paris, part one.

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We arrived in Paris after dark, where we showed up at the wrong address for our Airbnb reservation. After trying to get in to the apartment for a good 15 minutes, we realized our mistake, and hailed a cab so that we could get to the real address before our host left. During the cab drive, we literally saw a real-life Seinfield episode unfold as we attempted to hurry through the ride/transaction. This character of a driver kept pulling over the cab insisting that one of our seat belts wasn't fastened, and telling us that we need to "Sloooooow down" when we tried to pay quickly to grab our bags and run.

Our apartment was right in the heart of the Bastille District, which was in full party mode. It was so fun to be dropped into this lively city right when everyone was out and about. 

We ate dinner at:
Angeethi- One of the best Indian meals I've ever had. We ate dinner with a live sitar player sitting cross-legged on a nearby table. And, it was right across the street from our place!

Our apartment was super chic, and after dinner we settled in with the hot chocolate our host provided, while listening to the party down on the streets below.

In the morning, we discovered that there was a bakery right across the street and loaded up on pain au chocolat and eclairs. We decided that this was going to be our major sight- seeing day. With only two days in Paris, we definitely had to prioritize- what we wanted to see, what we actually wanted to go into, and what would have to wait for another European adventure. So, we walked around the city and saw the outside of the Louvre shining in the sunlight, sat in the dim glow of the Notre Dame stained glass, and walked along the sparkling Seine River. We then split up to see a few other places, including the Eiffel Tower- where we spent far too long getting a picture that included both us and the darn tower. Although, I will say, that thing in person is pretty awe-inspiring.

By then we were exhausted and pretty hangry. We attempted to get into the Grand Mosque de Paris, because we had a recommendation for an amazing Moroccan restaurant located in the courtyard. But, prayer had just let out, and after watching a sea of men exit the courtyard for a good 20 minutes, we decided to give up and pop into the closest place we could find. 

After getting a quiche in my belly, I felt like I could actually relax and take in the city. It's true, Paris is enchanting in every way. Every single building has a historical charm that you just don't see in the states. And, there is a certain liveliness about the city. New York has that liveliness, but it's completely different. The spark in this city is softer and... well, how often am I allowed to say the word "charming" in one travelogue?

After lunch we wandered through the gardens at the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle. I just recently read, All the Light We Cannot See (which I highly recommend), and so these grounds seemed so lovely and familiar to me. One of the characters in the book is a young, blind girl whose Papa works at the museum, and so her descriptions are breathtaking and fascinating. 

We were supposed to meet the Lundquists at the city library (which ended up being a hilarious bust, but that's another story), but halfway through our quiche lunch we realized we weren't going to make it. So, we decided to tour the Palais Garnier- the Paris Opera House. You know, the one that the Phantom of the Opera is supposed to take place in?

2) Palais Garnier- This was completely worth the time and money. We didn't take the official tour, because we had missed the English tour. But, they didn't provide very much information without a tour or headset, so I regret that a bit. The outside of the building is majestic and magnificent, guarded by graceful statues playing instruments. The inside is ornate and delicious- just beautiful! The grand staircase where they sing, "Masquerade" is more amazing that you can imagine. The painted ceilings, and dripping chandeliers, and the heavy, velvet curtains in the theater- pure magic. I especially loved the displays and exhibits that housed old costumes and set sketches, and the library of books. This is definitely a must-see in Paris.

That night, we had dinner with the Lundquists and then boarded a boat to tour the city at night. It was freezing! But, it was worth it. The buildings were all lit up, and of course the Eiffel Tower at night! And, the bridges! 

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