We arrived safely in Paris today. Our flight to London was uneventful and even arrived a bit early giviving us plenty of time to make our connection to Paris. D also got to enjoy his first British pint. We both slept on the flight to Paris as in the beverage cart arrived and we couldn’t remember taking off – only a 45 minute flight, which also meant we were heading into for our landing before we were fully aware that we were up.
When we arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport, I was reminded of mu first visit to the modern architectural marvel of an airport when I met Grandma Margie in Paris 11 years ago. It is still equally as impressive. Once we grabbed our luggage, D decided the adventure of the RER sounded more appealing than a taxi. What an easy way to get into the city!
We got off at the Saint Michel – Notre Dames station and found our way to the sortie. I saw the warning that said “luggage first” on the exit gates alas D did not. We enjoyed our first good chuckle as D stood with one leg thru the gate and the larger piece of luggage on the wrong side of the gate until the friendly couple that had traveled with us from London rescued the bag (and D’s leg). Then D helped the, by holding the gates for both of them to make it thru.
Upon exiting the RER station, we were greeted by rush hour traffic and the grogeous Notre Dames. We opted to walk to our hotel, which was a few blocks longer than expected due to a walk in the opposite (wrong) direction from Rue Saint Germain – I had a bit of trouble acclimating my sense of direction, but quickly found it! The Hotel de la Sorbonne is charming and quaint, on a little side street – Rue Victor Cousin – close to all the hustle and bustle of Saint Germain yet quiet for a good rest. The roo, is well-appointed although D looks a bit like the jolly green giant in the bathroom – let’s just say the shower is small.
The hotel attendant recommended the Brasserie Balzac on Rue d’ Ecoles. The maitre’d greeted us warmly, fun mustache and all. We only waited about 10 minutes before we were seated next to Sandy and Anna, who were celebrating their 25th anniversary in Paris. Their Chateau La Cardonne 2001 sounded good and came highly recommended by Felipe, the most entertaining waiter. Plus my limited French came in handy when I was able to verify that the price was quite reasonable as Sandy and Anna had not. Their French onion soup also looked good and has to be one of the best we’ve ever enjoyed. We also enjoyed the Foie Gras (D’s excellent choice!). Then he had his first entrecotes with pommes frites and I had the steak tartare. For dessert, the profiteroles in a rich chocolate pudding (the word sauce simply doesn’t do it justice) were divine.
We took the long way back to the hotel to get acclimated to our surroundings. We are very pleased with the location.
Dinner wasn’t finished until almost midnight, ah Paris.
D and I are both getting a chance to practice our French (didn’t know D speaks it? well, he didn’t, but he is picking it up fast with a little help fro, the Rick Steve’s dictionary).
We plan on exploring after a delicious breakfast tomorrow. We’re probably going to rent the nice looking bikes that seem to be everywhere and used by all the locals.