Monday, November 18, 2013

A Dream Realized

Pages from Jan's Travel Journal: February 21, 2009 

It was Saturday, February 21, 2009 when I got my first glimpse of Paris. I couldn't believe that we had truly arrived! It was was like a fairy tale to me. Darcy's move to France had created a void in our lives. She is the baby of the family, and we had suddenly become empty-nesters! It was quite an adjustment. Craig and I had quickly decided that her year of study abroad was our golden opportunity to visit the land of my dreams. We naively thought that we would never get another chance like this. It was very exciting to be making plans for our visit. Our first step, of course, was to obtain our passports. I highly recommend that if you ever entertain even the merest thought of taking a trip outside your country of residence, get your passport early! Fortunately, we had allowed plenty of time. I say "fortunately" because my passport failed due to a clerical error and I had to begin the process all over again. But at last our plans were made, passports arrived, our hotels reserved, plane tickets purchased. We were really, truly, GOING TO FRANCE!

March is not the optimal time of year to visit France. Especially early March. But due to work schedules and other concerns, this was determined to be the best time for us to get away. The two flights were uneventful, which was wonderful, since I am a nervous flyer. The longest flight I had experienced before this journey was an 8 1/2 hour trip between Honolulu and Dallas. The 10 hour flight to Paris was mind-numbing. It numbed other parts of our anatomies as well! We both attempted to sleep on the plane, but neither of us had much luck in that endeavor. Darcy planned to meet us in Paris, where we would do a bit of sightseeing before making our way to Orléans . Upon landing at Charles de Gaulle airport it was wonderful to see her smiling face and to immediately be steered toward an airport cafe where we experienced our first French pastries and coffee. The café crème was a delight! And don't let the cream fool you into thinking this was a wimpy, watered-down cup of java. It was strong, and provided just the jolt my jet-lagged system needed. 

We were soon on our way to the center of Paris! The drive from the airport was a bit congested. The view - well, I may as well have been back home in Wichita! The scenery was your typical industrial park view of factories and office buildings. However, my disappointment soon dissolved into delight as we began to enter the outskirts of the venerable old city. The architecture rapidly changed, and soon we were truly in Paris! We crossed a river OMG THE SEINE! and then, as the taxi rounded a corner, there before us stood the Arc de Triomphe! I literally had tears in my eyes as I realized that my dream had indeed come true. I was so completely in awe of everything around me, that I forgot to take pictures! I did manage to snap a quick photo of the famous monument before we turned toward the street on which our hotel was located. I had researched Paris hotels in our price range, and had settled on the Grand Hotel Leveque, which is located on the popular pedestrian street of Rue Cler, a beautiful cobblestone avenue that is lined with cafes, restaurants, shops, and hotels. We happily settled into our triple room, which even had a large bathroom (I had been warned many times in articles and blogs to beware the tiny Parisian bathrooms). After a short rest, we set out to explore the City of Light. 

The Arc de Triomphe. My first photo of Paris.

A view on Rue Cler from our hotel window.

Travel Tip: Carry a purse or bag that can be worn cross-body. Your bag will be much more secure, and you will have your hands free for taking photos.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Beautiful photo of Rue Cler!