We made it. Armed with PILES of Covid related required paperwork, we have landed in the City of Light. On a typical gloomy Parisian day (City of Light might be a misnomer), we arrived. Proud of the fact that we managed to do it with 7 checked bags, 4 rolling carry-ons, 3 backpacks and a chic French tote (mais bien sûr). I don’t think we forgot anything… except for the things we forgot. Oh well, its not like there isn’t anywhere to shop in Paris. Likely the subject of a blog or seven for another day.
Our flight arrived inexplicably hour early, it was still dark! We were so early we were ahead of our ground transport and apartment rental people, so there was some hurry up and wait moments. But we’re in Paris, so what!
Anticipating some hairy jetlag with the 9 hour time difference, we pulled out all the stops on the international traveller’s playbook on how to ward it off; get out in the sun (remember gloomy day), walk, eat at the mealtimes of where you are (not where you came from). We walked ourselves along Blvd des Italiens and in the glow of the gilded Opera and found a lovely table at the Café de la Paix. In my rusty French, I asked for a table for 4 in the bistrot, but then I fucked it up when I agreed to the restaurant where the menu was more foie gras than frites. However, DO NOT FRET, Parisian waiters are amazing and Hervé saved my ass by accommodating us with chicken nuggets and club sandwiches if we agreed to some bougie appetizers. The sacrifice! Norwegian smoked salmon with the cutest little loonie (if you know, you know) sized blinis and yummy French onion soup (here, we leave the French out of it because well, duh). The reason for our stop however is the house made pastries and Monsieur’s love of the millefeuille. Everyone was happy! Plied with carbs, caffeine and sugar, we headed out into Les Grands Boulevards. Fast forward just 15 minutes and the sugar crash started right in the middle of the Nespresso store line up.
By 4pm CET, we hit the inevitable wall and needed to be horizontal. First rule of Jet Lag Club is, of course, we never talk about Jet Lag Club. The second rule of Jet Lag Club is DO NOT NAP. A nap will fuck it all up. Trust. However, we’re running on about 2 hours sleep in the past 24 hours and everyone is a little frayed. So we nap. BUT only for 20 minutes max. It was hard. Not like really hard because we’re on sabbatical in Paris, but you know, hard. I like to think that I am a smart cookie, so I made dinner reservations for our first two evenings so we had an obligation to get up, get showered and get moving.
Now, because I’m not ALWAYS a smart cookie, I made us a dinner reservation in a tourist trap. Dumb. It was fine, but the steak was dry and the waiter was an ass. Whatever, we’re in Paris! If you’re wondering, it was Le Grand Colbert, famous for the final scene in that Diane Keaton/ Jack Nicholson movie Something’s Gotta Give. Yeah, Something’s Worth Skipping.
Post dinner, I promised the kids a surprise. I took them on a little walk. It was after 9pm, dark and I forgot that Parisian parks have gates because THEY LOCK THEM. Fortunately we were not inside at the time, but it did foil my plan of the first stop on our walk. The Palais Royale was locked but we made our way down the colonnade along the side by the shops. I promised the kids that just beyond the fence is a beautiful park with a fountain. They were suspicious. We kept walking down to the Rue de Rivoli and by now I was working very hard to convince them that where we were headed was worth it. They weren’t so sure.
We crossed the Rue de Rivoli and through the archway of the Place du Carrousel at the Louvre. We came through and there it was, Paris at its very best. The Pyramid by I.M. Pei on one side and the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel on the other and just beyond, The Eiffel Tower. And like I planned it, just a minute later the Eiffel Tower started its sparkly show. What a win! I was a hero! In that moment, I was the smartest mom EVER! I am aglow, sparkling from the inside out just like that gorgeous monument, until 10 minutes later and people’s feet are sore and we’re exhausted and we can’t seem to find a good spot for an Uber pick-up and its taking too long.
Eventually, we make our way to our new home away from home and climb into our new/ someone else’s beds, plied with melatonin and ready to dream about our first day in the City of Light.