My first overseas trip has finally happened.  I finally made it to Paris, after wanting to go for at least 12 years.  Because my current job is still through a temp agency, which means no vacation days, I was only able to schedule a long weekend.  I left on Wednesday afternoon from LAX, arriving Thursday morning in Paris.  Here is a picture from the plane as we crossed over the English Channel into France:

After arriving at the airport, I took the train into Paris and headed to my hotel (in the 13th) to check in.  After a shower, I ended up walking up to where Alicia’s class was near the Bastille.  When then walked around a little more, checking out Notre Dame Cathedral and the Shakespeare & Co Bookstore.  For dinner, we went to Le Zimmer, a place recommended by my Irish friend Lynda, for their French Onion soup(click for picture).  Since I was recovering from the long flight, we decided to take things easy the rest of the night so I could be rested for Friday.Friday, we took the metro out to Versailles.  We had brought some stuff along to have a picnic out in the gardens.  The size of the gardens is kind of amazing, however it still being winter, most of the statues were covered up.  Luckily the clouds had decided to break, and we had nice blue skies to enjoy our lunch under.  In the end, I decided that I’d rather spend 12 euros going up to the top of the Eiffel Tower than to go inside the chateau, so we ended up heading back to Paris not long after eating lunch.  We headed to the Eiffel Tower and took the elevator’s up to the top.  It was pretty cool way to get a perspective of Paris.  That evening, we ended up heading to the Montmartre area, planning on going to a fondue place that serves wine in baby bottles.  However, when we got there, there was a decent wait, so we decided to walk around and find somewhere else to eat.

Alica looking for her apt from the Eiffel Tower

Saturday, after breakfast (oh have I forgotten to mention the amazing Pain au Chocolat and Baguettes yet?), we headed to the Place Palais Royal to meet my friend Armelle, whom I met working in Sun Valley, ID the summer between my Freshman and Sophmore years of college.  We walked around the 1st, a little bit before heading to a cooking class.  There we made lemongrass chicken, with fingerling potatoes (cooked with garlic and lime juice) and a mango tart w/ passionfruit caramel.  After the class, we walked around some more before heading to Armelle’s apt in the 15th for some homemade crepes.

Sunday, Alicia and I went to church at the American Cathedral and then went to the Louvre.  I was able to see the Mona Lisa in person (though a little disapointed that you can’t get within 5-10 feet of it).  I think the ceilings and architecture of the Louvre were more interesting than a lot of the art inside, but then we did just do a quick trip through the museum.  For dinner, we went to a restaurant on a medival street in the Latin Quarter.  It had a 15 euro prix fixe menu.  For a starter, I chose escargot, as I figured where else better to try it than in Paris.

Monday, I packed my suitcase and we dropped it off at Alicia’s apt and explored her neighborhood (the 15th) for awhile, until I had to head out to the airport.  I really liked Paris a lot.  Its a big city, with a small city feel, at least in many of the neighborhoods.  The bread was amazing and inexpensive.  Same with the cheese.  I still don’t know if I had a favorite part though (which is the question everyone asks).  I guess I’d have to say the food (and of that the bread) if I had to pick one thing.  Restaurants are pretty expensive though, trying to eat fairly frugally, I still spent just under 50 euros for each dinner out (for 2 including wine).

More pics here

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