Saturday, May 31, 2008

December 26

We left bright and early this morning for Paris. We took the TGV, which was an interesting experience. Once arriving in Paris, I let my troops down as a tour guide. I knew where the hotel was and where the train station was, but I failed to realize the importance of knowing how one finds their way between the two. It was an interesting journey to say the least. Upon first arrival in a new city, one is at their most vulnerable state. I am always a bit disoriented and a little stressed at first and it is very obvious that one is a tourist when they are dragging along a suitcase. I always feel like easy prey for thieves or con artists. This was very stressful for me when I felt responsible for the safety, comfort, enjoyment, and general well being of four of my loved ones. Eventually, with the assistance of an old French lady, we made our way through a slightly seedy neighborhood. The woman ushered us through the gate at the metro stop and told us it was free and to get off at the next stop to find our hotel. In retrospect, I realized that by “free” the woman meant that we were entering through the exit and riding the metro without tickets. This is slightly illegal, but I was a bit oblivious at that point. Words cannot express the shear relief I felt when we finally managed to make it to the hotel.

Our hotel was located in Montmartre right at the foot of Sacre Cœur. It was a fun location to be. We spent the afternoon and evening getting a feel for the area and resting up and making our plans for the rest of our visit. After dark, my mom, sister and I walked down the street to see the Moulin Rouge, the cafe from the movie Amelie, and the red light district after dark. It was really neat, but I'm glad my grandparents stayed at the hotel. I think it may have been a little too shocking for them.