Monday, February 13, 2012

I know a little place in Paris...

Becky at the Arc d'Triomph

My lovely ensemble
...and let me explain this lovely ensemble:
it was cold in Paris, colder than it has been at home this winter.  Cold enough that if it were indeed possible to freeze one's posterior OFF, mine would have been considerably smaller by the end of the weekend!
1. Very goofy hat.  There was no mirror. Michelle promised me that it looked 'cute'.  Lesson to be learned: never buy a hat without a mirror!
2. Warm but very puffy down jacket.
3. Scarf, essential for keeping the wind from sweeping down one's neck.
4. Purse with identification and essential Tools of Purchasing, safely tucked under coat (thereby adding bulk, but safe from Pickpockets and ForgetfulBecky.
5. Knitting Bag Of Death, or KBOD, so named because of the frequent protrusion of multiple sharp and pointy sticks.
6. Fingerless wool mittens over wool gloves, also essential.
7.Warm sweater over warm long-sleeved T-shirt, thereby adding even more bulk to an already BulkyBecky.
8. Serviceable but very unfashionable jeans.
9. Sturdy, unattractive, but comfortable walking shoes, very dusty by day's end.
Yes, I did indeed go out in public looking like this! was worth it.  What a lovely city Paris is, amazingly, unbelieveably quiet, as I had been forewarned.  I cannot imagine that I can find anything to say about it that has not already been said, and far better than could I, but I will make an effort to tell you how I found it. 
It is a city of beautiful women and handsome men and adorable, indulged, but well-behaved and happy children.  It is a city of black clothing, long, narrow wool coats and short skirts with tights or leggings and tall boots, and furs worn unapologetically, whether in full-length coats or as trim around a child's hood.  It is a city of hats of all descriptions, and yes they do wear berets, and of long scarves, knit or woven, wrapped twice around throats or doubled and looped to keep out the brisk, cold winds.
It is a city of musical language:"Bon jour!" "Bonsoir, madame!" "Merci beaucoups!" "Bonne nuit!" "Pardonnez moi..." and all seemingly sung rather than spoken.  I found the people to be uncharacteristically friendly and helpful, the streets well-kept, the avenues broad, the vistas unrivalled by any city I had seen before, and the melding of ancient and modern nearly seamless. 
It is a city of bakeries and confectioneries and tiny cafes that seat perhaps twenty diners, of wine and smiles and good, good food.

Michelle, Landstuhl station
 We arrived by train late Friday night, and taxied to our hotel, passing the great landmarks of Paris.  Our room was quite chilly! but we were warmly welcomed.  We slept a bit later than we'd planned on Saturday morning, made ready for the day, ate le petit dejeuner in the hotel dining room, then headed out afoot to explore. 

The Eiffel Tower, and it was a much-farther walk than it looks!

Michelle on the Tower, with Paris spread below her

View of Paris from the Eiffel Tower

Paris and the Seine

Grandma on the tower...I promised you, Robby!
 Our first destination was, of course, the Eiffel Tower.  We rode the elevator to the top, but walked the stairs from the second level to the hundred stairs!

Ferris Wheel and Obelisk

Later in the day, we walked along the Champs Elysees, visited the Tuileries, rambled along the streets of the city.  We enjoyed a wonderful lunch at one of Paris's many tiny cafes, where the waiter sat with us to explain how to find our way to the Arc de'Triomph, and a waitress exclaimed at my knitting and showed me the lovely, long, long black garter-stitch scarf that was knit for her by her grandmother.
Sunset behind the Tower, from the Tuileries
We walked, and walked, and we walked some more, and found around every corner a new and lovely view.   In late afternoon, we rode the subway to within a short walk of the hotel, and prepared for our evening.
Paris at Night from the Seine
Michelle had planned a river-boat tour of the Seine for that evening, and it was so relaxing and beautiful that I have no words to describe it.  I wish that my photos had turned out better so that I could show it.  The one really good picture we got is here. 

The Traveling Socks visited the Tower, too!

We were this high from the ground

Back to our hotel, weary and ready for a good night's rest afterward.  More to come soon.

A partial view from our hotel room.  Click to make the image larger,
and to see the lovely etched window in the building behind.

Michelle at the tower

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