Bienvenue à Paris!

Aug 02

Bienvenue à Paris!

Adiós Barcelona! Bienvenue à Paris! At 6:30am our alarms went off, we ate a quick breakfast of peanut butter on bread, finished packing a few things, and bags in hand, took off to the Metro. Once we got out at our stop, we walked a few blocks to the train station in Barcelona. The place was pretty huge with lots of bustle and activity. Luckily, we already had our tickets printed out so all we had to do was find the right platform. It turned out to be easier than we thought and then we were on the train to Figueres, Spain.

Our first leg was about two hours and at Figueres we switched trains for one bound to Perpignan, France. We had a 2 hour wait in Perpignan for our next train to the center of Paris. In Perpignan, we walked around for a bit down the main drag. We bought some shampoo and detergent for laundry then went hunting for an ATM to stock up on our euro supply. After a fruitless search, we headed back to the station where of course there would be an ATM available. Duh.

We bought fresh sandwiches, practiced our rudimentary French, and watched an episode of Suits as we waited for the train. We boarded this train at around 12:30pm and arrived in Paris at a quarter to 6pm. It was quite a long train ride. We both napped a little on the way and spent time admiring the French country side. I noticed every single cow I saw was grazing out in an open field. Thank you France for being so progressive and providing free-range grazing of natural grasses for your cattle. Healthy cows means better lives for them and better food for us!

When we arrived in Paris we were blown away by the sheer size of the train station. We had to go up about 5 different levels of escalators to reach the city streets! Of course we hit in rush hour traffic and had to jostle our way through the streaming crowds of people. It took a bit to figure out the ticket system for the metro and then we boarded and headed off to our hotel. We arrived only to find the hotel not at all what we expected or what the pictures led us to believe. A little upset, we decided to eat first before we made up our minds of what to do. The closets place with no wait was a Thai restaurant were we paid way too much for way too little.

We left the restaurant and entered out onto the Champs Élysées. The street was pretty crowded for 9pm at night and we were reminded briefly of Barcelona minus the very narrow streets and humidity. All of the stores were still open, even this late, for some last minute high-end shopping. The Arch de Triumph was lit in the distance so we thought we’d walk to it for a look. It was definitely further away than we thought, but we kept going and it was well worth it! Because it was night, there were hardly any people and we had an hour to walk the 280 steps to the top for a breathtaking view of Paris by night!

We stayed on the Arc de Triumph until 11:30pm and decided to walk back to our crummy hotel, cancel our reservations, and move to a nicer one we found a few blocks away. The a**hole at the crummy hotel insisted we pay for TWO nights instead of one for canceling. It was bogus and left us super frustrated. After showers and fresh clothes we feel a thousand times better and are ready for a good night sleep!

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