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Trip Report 2 Weeks in France - Paris and Provence - Trip Report

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Hi Everyone! I decided to keep a blog on this trip so I'll be reposting that stuff here as well. Mostly written for my friends/family and I don't have time during the trip to edit for this group so I apologize if there is superfluous information and/or not enough of the impt travel info - please feel free to ask questions about where something is or anything like that! Hope you enjoy. [Sam is my husband, btw]

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We're finally in Paris - given that we booked this trip last July (that's how it goes when you're redeeming miles), it's hard to believe we're actually here!

The trip here was incredibly smooth. Beginning with the tucked away British Airways lounge at Dulles Airport - now I know why the general airport population looks so unkempt. The lounge is amazing, although we were still second class citizens with our Open Skies tickets, as only the actual BA ticket holders can eat the buffet dinner food. But we had enough to eat and drink - small tea sandwiches, cheese, cookies, and free alcohol. I've never gotten on a plane that tipsy before. It was part of my plan to drink enough to fall asleep, but of course I forgot that alcohol actually makes jet lag worse. Oh well.

Open Skies is owned by British Airways and is an all business class airline that is about 60% "Biz seats" that don't recline all the way, and 40% "Biz beds" that do. We had biz seats which are sort of like domestic business class seats but they do recline quite a bit. It's like sleeping in a very nice reclining lounge chair. The flight attendants were the old fashioned kind, right down to the little french hats and the "would you like a warm towel?" Awesome, I could definitely get used to this. The food was wonderful and we ate it all despite being full from the food we had in the lounge.

3 hours of sleep and a warm croissant later and we had landed! Orly Airport is another perk of flying Open Skies. I have never been through CDG but customs and luggage pickup at Orly was a breeze. We were able to buy the Paris Museum Pass there too, and the very kind people at the info desk took one look at our luggage and suggested a cab, which was the right choice and not nearly as expensive as we'd imagined.

Sam was the hero of the day - carrying two extremely heavy bags up four (more like six although it was advertised as four) flights of narrow curvy old stairs to our apartment in the St. Germain area of Paris in the 6th Arr. We phoned our landlord who, in his delightful accent, said he was "outside paris" and would "come tomorrow." No problem, we didn't need him, the apartment is perfect - clean and small and cozy and with a little balcony.

In order to save myself from the temptation of a nap, we went out to walk around the area. We are only two blocks from the Seine, so we strolled along there and then walked south a bit looking for a cafe to get some breakfast (or lunch? honestly we had no idea what time of day it was or what meal we should be eating at this point, only that we were hungry). Now, anyone reading this probably knows that Sam and I are really really into food. And that was one of the things we were most excited for on this trip. However, even we were not prepared for the insane array of food everywhere you turn. The streets are filled with an overwhelming number of sidewalk cafes crowded with people all facing the street of course, snack shops with sandwiches as long as your arm, tea salons, ice cream stores, and street market stands selling cheese, fresh fruit, and rotisserie chicken.

In our jet-lagged haze we found the decision even harder than usual. We first sat down at a cafe on or near Rue de Buci and then discovered with my terrible french that breakfast was no longer being served (it was 12:05). So we went to a cafe/bar/restaurant next door where I was able to get a mushroom omelette and Sam a "croque norwegiene" with smoked salmon. I was able to order orange juice and hot chocolate all in French, but then when Sam wanted water my brain turned off and I told him to just order it in English. Of course the waiter understood, and was quite patient with us. After that we just wandered around the streets getting lost, stopping every few seconds to read a menu or pop into a boulangerie or a patisserie. We are constantly pointing things out to each other, usually with our mouths open in awe at what we are seeing. It's sensory overload here, but in a good way.

I hope we are awake enough to take advantage of the relatively nice weather, as there might not be more for awhile. Perhaps a boat cruise on the Seine or a visit to the Eiffel tower? I'll update later!

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