From our little Parisian space, three stories high in the 1st arrondissement (we’ve got some serious steps), Paul and I have finally begun our much anticipated French adventure! We are bubbling over with curiosity, but too jet lagged at this very minute to do much about it. We are tired, yet totally intrigued. We are stuck between the physical need to take a nap and the yearning to explore the city waiting just outside the grand and majestic windows of our apartment. We are totally in love with the view and the beautiful breeze. It’s a cool and refreshing 70 degrees today!
We began our long awaited journey to Paris yesterday afternoon. We flew out of Newark airport on Open Skies by British Airways. Open Skies was commonly considered a “boutique” airline which provided passengers with a business class only experience for a business class price. Luckily, for us, the company made a change and this June refurbished the inside of their planes with a new plan and new seating categories: Biz Bed, Prem Plus, and Eco. Thanks to the addition of the Eco seats, we were able to afford a more personalized and intimate flight to Europe. We now believe this is the very best way to get to Paris.
Open Skies serves the Newark to Paris route aboard a 757, a much smaller plane than most transatlantic flights. And while the boarding, the flight itself, and the deplaning were quicker than any other airline we’ve flown with, the turbulence was practically intolerable. For me, that is.
I guess I should stop using the pronoun “we” now since I am the one with the flying anxiety in this relationship. Paul handles turbulence like a roller coaster enthusiast. I’m just waiting for the day he puts both arms in the air and howls with excitement. I, on the other hand, would rather endure a trip to the dentist for a root canal than fly on a plane. I believe I used the phrase, “I’m petrified” quite a few times on this particularly bumpy ride. I also held the hand of the French lady sitting next to me. I’m not kidding either. Paul and I were not assigned seats next to each other. We both sat in aisle seats with Paul sitting directly behind me. Although we considered requesting a change in our seats, I suggested we keep the arrangement as assigned. My logic was that if Paul sat behind me instead of next to me I would have to behave myself and would not be able to bury my head in his lap or grip his arm while whining uncontrollably. It was a good plan and while I didn’t bury my head in to the lap of the lady sitting next to me, I did hold her hand. She held my left hand while Paul held my right hand from behind me. It was the worst turbulence I’ve ever encountered on a plane. The jolting from side to side and that falling feeling…ugh.
When we landed a quick 6 hours after departing Newark, I was relieved and practically in tears. I was so grateful for the lady sitting next to me who spoke little English, but could understand how fearful I was. Her smile and the way she would just put her hand in mine was the most genuine encounter I’ve ever experienced with a stranger. It just goes to show that you don’t need to speak the same language to understand when someone needs your help.
Our plane arrived into Orly airport an hour ahead of schedule and since our iPhones do not work in Europe (thanks a bunch Verizon), we were unable to notify Ray, the apartment owner, of our early arrival. We grabbed a cab and found our apartment with ease. Thankfully, Ray was tracking our flight and met us at the apartment earlier than scheduled.
Our apartment is perfect, and after only being here a few hours, we strongly suggest getting an apartment rather than a hotel when visiting this gorgeous city. We’ve got a small kitchen overlooking a spacious living area, a huge bathroom, floor to ceiling windows, lots of closet space, a washing machine, and a hair dryer that does the job right. I’m extremely thankful for that small miracle.
After taking a short nap and fighting the battle between fatigue and hunger, we took some much needed showers, and headed out to explore the neighborhood. We took a short walk and then returned for our first Parisian meal at the cafe, Le Paname, conveniently located just below our apartment. I had a beautiful salad with crisp veggies topped with a fresh and perfectly cooked piece of salmon while Paul had an equally delicious and crusty sandwich of ham, chicken, egg, and bacon.
Before returning to our new temporary residence, we took a short walk to look for a store where we could purchase some snacks for later. We found an adorable wine shop with a lovely shop owner who spoke English and helped us purchase affordable bottles of wine, olive tapenade, and toasts. It was just what we were looking for.
So here we are, sitting at the window, feet up on the ottoman, indulging in olive tapenade and fighting to keep our eyes open.
We hope to blog as much as possible. Feel free to leave comments and keep in touch with us. Paul will be chronicling the adventure with his camera while I try to put into words what its like to live in Paris.
I’ll end this post with Paul’s words: “Hopefully these pigeons don’t come flying in the window…”