Saturday, October 22, 2011
We got up in the middle of the day, probably around 10 or 11 Paris time. We were flying over the English Channel, between Britain and France. It was mostly sunny, with some light clouds. We pulled into Paris right around 2, to quite a bit of haze. We were trying to see the city from the plane, but couldn't make out much of anything other than faint shapes.
The line for immigration was incredibly short, thankfully. We had booked a 6pm river cruise, and were slightly worried we might miss it. For some reason, the baggage claim took forever. There was hardly anyone waiting for bags, there were hardly any planes at our terminal - there just seemed to be no good reason. Justin was getting frustrated and started to bitch and moan, which Crystal is always a big fan of. But it seemed to work, as the bags both came out just after the complaining.
We went into the cab line, which was fortunately empty. The traffic from the airport was minimal (best as we could tell). We had no idea where we were going, but knew our hotel was near the Eiffel Tower, so we kept our eyes out for that. Interestingly, we actually went through the big roundabout at the Arc de Triomphe, an unexpected bonus. It was much bigger than we expected. We crossed the river and were at our hotel in no time.
We booked our hotel a long time ago. We looked for something close to the Eiffel Tower, with a view, that wouldn't break the bank. So we decided on the Hotel Relais Bosquet. The hotel was very small, but very nice. Between us and our bags, we took up the entire elevator. Our room was on the fifth floor, and at first we were worried the view wouldn't be there. But it actually was as advertised - very visible out a big window/small balcony.
We left our room to walk over the Champ du Mars, as our 6pm cruise was set to leave from Port Suffren, just north of the Eiffel Tower. It was nice to see in person after seeing it in so many pictures, movies, and everything else. It was also much larger than we expected. We walked around from all sides, and found where our boat was leaving from. Now all we needed was an ATM machine, but we couldn't find anything anywhere. For a tourist area that large with that many people, it was shocking that there were no ATMs. We gave up and went back to our cruise.
The cruise was a sightseeing cruise of the Seine, but we were up at the front with about 20 other people for a "degustation" cruise. This was both good and bad. The good part was that we got to taste 3 different champagnes and hear about how they are grown, fermented, etc. The bad part was that we didn't hear the description of everything we saw (as the other passengers did), since we had a lady telling us about the champagne. The views were great, as the sun was going down and the lighting was perfect. It was freezng though, so hopefully people reading this will be doing it from somewhere warm.
After the cruise, we walked back to the hotel and got cleaned up for dinner. We had looked for a number of restaurants near our hotel, figuring we could walk by them and see what looked best. Fate intervened on our behalf, as Le Florimond and Mariette were both full for the night. So we went to Au Petit Sud Ouest, which was a couple blocks from our hotel. The place seemed to focus on duck and goose dishes, with quite a few foie gras dishes.
For appetizers, we got a sauasage platter and fried foie gras with truffle sauce. For our main course, Crystal got a Duck Confit and Justin got a Grilled Duck Breast. We had a nice Bordeaux to go with everything. The dinner was very good and very relaxing - seemed very Paris-ish. After dinner we walked back to the hotel and crashed around midnight - about perfect timing.