Our flight left mid-day from Phoenix on the 8th and we connected in Dallas. We get to fly Business Class and the lie flat seats because of all the miles I built up flying for business over the years. So we both slept some making the time change adjustment much easier. We landed in Paris around noon on Wednesday the 9th, and caught a train into the city with a station only a block from our hotel, the Paris Opera Hilton. The facilities at the hotel were great, and the quality of the room was OK, but the room was very small.
We arrived at the hotel around 1:30 pm and our room wasn’t available yet. So we dropped off our bags and walked the area for a few hours, and it was great fun just seeing the area and the people on the streets. After getting our room we went for a drink at the hotel bar (at least Leslie did) then across the street to a curbside cafe with outdoor seating named the “Hippopotamus”. The food was OK, but the environment was great.
Day two we started slow then got on one of those “Hop-on, Hop-off” buses that drive around the city with narration in English. We had a walking food tour scheduled for late afternoon, so we never got off the bus for any other activities until we had to get going for the food tour. We had to walk about 2 miles to get to the tour, but that was fun as walking is a great way to feel a city, especially one like Paris. Once we got to the food tour we found out it was just me and Leslie. The guide was a young woman and she also had a trainee with her who was very friendly and knowledgeable. But this turned out to be the worst food tour we have ever had, and we’ve done them 10 or 12 times in other cities in the past. The good part was we walked up the hills to the Montemarte area of Paris and the area is very interesting and artsy. It also provides great views of the city. The problem was this was a “food” tour that only had one food stop and that was just for bread and cheese! We were done after 2 1/2 hours even though we talked all the time because there was no more food to stop and check out. After this we walked the 1 mile back to our hotel and grabbed a light meal in the bar there. Later that evening we got antsy and went back out around 10:30 pm to a sidewalk cafe across the street. There we ordered a small pizza and met two mid-twenties ladies there having a drink themselves and just chatted for another hour or two having a great time.
Day 3 we also started slow after out late night the night before. We had tickets for the Eiffel Tower that afternoon and the Moulin Rouge (we thought) late that evening. So when we finally got started we made the two mile walk to the Eiffel Tower area and hung out there before our scheduled tour. There we met a nice couple from Canada who had just gotten engaged a few days before, and talked with them for about an hour. The actual tour of the tower was helped a lot by Leslie getting “skip the line” tickets so we just got on right away. While this is a terrible tourist trap, and there are way too many people and vendors hawking their merchandise, it is still iconic Paris and the views and history make it a must do and frankly well worth the time and effort to do it.
Our show at the Moulin Rouge was scheduled for 11:30 that evening but we got there around 10:30. We splurged on high end tickets with great seating and special service. As we got a special greeting from a staff member, he looked at our tickets and said “excuse me but these tickets were for last night”. Needless to say we were shocked and momentarily devastated. But he went to the manager and they agreed to let us in and while we didn’t get the special seats we originally paid for, our seats were still great. We had a fantastic time, the show was great. Leslie liked it even more than me. The actual dancing was only OK, but the pageantry, costumes, staging, ambiance and beautiful people made it a wonderful and memorable experience.
We finally prepared to leave the next morning, and it was great. We both agreed we loved Paris and should have spent more time there. But on to more cities in Europe!