Paris: Day 1

DenaNovember 12, 2010

I left New Jersey late Saturday afternoon, “slept through the night” on the airplane, and arrived in Paris Sunday morning, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. From the airport, I took a train to my host’s neighborhood in Argenteuil—a suburb just outside of Paris. I called my host from a payphone, she picked me up at the station, and off we went to her flat. We had a lovely breakfast and chatted a bit. I learned that she was raised on a cattle farm in the French countryside of Brittany.

My host would be busy for the day, so she took me back to the station and I headed toward the Eiffel Tower. The metro took me to the spot. When I emerged from underground, I could not see the tower. I walked around a building and there it was—in all its glory—larger than life & as spectacular as I imagined it would be.

My first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower

Like so many times in life, there are no words to describe the experience. It was the Eiffel Tower—the very symbol of Paris.

I walked down the giant staircase, across the street, and to the base of the tower. After exploring the gardens & garden paths around the tower, I decided to take a sightseeing cruise on the Seine. The cruise company was Vedettes de Paris. You can check out the site here. The cruise was one hour and the guided narration was spoken in French, English, and Spanish. The ticket price was €11. It’s a great way to acquaint yourself with Paris on your first day. It was lovely in the afternoon but I imagine it would be even more gorgeous at night.

The tour takes you by all of the major sites including the breathtaking Notre Dame. It was the most perfect warm, autumn day—bright sun, blue skies, fluffy white clouds. On the boat, a young couple with a tiny, infant boy sat next to me. The baby slept all the while & smiled often in his sleep. Too cute.

Here are a few of my favourite shots that I snapped from the ship.

View of the tower from the Seine

Sleeping cutie pie

A houseboat on the Seine—can you imagine!?

After the boat tour, I wandered around and found myself in the wealthy neighborhood near the Eiffel Tower. Here, the mothers pushed children in gorgeous, old-fashioned baby carriages and everything reeked of money. All of the homes looked beautiful from the outside–even the windows were stunning.

The gorgeous windows of Paris

After lunch, dessert, and more wandering, I headed back to the tower. The sun was setting and it was a spectacular sight. I snapped photographs and made my way back to my host’s flat.

Eiffel Tower gardens at sunset

Paris Carousel at sunset

Not surprisingly, I slept like a baby that night. What a gorgeous start to my Parisian adventure. Stay tuned for Day 2.

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