Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Paris! (Day 1)

We arrived at Paris Beauvais Airport at 9:00 in the morning. We inquired about bus tickets and train tickets and figured because of the rain, it would be easiest to hop on a bus that would go directly into the city center for €15 per person (one way). The ticket booths accept cash only, and we asked for "Deux billets, aller simple, s'il-vous-plaît," (translation: "Two tickets, one way, please,"). The bus ride took a bit less than an hour and brought us to Porte Maillot. From there, we hopped down into the metro, picked ourselves up some children's tickets (€6 euro for 10 rides) and headed to our hotel, Hôtel de L'avre.
La Bouquet Grenelle

Croque Madame
We weren't allowed to check in until 14:00 (typical), so we left our bags in the baggage area (a.k.a. the stairwell) and headed out to seek some breakfast. We ended up seating ourselves at Le Bouquet Grenelle, a little restaurant a block from our hotel. Baby boy ordered the ravioli of the day (with spinach and cheese) and I ordered a croque madame (on my list of foods I wanted to eat in Paris), which is an open-faced ham and cheese sandwich with a sunny side egg on top. It came with a nice side salad with my favorite french mustard vinaigrette dressing and fries. It was uber yummy. The waiter was a bit much though. I asked for tap water and he said tap water was unhealthy (but bottled water is so effing expensive!) **NOTE! ALWAYS ASK FOR TAP WATER! Unless you don't mind paying for your water.**

**And note!! Tipping in Paris is different from tipping in Dublin. Usually a 15% gratuity is attached to the bill. It's customary to leave a bit of change (on the order of 5%) or round up the bill. The 15% is split amongst all the staff usually, so that extra bit you leave on the table will go directly to your server and will let him or her know that their work was stellar.**

After brunch, we headed towards the Eiffel Tower, stopping by École Militaire on the way.
École Militaire
La Tour Eiffel


Then we headed down towards the River Seine before making our way back towards our hotel.
boats in the river Seine
being silly doing the limbo
got his head chopped off!



LOVE
After we checked in, we decided to take a little nap, as we were tired from our early morning flight. When we woke up, it was dinner time. Baby boy already had a restaurant in mind, Le Relais de L'Entrecôte. Well, I don't know if he had the specific restaurant in mind, but I know he really wanted l'entrecôte. This place was so yummy! It's basically all-you-can-eat steak and fries (also on my list of things I wanted to eat in Paris) with an AMAZING sauce. The cute little waitresses in black dresses with white collars and white aprons, start you off with a super awesome endive and frisée salad topped with walnuts and that French mustard vinaigrette dressing that I love so much and then ask you how you want your meat cooked. We ordered the house wine to accompany our meal as well as a bottle of tap water. The only things listed on the menu are les desserts (desserts) and les boissons (drinks).

Just keep in mind: this place does not take reservations. It's a good idea to show up around 18:30 or 18:45 because a line starts to form before the place opens, which is at 19:00. I've read that it's a relatively touristy place because of its popularity, but that doesn't stop locals for hounding the joint.
salad, bread, and empty glasses
du vin
pure bliss












For dessert, we got crème brûlée, MY FAVORITE (and on my list of desserts I needed to get whilst in France), and lemon sorbet with vodka.
not enough vodka in this 
my favorite


Sparkly Eiffel Tower
After our satisfying meal, we decided to head back towards the Eiffel Tower to catch the light show. On our way, we stopped by a bar to use the toilets and to grab some beers.

Be warned that Parisians serve beer in a stupid way. Instead of pouring off the foam and topping you off, they just bring you the glass half full of foam so you feel like you're getting ripped off. And you are! Because beers here are friggin' expensive.

After the bar, we rushed to the Eiffel Tower and we got to the light show just in time!

The light show usually lasts about five to ten minutes and starts on the hour. It's just a bunch of flashbulbs so Parisians think it's tacky, but it's a fun and cute celebratory thing for tourists and visitors.

Anyway, after that, we headed back to our hotel to get a full night's rest before tackling an entire day of touring the city.

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