I have made it to Paris! I am beginning my 10 day study abroad program that consists of 5 days in Paris and 5 days in London and could not be more excited. I was a bit under the weather starting the trip and slept the entirety of my two flights to Paris including one flight that was more than 11 hours. A bit of advice, sleep as much as possible on your way to Europe that way you are well rested when you arrive.
I met some of my cohorts in the baggage terminal and we have become fast friends. The group touring together consists of about 15 students, 2 instructors, and 2 assistant instructors. Our first plan of action was to take a shuttle to the hotel, take a quick shower, and then out to explore the neighborhood before our 5:30PM meet and greet. Angela, whom I met in the baggage terminal, and I set out to explore the nearby shops called the Cour Saint Emillion. At first blush the area appeared to be shops filled with tourists but upon closer inspection the "tourists" were in fact locals out for a bit of shopping on a damp Saturday. We explored the local art gallery where you could buy original pieces of art work with custom frames for prices ranging from €70 - €178 Carre d'Artists. Next stop was a lovely tea shop by the name of Dammann Freres that could be the cooler more relaxed version of Mariage Freres. The teas smelled lovely and I am thinking a second visit is warranted.
Next we met up with Monica from our group to grab a bite to eat. I opted for the galette with lardon and a fried egg on top which of course comes with a delicious side salad. We sat, ate, laughed, and discussed plans for Paris. Both Monica and I have been to Paris before and were trading ideas and suggestions with Angela whose trip was the first out of the country. She heard that I liked hot chocolate and asked if I would be interested in going to Angelina with her as she had heard that they were the best cup in the world. It was fated as going to Angelina's was on my list of things to that I missed last trip.
After our meal we headed back for the meet and greet and had a fabulous time learning correct pronounciations from the hotel bar tenders and laughing with and learning about our other new collegues.
After the meet and greet we were scooted off to the Metro for a quick orientation. We headed over to Saint Michelle but not before we made a wrong turn and had to turn around....at H&M. A wrong turn, I think NOT! We are only 2 metro stops from H&M. I can already hear my sister's joy at being so near this lovely store.
After exploring Saint Michelle we were given free range to roam about the city until we met the next morning. I thought of it as a sink or swim situation to see if we could all make it back to the hotel. Angela, Monica, Rossana, and I were off to have a cup of chocolat chaud (hot chocolate) from Angelina. We hopped on the Metro and proceeded to our destination. We had nothing but my memory of what the address to go off of and took a chance. (226 Rue de Rivoli) We eneded up walking for quite a while on Rue de Rivoli before we got to our destination. The dining area was full and closed but we made it just in time to get our hot chocolate to go (they closed at 8pm). As we continued our walk down Rue de Rivoli towards the Palce de la Concorde, we took in the sights including the Lourve which I did not remember being as massive as it was. (I am pretty sure it is several city blocks.) We stopped and took pictures of the Eiffel Tower at night in the distance with the ominous obelisk which reminded me of my dad.
After much laughter and discussion and copious amounts of miles we found a metro station and called it a night. I am pretty sure that I will sleep well tonight given the amount of hours I have been awake and the number of miles transgressed.
Sorry about the picture quality above. My phone is operating as my main camera and night time pictures are not the best. Hopefully I will have better ones for you in the near future. Until then, au revoir!