First Full Day In Paris
Bonjour from Sunny Paris.
After blogging early last evening we enjoyed the French Pastries that we purchased in the afternoon along with some wine. We didn't have dinner as we intentionally had the late lunch. We also finished organizing our items in the room.
It didn't take long to fall asleep as we were tired and a little wine is always helpful too. Even the sugar from the pastries didn't offset any of this. We didn't stay up late enough to see the Eiffel Tower all lit up in the evening. We didn't hear any noise from our room either from inside or outside the hotel and the bed is very comfortable. We each got a sufficient amount of sleep. Keith was up first at about 4:15 AM followed by Anne Marie about twenty minutes later. A view of the Eiffel Tower at 4:45 AM from the terrace of our room.
Our room package includes breakfast either at the restaurant or in the room. We thought we would enjoy breakfast on the terrace with such pleasant morning weather and we took in the beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower. We kept it simple with cereal, fruit and coffee. The breakfasts do arrive with bread, croissants and other pastries. We shared two of items. We were looking up at the sun for the photos.
We made our way from the hotel to the Seine River and walked along the river over to the Ile de Cite where Paris was established. We had beautiful views of the river, landscape and numerous bridges and river boats. We crossed the Port Neuf, the the oldest bridge in Paris. Our walk included many sites; Palais de Justice (former palace now complex of lower courts, Saitne-Chapelle with its magnificent stained windows, Marche aux Fleur (flower market), and we walked by several charming old restaurants, cafes and stores. As we continued we visited Notre Dame and enjoyed views of tree lined quays and mansions.
We proceeded over a small bridge over to the Ile St. Louis. We walked this area for quite awhile and had lunch at Cafe St. Regis where we enjoyed delicious salads, bread, and wine (Keith).
Our return included a stop at the Jardin des Tuileries (a beautiful park) and today marked the first day of a festival. We proceeded to Avenue Des Champs Elysees and walked through a large park. We made some stops along the way and then we walked on Avenue Montaigne. This area is known for its high end designer shops. We stopped at the Hotel Plaza Athenee where we stayed fourteen years ago with our children following a cruise Crystal Symphony. The hotel is easily recognized by its red awnings and flower boxes outside each window of the front of the hotel.
As if this was not enough, after taking a short rest in our room, we went out on another walk. In total, we walked close to 15 miles.
This evening we will dine at a restaurant called Les Marches. We will post all about this tomorrow.
TODAY'S THOUGHT FOR THE DAY.....
Since the first of terrorist attacks took place in Paris a lot of the coverage we receive back home has been about this and other related attacks. We are reminded that while we must all be vigilant in our efforts to stand-up to these and all related attacks we can't give into these terrible acts by changing our habits and that includes tourism. After all, giving into senseless and horrific acts of terrorism means that we are letting those who commit this war on humanity succeed. We must stay united.
Anne Marie & Keith
The flight to Paris was on a Boeing 787-9 aircraft. This aircraft made its debut on the airline we fly in October of last year. In November it began international service. From what we have read because of its superior fuel efficiency it allows for more profitable international flights opening up new routes as well as flying longer distances. The airline offered three cabin services; business class, premium economy and economy. Total capacity is 285 seats. We believe the aircraft made its debut in 2014 with another airline.
We were fortunate to fly Business Class.
Unfortunately the flight took off about ninety minutes late. It was a full flight and they did ask if four people would give up their seats on the flight in coach as the flight was oversold. There were some issues with the catering of the flight which causes most of the delay.
The good news is that once airborne the pilot made up a good portion of the flying time and we arrived about forty minutes late.
We each got some sleep with Keith falling asleep faster then Anne Marie and sleeping a bit longer.
Our hotel accommodations included transfers between the airport and hotel and hotel and airport. As part of the service, we were met at the gate by a VIP representing the hotel who escorted us through fast-track Customs, to the luggage carrousel and with luggage in hand took us to where the driver was waiting. He was very courteous and professional and really made the arrival easy for us.
The driver was very similar. He was very professional and courteous and we made it to the hotel in only 35 minutes.
We arrived to the Shangri-la Paris Hotel. This is our first time time staying here and it was highly recommended by someone who is very seasoned traveler.
The hotel is housed in a renovated mansion that was built in 1896 for Prince Roland Bonaparte who is a great- nephew of Napoleon.
This hotel is exquisite and several of its rooms offer stunning views of the Eiffel Tower. Initially, we booked a duplex suite with a view of the Eiffel Tower. The hotel was kind enough to upgrade us to a duplex suite with a 323 square suite terrace overlooking both the city of Paris and also the Eiffel Tower. We will stay at the hotel for seven nights.
Upon arrival at the hotel we were greeted by two personnel one whom took our luggage and the other person escorted us to the reception desk. We were assisted by one of two reception personnel who went through all of the particulars with us, and once the check-in was complete escorted us to our suite. She showed us around the interior of the suite and then took us outside to the terrace overlooking the Eiffel Tower. Keith took a couple of photos and did not use the telephoto lens just to give you a feel as to how close we are to the Eiffel Tower. Our luggage arrived to the room shortly after she left and we also received a followup call from the concierge.
We went out on three walks this afternoon. First walk was for a late lunch which we had at a charming restaurant called Citrus Etoile. We could tell we picked a nice place as most of the people dining were locals. We really enjoyed the friendliness and professionalism of the entire staff from the manager to the assistant waiters. Food was great and we each had a three course lunch with each course having three choices. We both had salmon for the first course, a very tasty veal as our second course and for Keith it was cheese and salad for dessert and Anne Marie and parts of three different scoops of sorbet.
Our second walk was to continue to get fresh air and to pick up water for the room. Mission accomplished. Final mission was to go to a shop to bring back some pastry. We had a couple of places in mind but after speaking with the concierge (well three of them) we went to a pastry shop within a ten minute walk of the hotel. Between the three of them they had given us five different recommendations of items that they all like. We all laughed when they said but don't have them all at once. When we got to the shop the owner was very helpful. Not all items recommended were available as they change would they prepare each day. She was familiar with the concierges from the hotel. We ended up picking up two items to share. We have not tasted them yet so we will be sure to share our thoughts tomorrow.
We want to close with an observation. Too often it is very easy to generalize and say all French people are this or all American people are that or even within the states to say if you are from Texas or New York or Tennessee you are this or that. The reality is that we are all individuals and not robots so we all do not act in identical ways.
We have met so many nice people today and that not only includes personnel who guided us and drove us to the hotel, or the terrific members of the hotel staff or the very nice people at the restaurant. This included the woman at the pastry shop and the man on the street who could tell we might be lost who took his time to give us directions to the restaurant to even the person at the small market where we bought the water. We know not everyone we meet will be this nice but we certainly have met lots of very helpful people today who helped make our first day in Paris special.
We also learned to speak slowly because if we spoke French (Keith speaks a little) we could not possibly pick up on all that is said if it is spoken quickly so we can't expect the same thing. We learned that today when we asked for 10 additional coffee capsules for the room and probably asked the question quickly. We got a nice chuckle when we arrived back to the room and in line of ten capsules ten coffee cups and saucers were placed in the room.
Today's Thought For The Day.....
As mentioned on our welcome post, we selected Paris as part of our 40th Wedding Anniversary celebration because we consider it to be a romantic city. Examples of this are found all throughout Paris including: its elegant and cozy dining venues, superb cuisine including wonderful wine and champagne, the spoken language, its history, the architecture of its buildings and monuments, the lights at night and the ability to take nice long walks in the daylight and at night. There is so much to love about Paris. We also loved our time in Washington, DC where we met, were engaged and started our family. It was Pierre Charles L'Enfant who designed the basic plan for Washington, DC. Although some of the plans changed several key components remain and it reflects characteristics found in Paris and other cities in France.
Anne Marie & Keith
Paris - Here We Come
Today is travel day. We are posting this before the second of our two flights which is the long haul flight over to Paris.
The regional airport hotel worked out well for us. The room is on the interior of the hotel with a view from the window of the hotel's atrium. This is a good approach as one doesn't hear any of the noise from the airport.
After checking out of the hotel, we took the shuttle over to the airport. The actual distance is short but there no easy way to walk over to the airport as there are no pedestrian walkways.
Check-in at the airline was easy with no-one ahead of us. The same was true as we utilized Pre TSA✓ which enabled us to quickly make our way through security. We went directly to the lounge for the airline we use. We had a light breakfast knowing that our flight to the hub that serves our airline would not include breakfast since the actual flying time is less then forty-five minutes.
While walking to our gate Keith thought he spotted a plane that had just arrived that had the initials for TWA. When the plane pulled up to the gate sure enough it was. We remember American Airlines purchasing TWA back in the 1990's and eventually consolidating its feet and operations with American. First time we saw the plane with the hybrid American/TWA lettering. Evidently, this is to honor the predecessor airlines that joined the airline vis-a-via mergers and acquisitions.
Our flight was oversold and they were offering four passenger's money if they moved to another flight. Boarding commenced ahead of schedule.
After getting settled on the aircraft Keith looked up to see one of our United States Senators board the plane. The flight left on-time and arrived on schedule to the hub airport.
The flight was uneventful and once we disembarked the plane and took the airport train to the international terminal.
We read and wrote at the airline club lounge until we had lunch.
We wil post again tomorrow evening from Paris.
TODAY'S THOUGHT FOR THE DAY........
We are very fortunate to live at a time when we have the opportunity to travel to many places around the world because of air travel. We recognized that air travel is not as glamorous as it once was. However, we are reminded that by making air travel more affordable it has increased demand to justify the large aircraft that are necessary to provide easy access and reach to numerous cities and countries throughout the world.
Paris here we come.
Anne Marie & Keith
A NEW ADVENTURE BEGINS
Tomorrow we fly to Paris, France. As we did last month when we flew to Los Angeles as part of our family adventure of Disneyland and the Crystal Serenity Cruise we are staying at a hotel located on the site of our regional airport.
We take this approach when we have an early morning flight. Keith learned many years ago, while traveling extensively for business, that from time-to-time things can go terribly wrong which could cause significant delays getting to places.
We prefer being driven to/from the airport by private vehicle and schedule pickup much earlier then required in case something goes wrong with the pickup, drive or at the airport. We do have Global Entry allowing for Pre TSA✓.
With an early morning flight we would rather not have a driver pick us up so early in the morning when the driver might be sleepy and make a mistake (e.g., falling asleep at the wheel). We also reside in a community with thousands of deer on site who are out and about at night.
Our pickup was in the afternoon and the driver arrived to our house on-schedule. The drive was uneventful and we arrived to the hotel in less time then usual since traffic was light due to the Memorial Day Holiday.
Check-in was a breeze and the front desk person remembered us from last month. A view of the lobby.
We enjoyed dinner at the hotel and then watched a television series on Keith's computer using Hulu. We are in the fourth season of a show that has already completed its seventh season. Who would have thought five to ten years ago that we would be watching a television show on the computer rather then on the television at the hotel.
Tomorrow morning we will take the first of two flights as we make our way to Paris.
Before we close with today's thought for the day we wanted to let you know that we continue to update and expand our Cruising Matters Web Site. We created this site to share our love of travel and cruising. The information is designed for first time cruisers and those who are looking for other experiences such as taking a full World Cruise.
TODAY'S THOUGHT FOR THE DAY........
We love to travel and are grateful for the opportunity to visit many places around the world. When we married forty years ago, we never thought we would travel as extensively as we have. We are truly humbled by these experiences.
Whether you travel a few miles or thousands of miles, there's much to discover. The key is open your eyes, focus on both small and large details, make time to smell the roses, don’t pre-judge others, and look closely at all that surrounds you including those items literally in front of your own nose.
Anne Marie & Keith
WELCOME TO OUR PARIS BLOG
Originally, we planned to spend a few days in Paris followed by a round trip Paris river cruise on the Seine.
Unfortunately, the river cruise was cancelled. Instead of cancelling the entire trip we decided to go forward and extend our stay in Paris.
Keith visited Paris for the first time in the early1990's on a business trip. We visited Paris for pleasure in 2003 as part of a post cruise stay with our family following our first Crystal Symphony cruise. We stayed at the Plaza Athenee and it was during the record breaking heat wave.
We will spend close to a week in Paris and plan to blog each day. We arrive to the city on May 31. We will begin to blog on May 29.
We hope that you enjoy our blog.
TODAY'S THOUGHT FOR THE DAY.....
This year marks 40 years of marriage and we plan to celebrate this milestone throughout the year. This included our recently completed family get-away to Disneyland followed by the cruise of the Golden State. We consider Paris to be one of the most romantic cities in the world which is one of the reasons we chose to visit.
Later this year we continue the celebration of our marriage by spending a few days in Washington, DC. This is the city where we first met, became engaged, began our marriage and where our two children; Jennifer and Eric were born.
Anne Marie & Keith