Good Americans, when they die, go to Paris*

*-Appleton,Thomas Gold
Quoted in Oliver Wendell Holmes The Autocrat at the Breakfast Table (1858), ch.6. Although the speaker in Holmes’s book is not identified by name, he is generally identified as Appleton.

The long awaited post about Paris (long awaited by the small handful of you that have asked me where the eff my Paris post is… haha!). What can I say about Paris?

I am in love.

I googled quotes about Paris and after weeding through crap about Paris Hilton, I came across the one I used as the title for this post because I thought it perfectly summed up how I feel about Paris.

First, Paris is ridiculously expensive. Oh my god. I haven’t even looked at our credit card bill and quite frankly, I don’t plan on it (a benefit of being married!).

Second, Paris is ridiculously COLD in January. I’m not sure why I expected anything else. It was freeeeeezing. There were a few times where Jeremy requested that we duck into a warm store so that he could regain the feeling back in his feet. I told him to stop acting like a baby. :-)

Finally, Paris on New Year’s Eve is kind of underwhelming. Let me take that back, watching the Eiffel Tower on New Year’s Eve is underwhelming. I (and tons of other tourists) expected fireworks. Instead, we got a light show that they’d played every hour leading up to midnight. It was a cool light show on the Eiffel Tower, but when you’re expecting fireworks – it is a letdown. This is something I should have researched because apparently Paris only shoots fireworks off of the Eiffel Tower on Bastille Day and only once on NYE (the millenium). Boo.

Still – despite everything above, I fell in love with the city. It was cold, the skies were gray and the trees/plant life were all dead… but it was still beautiful.

We only had 2 full days in Paris (something I wished I would have planned better) but we stayed right by the Eiffel Tower at the Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel. I think choosing this particular location was one of the best choices we made! While the hotel wasn’t fabulous (it was a bit run down) – the staff was fantastic, the breakfast was good and the location was amazing. However, our room view of the Eiffel Tower? Here it is:
A View from our Paris Hotel Room
The Eiffel Tower is right behind the building on the left. Ha!

However, this is right in front of our hotel:
London and Paris 2009 621

We landed in Paris on December 30th around 9pm.

While I was super excited about this trip – I was also terrified of Paris. I’ve always heard that Parisiens are rude to Americans and even though I took French in high school (and a little in college) – I was not up to par with my French. I can read bits and pieces of French. I can even say that I don’t speak French (or that I speak very little French). However, anytime someone spoke French to me while we were in Paris – my mind went blank. I would look like a deer caught in headlights and sometimes, when I did understand what was being asked, I would turn to Jeremy (someone that has never taken French classes) and tell him what they said as though he would turn to them and reply in perfect French. Don’t ask. My mind was spinning!

Anyways.

We landed at night and immediately I wanted to go for a walk over to the Eiffel Tower. I squealed when we pulled up to our hotel.

We picked a good night to walk around the Eiffel Tower. They were practicing their New Year’s Eve light show (but I was unaware that this was “practice” – I just assumed it was like this every night). Music was blasting, tons of people were walking around. It was awesome.

We walked over the Seine River and found a great spot to take pictures with the Eiffel Tower behind us. A TON of people were doing the same thing so we had to walk down the street quite a bit to find a spot away from other people.
London and Paris 2009 269

And Paris lived up to the whole “city of lights” thing. The energy was amazing. The city was lit up beautifully. And there were even a few river cruises that had some blinding lights.

We decided to just walk aimlessly (but always towards lights). We came across a traffic circle and I realized that we were pretty close to the Arc De Triomphe. So we walked up the Champs Elysee to check it out.

And let me just say that it was nearly midnight at this point and there were no signs of people going home. It was crazy crowded everywhere!

London and Paris 2009 292
London and Paris 2009 278

This area is jam packed with high end stores (Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Chanel, Dior, Christian Laboutin… you name it… I was DYING of fashion envy).

We walked back to the hotel and passed out knowing that we had a very big day ahead of us (and me secretly trying to figure out where I was going to go SHOPPING!). The only thing really on my agenda at that point was to go to the Louvre. (we had seen the Eiffel Tower and Arc De Triomphe so I was good on that front)

Our Paris adventure to be continued…

13 Comments

Filed under Charm City Kim Travels

13 responses to “Good Americans, when they die, go to Paris*

  1. Kt

    I too share your love for Paris. I keep wanting to go with Ian. I think it truly is a romantic city with so much to do and see!

    I’d like to try to become fluent-ish before I go back! I hope Ian will be a willing conversation partner to help me gear up. :-)

    I think you guys would have a great time (and probably stay in super posh hotels like you did in London! :-))

  2. fromatopink

    OMG so jealous! I LOVE Paris – I’ve never heard that quote before, but totally agree. I would live there if I could. Can’t wait to hear more!

    I would LOVE to live there!

  3. Meredith

    The Eiffel Tower light thing is pretty darn cool…esp when they put on the house music. Carrie, Shannon and I drank beer and hung out there for a few hours one night and it was fantastic!

    See…I could have given you a Paris ornament for your tree if you knew you’d be going so soon. Remind me next year…I’ve got a handful of them from my last trip!

    Oh – so they do that every night?! That’s what I thought (about the lights).

    And thank you! But no worries – we picked up an ornament. :-)

  4. That is so cool you went there! I lived just outside of paris on an exchange when I was 15/16 years old since I grew up in Canada and went to school in French Immersion. When I first got there, even though I spoke and read/wrote fluently it took me awhile to stop thinking in english first and then replying in french. However, the longer you spend there the more it just flows. I am sure if you had more time there, you would have felt more comfortable speaking french :-) By the end of my time there I was dreaming in french and even resonded to the airplane stewardess in french on the way home :-)
    Glad you had a wonderful time, I think the french people are absolutely wonderful! Gratnted I am canadian, but I never saw them be truly rude to americans or anything. I feel like that is just a bad rap they were given!

    Omg – you were an exchange student? That is awesome! My neighbor took in a French exchange student a long time ago and he was so nice.

    I really wish I had the courage to do something like that!

    And the French really do get a bad rap and I have no idea why. Everyone was absolutely wonderful!

  5. Oh! So beautiful! I love your photos! Glad to hear you had such a great time!

    Thank you!

  6. looove the photos. having travel envy. france is now on my shortlist of places to go. i’m afraid of what will happen to my credit cards though…

    That’s why I haven’t looked at my bill. :-)

  7. Gor-geous. And how cool is the location of your hotel?!
    Can’t wait to hear more!

    Seriously – the location was awesome.

  8. Amazing pictures! Paris is on my list of places to go. Some say it’s overrated, but I say, I’ll be the judge of that.

    Some people told me the same thing but I felt exactly like you did – I wanted to see for myself!

  9. During which millenium did they shoot off fireworks? The media-hyped fake one or the real one?

    I’m guessing… the media-hyped fake one?

  10. I have only been to “Paris” once and it was DinseyLand Paris, not the same. So glad you had the opportunity to check it all out. Love the pictures and can’t wait to keep reading.

    Haha – I haven’t been to Disneyland Paris so maybe that’ll be my next venture?

  11. I love that quote! Thank you for sharing your adventure!

    Isn’t it great? (the quote – not necessarily my post… haha!)

  12. The Far away one

    Your run-down hotel is pretty typical of European hotels. But if the staff and food were good then you scored! Paris is just a maze of culture. Next time definitely take a boat on the Seine. There were trees along the river with twinkling lights, in the middle of summer, just magical! And Parisians can be unfriendly to Americans but there are so many French people from other parts to help the balance. Did you know in summer they even ship in sand to make a beach on the Seine!?!?!

    I think a boat tour would have been nice… but definitely in warmer temps!

    And that is crazy about the sand!

  13. LOVE. more night shots, please! that last one of the arc de triomphe is magical.

    Thanks! it was hard to relax in Paris because we were so busy staring at everything and I wanted pictures of ALL OF IT (sometimes at the risk of being hit by cars)!

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