Ah, Paris. City of Lights. City of Romance. City of [stereotypical French laugh].
Anyhoo, this was my first time back to Paris since 1997, so I was curious what had changed since the last time I was there. What I found was absolutely amazing…
Ok, sorry, that was a bit of linkbait there (the “what I saw was amazing” bit). I’ve been playing around with using different titles on my posts, and, believe it or not, those linkbaity headlines you see on Facebook are prevalent for a reason: they work. So, thanks for visiting the blog today and please don’t feel manipulated. If you’d like to feel manipulated, send me money.
Ok, back to Paris. And by Paris, I mean Venice.
I had used Flying Blue points (transferred in from Amex Membership Rewards points) to book a nonstop from Venice to Paris. I generally prefer early morning flights, as it gives me more time when I get to my destination. The bad part of this strategy was getting back to the airport from my hotel in Venice. I discussed in my last post (specifically the video) how obnoxiously long the vaporetto ride was from the airport, especially since I was only staying for one night. Sure enough, the ride back to the airport the next morning took the same 90 minutes. Don’t get me wrong, it was still exciting and all that, but after a while you feel like you’re watching this.
I finally made it to the airport with enough time to visit the local Priority Pass lounge (access I had through my Amex Platinum card). It’s really easy to find, all you need to do is locate a hallway so long that your camera can’t focus, it’s at the end of that hallway.
The lounge was actually really nice, with great tarmac and sea views. I even saw the US Airways flight from Philadelphia (that I had been on the day before) land and park.
The food spread was very nice. Maybe not the most impressive thing out there, but perfectly fine for a relatively short lounge visit.
Ok, I’m really sorry. I feel like my lounge pictures all suck. I’m going to get better. Lovely lounge attendants frequently tell me that I’m not allowed to take pictures, so I always assume I’m being watched. And yes, I hum James Bond themes in my head while I’m sneaking the pictures. I’ll get better.
Anyway, we boarded a completely normal coach flight from Venice to Paris on Air France. That’s not to say it wasn’t nice, it was in fact nice, complete with a little breakfast, which you’d never find stateside (not even in First) on a 1h40m flight.
We even had a spectacular view of Venice on the climb out.
From CDG to hotel
So we landed at CDG around 9am, and I made my way out into the arrivals hall with my eyes peeled (not literally) for something called a Roissybus. It’s an airport bus that will take you, after an extended tour of CDG, to the Opera bus stop in central Paris. This was great for me because I was staying very close to the Opera bus stop. I bought my ticket inside the terminal (I recommend doing this) and made my way outside. There wasn’t a bus waiting for us at the stop, but one showed up very quickly and we piled on.
I used my extensive French to say hello to the bus driver (“hellohsorryImeantbonjour”), who sat there unimpressed. I proudly made my way back to my seat and sat back for a fairly relaxing ride through a light drizzle to Paris.
We arrived at the Opera stop and I used my expert navigational senses and inherent sense of direction to: get lost. I eventually put away my pride and went to a store and asked for direc….haha I’m kidding, I kept looking for the place until I found the hotel. I’m a man with a beard, so there are appearances to keep up, can’t be going around asking for directions. A long time later, I found my hotel: the Park Hyatt Vendome. I bet you can’t wait for a review, right? Well, you’ll have to, because that’s coming later this week. But stay with me.
Ok, fine, I’ll post a teaser image.
Now that my teaser image has let everyone down, let’s get back to Paris. My first day in Paris was spent reacquainting myself with Paris’s central area and lovely charm. Also there was a tower.
You can see that it was a bit cloudy and rainy. The rain may have kept some of the tourists away, plus it was a Wednesday morning, so it wasn’t too busy.
Then I saw a flower, so I had to take my Typical Macro Picture of a Flower.
Well wouldn’t you know it I happened upon the Eiffel Tower.
The Eiffel Tower is great, not just because it’s instantly recognizable, but there’s also a huge park around it, so it’s easy to get up to it, as long as you can swim through the rest of the tourists.
I had my Maui Jims on, and had the Most Creative Idea Ever. Until I looked on their instagram feed and saw that everyone else had done the exact same thing. Just like the time I coincidentally wrote, almost note for note, Blackbird by the Beatles on the guitar.
I still like the shot though. All of you also now know what my skin pores look like. Ewwwww.
I managed, purely based on memory, to find the hotel that we stayed at in 1997 and sent my uncle (who took us on the trip) a picture of it (in the Trocadero area).
As I ambled back towards my hotel, I stopped for a bite to eat and ended up just getting some appetizers because I ended up in the Opera area and all of the restaurants were pretty pricey. I supplemented this with some stuff I picked up from a random Carrefour Express I found later that evening.
I took my time getting back to the hotel.
Put simply, I loved getting to see the Paris I remembered. It always has been and always will be a beautiful city. Smaller towns are said to have “charm”, while Paris charms you right in the face. I didn’t really have anything planned for the next day though, so I retired to my unbelievably nice hotel bed with my iPad and searched for something that might be fun the next day. Maybe somewhat related, a tennis tournament happened to be taking place in Paris…