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We're here!!

Well, we are finally and truly here! We landed safe and sound right on time this morning at 8:30 am to a cloudy, windy Paris......but we don't care, WE ARE IN PARIS! It almost seems surreal to finally be here after so many months of planning and waiting. The last week of work was so busy that I really didn't see it go by. I guess that's better than watching every minute crawl by, but I would have been happy with something in between. I was so excited about the trip and anxious about work on Thursday morning that I was awake by 2am, up by 4am and at work by 7am trying to get everything in order. I wanted to leave by lunch time so we could take our time driving to Montreal and not stress about being late. The morning literally flew by and a few times I felt my heart racing because of everything I had to get done before I could leave (of course, a lot of this is self-imposed because I am one of the world's biggest conrol freak!). I finally left after many hugs and well wishes by my friends at work (sorry for dumping so much on you, Cindy!!), we did our final packing and off we went to my sister's house in the West Island of Montreal. It rained torrentially all the way to Montreal but we did get there in plenty of time, we switched cars and she dropped us off at the airport about 4:30pm.

Check in was a breeze, I had printed my boarding passes earlier in the day and security was, well.......security, not fun but a necessity in today's times. We had paid to stay in the Servisair Lounge before our departure and it was a great decision. We had access to a self-serve bar and food area that included beer on tap and several types of wine as well as about 8 kinds of premium liquors. There was lots of food to choose from: soup, pasta salad, several different types of sandwiches, fruit and cheese, raw veggies and cookies and chocolate croissants! There was also lots of non-alcoholic drinks, including water, juices, soft drinks, red bull, tea, coffee and cappucino. Everything is self-serve and as much as you like. Den made himself 2 caesars and I had red wine. He also had baileys in his coffee and an ameretto on ice (this is my hubby who doesn't drink!). There were tables and chairs in one area, nice comfy armchairs in another and 2 computers to access the internet. Lots of magazines and newspapers for our use and a few flat screen TVs showing local stations. I think it was about $25 US per person, which we felt was very good value considering we would spend at least that much having dinner at the airport, buying magazines to read while waiting, and maybe having a drink each before leaving. The area was large enough that everyone had ample space to sit without being close to others and we even had our own bathroom area, no sharing with the common folk outside our little peaceful oasis! We would certainly do this again.

Our flight took off on time, we had a little turbulence but nothing drastic. I tried to sleep on the plane, but since I have trouble sleeping in my own bed, nodding off while sitting up surrounded by excited chattering teenagers who were on their way to a European school trip was just not going to happen. That's ok, I have 16 nights to catch up on my sleep, we are on vacation, we don't stress about the little things we can't control, we just enjoy all that we can!

We landed right on time, went through customs very quickly and our driver from Inter Shuttle was waiting for us as soon as we came out of the luggage claim area with a board with my name on it...........one of the prettiest sites I've seen in a long time!! We came in through the Villette area in the 19th and then by RIchard Lenoir by the canal, a very scenic route. I know that I can almost call myself a Paris regular since I knew the route the driver would take once I saw the Bastille monument and he went exactly the way I thought he would! He was very efficient and polite, helped us with our luggage and confirmed our return pick up times. This is the second time we've used Inter Shutte and I would not hesitate to use them again.

We went through the outside door with the entry code Thierry had e-mailed us but then couldn't find the key in the mailbox. No problem, I called him and he was five minutes from the apartment. He roared up on his motorbike and 2 minutes later, we were in our beautiful Marais apartment. It is a large 1 bedroom apartment right on rue Rivoli almost right across from Hotel de Ville. Although the street is very busy, we are on the courtyard side and there is no street noise at all. We have a large bedroom with a queen size bed, a flat screen TV up on one of the walls across from the bed, a large double closet and a full size chest of drawers. The living area had a nice size couch, a little wing back chair and a small dining area with 3 draped chairs. Our kitchen is small, but very functional. It looks very modern and well stocked with a full sized fridge, a ceramic cooktop, oven, dishwasher, microwave, toaster, etc. The washroom has a roomy standup shower and a combination washer-dryer. The toilet is in another small room with a tiny sink and a step up platform that I fear Den and I will bang our toes on many times in the next few weeks. The place is spotless, and there are plenty of paper supplies (toilet paper, scott towels, kleenex, etc) for our needs. There are a few Paris guidebooks in the apartment, including 50 individual cards made up of different Paris Walks! They could come in handy.

Thierry gave us a little welcome basket of bread, jam, coffee, fruit, orange juice and bottled water. He was pleased with our hokey gift of Canadian maple syrup (even enclosed in a maple leaf-shaped bottle ~ hey, if you're going to go touristy, might as well go all the way! What else is Canada known for ~ I really couldn't bring him a hockey player, although lots of Montreal Canadiens players would have been available, damn them!)

After unpacking and checking things out, we decided to take a walk and find lunch and provisions. Since we stayed in the Marais last May, we are pretty familiar with the area. First things first, we have to make sure there is a good boulangerie nearby for Den to pick up our morning croissants and pain au chocolat (pain au chocolat.........hhhhhhhhhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.......but I digress!) We were pleased to see that there are 2 great looking places just steps from the apartment, we will try one out tomorrow morning to see if it will make the cut. I was stopped twice by people asking me for directions (guess I must look like a local) and I was actually able to help both of them!

We continued up rue Vielle du Temple because I had fallafel in mind! L'as du Fallafel is less than 5 minutes from our place and that could be very dangerous. Den and I would love these huge monster sandwiches stuffed with cabbage, tomotoes, cukes and roasted eggplant. They hollow out the pita and then stuff either freshly fried fallafels (in my case) or shaved schwarma meat (for Den) along with the other ingredients 3 times, building layers of yumminess and topping it off with a wickedly wonderful hot sauce. Well, since we were in the neighbourhood..........yeah, our first lunch in Paris and it was only 12 euros! We walked and munched and found ourselves near the Carnavalet Museum. We decided to take a look but after about 15 minutes of walking around enjoying the paintings and murals, Den decided he had hit the wall and needed a nap. We walked to the Monoprix on rue St Paul to get some light groceries, came home and crashed after having been up for about 28 hours straight (not counting my few fitfull zzzzzzzzzzzs in the plane). I slept for about an hour and am now entering my first blog entry. I let Den sleep for over an hour longer and he is just showering now, feeling rested and refreshed.

We're not sure exactly what we're doing for dinner tonight, I think we will stay in the Marais area so we are close to home when we can't keep our eyes open another minutes. I know we won't go hungry, there are so many great places to eat (and drink) in this area, we'll just see what we're in the mood for. Weather is cool, it rained a little on our home from Monoprix, but we really don't care. We're finally here and ready to begin our adventure.............

Comments (1)

Jo-Anne:

Hi Jo,
I just tried to call you again. I was thinking for some reason you were leaving only today and I missed you.... oh well... I wanted to wish you a great holiday and to tell you that we miss you guys.
Have fun... Jo

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