ready to start more “scheduled” site seeing on Friday after a good night of sleep!

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