Didn’t arrive in Paris until Monday afternoon, but I thought it best to start with the first day of travel on Sunday. Mom and Dad took me to lunch then dropped me off at LAX.
Checking in was no problem. First plane to London Heathrow on an Air New Zealand flight, then a British Airways flight to Paris. Checked in one large black suitcase with red patterned fabric tied through one of the handles, hoping it would distinguish it somewhat from the others. I brought a large tote with my ipad, camera, and headphones with me on the plane. This tote would be the purse I’d use throughout my stay, though I wished I’d brought a smaller purse later on.
Sat in an aisle seat next to a stubbly Bear Grylls/Bradley Cooper who wore flip flops. After the hilarious in-flight safety video, Bear Bradley turned to me beaming and said (with adorable British accent), “That was brilliant.”
The flight went well, despite my feet swelling. Getting them back into my Frye’s was torture. Slept for most of it and ate nothing but crackers and fruit and gorged on water.
Arrived at Heathrow on schedule Monday afternoon and took a bus to Terminal 1 to catch the next flight. Slept for most of that one too. After picking up my baggage, bought a ticket for the RER B to Paris. Helped a young couple find their next stop and another woman traveling solo with how to read the metro map. It was like I’d never left, no, I was only returning to a place I once called home.
Got off at St. Michel and took the best exit that spat me out onto the wet Boulevard Saint Germain. Found my lodging quite easily, the warm and luxurious Odeon Saint Germain, a 4 star hotel near the Metro Odeon stop. The reception area was a large wooden desk behind which a skinny young man named Thomas checked me in. I greeted him in French but the transaction was mostly in English, I was still a bit nervous about using my French about important matters like hotel reservations.
He showed me the lounge area, the well-stocked honesty bar, all while carrying my large suitcase. He carried it to the first floor (note: in most hotels or buildings there, there’s the ground floor, then first floor, second, etc). From there he put me and the suitcase in an elevator the size of a phone booth and I got off at the fourth floor. My room was cozy and lovely and looked into the courtyard between adjacent buildings. He showed me some of the features of the room and bid me goodnight. I thanked him profusely to which he said in okay English, “It is…my nature.” I forgot to tip him and I still feel badly about it.
Unpacked most of my clothes (I didn’t bring too much), and then went out for a walk. Walked down St. Michel and had a café noisette (espresso with bit of cream) in a café nearby the Notre Dame.
People watched for a while, planned out the next couple days in bullet form in my small notebook. On the way back, bought a sandwich (chicken and veg on a baguette), some chips, and more water and ate that for dinner in the hotel room. Tomorrow: Musée d’Orsay.