Sunday, February 9, 2014

Our first day exploring Paris - Italy and France trip Day 13 - 07/03/2013

Sadly yesterday was our last day at Disneyland, but today we're heading into the city.
Checkout was at 11am, but the maid wanted us out at 10:50. We kept telling her 10 minutes, and she countered with 5 minutes. Whatever. We left at 11am.

Hauling all our gear, we headed to the train station right across the street.  The lines were pretty long for tickets, but the helpful guy with an “Information” vest directed us to more machines we weren’t seeing.

We found a train car with hardly anyone in it and sat and enjoyed the trip to Paris.  Well as much as possible.  We were serenaded by a guitar player for a few stops who then came around asking for money.  Then a few stops later we had an accordion player hop on and do the same thing.


There wasn’t too much countryside to enjoy before we were entirely underground. Once we got to the Charles de Gaul stop, we transferred to the next line which would take us to our hotel. The trains here were packed, and there was a guy crawling along the floors of the super packed subway cars with flipflops on his hands and pushing a bowl for coins.  What a tough way to make money.

Just as we were nearing our stop and crossing the Seine, we finally see the Eiffel tower up close.

We exit the train and right there is our hotel, the Eiffel Seine.

We’re early checking in, but they happen to have Ruston and Jacob’s room ready, so we drop everything off there. It’s a small European room with just enough space for a bed.

And just outside the window, we can look down and see the train tracks along with the river Seine.

Since the four of us are living out of our carry-on bags, it's time to do laundry.
It’s a little disconcerting that the front desk asks you to leave your key when you go.  When we got back, we just tell whoever is at the desk our room number and they give us that key.  No ID, no name on the reservation, nothing.
It’s a short walk from our place and we’re getting a bit hungry. We pass a pizza place that smells good. Maybe we'll come back.

We get the laundry started and it’s going to take at least 30 minutes so we look on TripAdvisor for suggestions for food near us. It's awesome having an international data plan on the phone.

Lots of good places around but eventually we decide on So Good Bagel.

They served bagel sandwiches with lots of different things to choose.

I make my own bagel with cream cheese, chicken, salami, crispy onions and avocado. It was messy but good.


We head back to the laundry and finish drying our clothes, then head to the hotel. We tell the person behind the desk (who was different than the person who checked us in) our room number and we get the keys to the room.

It's time to go explore the city! Just outside, we head to the metro. Again there is a very helpful girl there with an “Information” vest on who helps us with the ticket screen to get it to English and get tickets.

After a transfer we’re up near Sante Croche church. We hike up a street and we're at the bottom of a big hill, reminiscing Kyoto Japan. We reach the stairs to this church on the highest hill in all of Paris. This area is littered with the “friendship bracelet” scam guys, so we make sure to tuck our arms in.


Theresa was worried about climbing up the stairs of the Eiffel tower, but she should have been more concerned with all the steps here. To get to the top of the hill, she would need to climb 285 stairs. What a trooper.


There are great views of Paris from up here, though it’s hazy and overcast, so you can’t see too much.

Once inside the church, we learn that no photos are allowed, though plenty of people are taking them. The guards have their hands full.

Back down the hill, and we walk to another Metro station and transfer to get us over to the Rodin museum.



Here we all pick up the museum pass for 54 Euro each. It gets us in lots of places around Paris.


When you think Rodin, you think of The Thinker. The Thinker is outside in the garden and at the moment he's probably thinking "How do I get this pigeon off my head."

We suggest ways to shoo it off and someone suggested tossing something at it. A passerby says just don’t hit the statue. Eventually Jacob takes off his jacket and waves it in the air, which makes it go away.

We all do our best “Thinker” pose and get a picture. T can’t put her right elbow on her left knee because of her belly.

Inside there is a museum showcasing some of Rodin's models.  


A model of the Three Shades who stand at the entrance to Hell. They are very reminiscent of the Prisoners carved by Michelangelo. We'll see those at the Louvre tomorrow.

Back outside we wander the gardens. If only the Thinker was facing the other way, he'd have a view of the Eiffel tower.

But looking this way, he can see all the beautiful flowers.

A full sized statue of the Three Shades. T and I try to emulate them.

While in Florence we saw the Gates of Paradise. Here in Paris we're getting a look at the Gates of Hell. It's based on Dante's Inferno.


Back outside we explore the garden and look for a place for dinner.



Just outside the museum we finally figured out why all these stickers were on this pole. Admission to the Rodin museum comes with a different color sticker depending on the day. Looks like when people leave, this is where all the stickers end up.

We decide to get back to the hotel and do more research for dining places there. So should we walk for ~30 minutes to get home or take the metro and 2 transfers? We decide to spend the money and take the metro, though it still takes us 25 minutes.

T finds a Korean place nearby and everyone agrees that sounds good for dinner. The dining area was full, and they were getting a huge line outside. They agreed to let us do takeout and the prices here were amazing.  Only 11 Euro for a salad, 2 wontons, an entrĂ©e of meat, dessert, plus a canned drink. Ruston and I waited for the food while T and Jacob went to the supermarket for other snacks and within 15 minutes, the food was ready.

Ruston and I walked back in a rainy drizzle with the food.  We commented that we’re glad it didn’t rain on us at DL, but how here in Paris the rain kind-of seemed right. We got back before Jacob and T, and asked if the hotel staff if we could eat in the lobby or in the downstairs breakfast area, but were told no.  We take everything up to our small room and lay everything out there. Within a couple minutes, Jacob and T arrive. There’s so much food here and not only what we ordered, but all the little side dishes, tons of kimchi, rice, etc.

Since it’s late we decided to just call it a night. It’s 1am now and we’re getting together at 9am for breakfast and a packed day.

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