First day in Paris

Trip Start Oct 14, 2009
Trip End Oct 26, 2009

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Mathilde & Xav's

Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tired from our travels, we slept in a little and then got up and ready for the day.  We had some of Mathilde's homemade bread for breakfast, and Ilya tried Nutella (a delicious chocolate hazelnut spread) for the first time.  We then took a metro to the city center.

Arriving in the center of Paris, we briefly walked through a flower market and then began walking along the Seine River.  We were looking for the entrance to the Bateaux Mouches, river boats that I had taken before.  We had some difficulty finding the Bateaux Mouches, so we ended up buying tickets for a different boat tour, the BatoBus, instead.  One nice thing about the BatoBus tour was that we could hop-on and hop-off at different places of interest.  We got off the boat at the Eiffel Tower stop and purchased some crÍpes for a snack.  We walked across to the Trocadero, which is the best spot for a full view of the Eiffel Tower.  After snapping some photos, we walked back to the base of the Eiffel Tower and assessed our options.  We decided to take the stairs since it was less expensive than the elevators and had a much, much shorter line!  We took the stairs to the second floor of the Eiffel Tower--which was 43 stories, 668 stairs (we didn't actually count; they were marked)!!!  While on the Eiffel Tower, we admired the panoramic view of Paris and read the information available (it is kind of set up like a museum).  We decided not to take the elevator to the summit (for one thing, we would have had to pay more and wait in another line, but we were both also feeling a bit nervous about the heights!), so we walked back down the stairs.  

We then took the BatoBus around the remainder of its loop.  We walked by the front of Notre Dame Cathedral and by Shakespeare and Co., an English bookstore across the street.  We walked into the Latin Quarter, which is full of lively international restaurants.  Each restaurant had a representative standing outside, whose job is to recruit passers-by for his/her restaurant rather than one of the competitors' establishments.  We opted for a snack at a cous cous restaurant with competitive prices.  The service was slow (their recruiter was doing an excellent job, and the place was full), so we had to rush back on the metro in order to meet Mathilde and Xav for dinner at their place at 9:30pm.  

Mathilde and Xav made pasta for dinner and we shared some French wine and great conversation.  We had brought two baguettes to eat with the pasta, but we all forgot about them!  Before heading to bed, we made plans to meet up with Ilya's friend Julie, who was also in Paris, for the next day.      
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