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September 11th 2007 by Aaron & Tina
Part Deux

Posted under Europe & France

Everything about Paris has been wonderful!  It’s our first stop and we’ve already discussed the possibility of never leaving.  What’s not to love?  Take your pick of the world-class museums, amazing food, the relaxed outdoor café culture, or the fact that French is one of the most beautifully spoken languages in the world, but we are enamored with Paris.  I especially love the countless patisseries that beckon to me from the street with their brightly lit display cases boldly advertising the special du jour through the windows.  Stepping inside I am overcome by the abundant decadence which takes form in croissants, chocolate éclairs, fruit tarts, cookies, and bushels of freshly-baked baguettes.


While we have enjoyed every moment thus far, we’ve been going non-stop for nearly a week.  The early excitement of the trip ahead, the novelty of unemployment, and the endless list of things to see in Paris have all created this urge within for us to pack as much as we can into each day.  We run from one Metro stop to the next and speed walk between museums and churches and cafés.  But we’ve seen all of our personal highlights- Musée du Louvre (3 times!), Musée d’Orsay, Eiffel tower, Montmartre and Sacre Coeur, Champs Elysées and the Arc de Triomphe, Place de la Concorde, Notre Dame and Ile de la Cite, Hotel des Invalides and the Dome Church, Place de la Bastille, Hotel de Ville, and too many beautiful churches to name.  After waking early and crashing early each day, we finally had our first night out in Paris.  We walked from the Marais district along the

Seine to the courtyards of the Louvre.  The tourists were gone, the ground within was completely dark and the façades of the surrounding buildings were softly lit with white lights.  A lone violin player straddled the two courtyards and the combination of his music and the greatness of this place created a mood that was both magical and romantic.  We left and caught the Metro to head across town to see the Eiffel tower after dark.  We’d seen it during the day on Saturday and it was swarming with Parisians and tourists alike, enjoying one of the nicest sunny days of the year.  We decided that we had to go to the top and see for ourselves what the city of lights has to offer.  The view from the top was awe-inspiring from every vantage point and thus far, a highlight of the trip.


Our busy days have been compounded by the necessity of switching hostels because neither of the two we have stayed in so far have had the additional availability we needed.  Our initial idea was to only reserve a night or two in a new hostel and then if we liked the place, we would request to stay longer.  When you’re lugging around 35-pound backpacks its nice being able to leave them in the room (locked to something sturdy, of course) and go exploring all day.  The first two nights at our hostel near Montmartre were fine, but certainly nothing special.  Given the option we probably would have stayed there for our entire Paris visit.  But we had to move and so we spent the past three nights at a low-budget hotel in the Parisian suburbs.  The room was bigger than the first but there was no shower curtain and it was a hike to the train station, so we’re not exactly sad to leave.  We haven’t been able to find accommodations at the last minute as easily as we would have liked so we’ve booked two more nights in Paris, and then the next five in Amsterdam but we still haven’t decided what we’re doing after the first two nights in Cairo.


And so, after spending the first five days rising early and walking until our feet could no longer carry us, we tried to slow down.   This is not a 7-day vacation from which we can return to our lives “back home” and recover during the ensuing work week.  This is our new life and we must make time to relax, learning to live, and rest, on the go.  We woke up later this morning, packed our bags and moved to our new hotel, and decided to spend a leisurely afternoon in the gardens of the Rodin Museum (where the statue of “The Thinker” is).  We peered through the hedges the other day into what looked like a beautiful spa-like courtyard and Tina insisted that we return.  Today, the sky was slightly overcast but it was warm enough to relax and read on wooden chaise lounges with the high walls of the garden keeping the wind at bay.  The setting was so tranquil with the freshly trimmed lawn embracing the tree-lined walkway and the beautifully manicured hedges framing the statues scattered throughout.  It was just what we needed today.

On a final note: I love subways!  I’ve ridden them in the U.S., in Hong Kong, and in Europe and they’re convenient, relatively cheap, and always on time.  Sure, they’re dirty, smelly and at times unbelievably complex and confusing and the Paris Metropolitan is no exception.  But once you get the hang of it, I can’t think of a better way to get around a big city.  We take the metro daily and have become very proficient at transferring from train to train while dodging busy business professionals, wide-eyed tourists and mothers with strollers.  I have a feeling we’ll miss this luxury in the Third World.


3 Responses to “Part Deux”

  1. Valerie Simpson on 11 Sep 2007 at 6:06 pm #

    Aaron, nice expression of your Paris exploits. I know that together you and Tina will find the pace that works for the two of you and allows enjoying and relaxing at the same time. Hugs, Mom

  2. Emily on 13 Sep 2007 at 12:26 pm #

    It’s been so great reading about your travels. I check daily to see what new pictures are up or to read what your doing. Been thinking about you both!
    Lots of love from the Midwest!

  3. Ollie SimpSon on 13 Sep 2007 at 2:31 pm #

    Hy you guys, I’m so glad you made this web site so we can track you across the globe. Colleen and I are so happy for you that you’re doing this that we wanna go to Europe soon. We’re thinking Greece. Love the pics so keep em coming and may God continue to bless you both.

    Love ya,

    Ollie & Colleen SimpSon