Bonjour from Paris! No, not Paris, Texas! Paris, as in France!
I decided to go to Paris a few months ago after watching the movie, It’s Complicated, and hearing how Meril Streep’s character Jane went to Paris to take a six-day pastry course and ended up living there for a year. After watching the movie for who knows how many times, I found myself enrolling in a two-day bread making course at Le Cordon Bleu. A day later, I received an email response from the legendary culinary institution confirming my enrollment. There was, however, a little hiccup with my credit card company (it placed a hold on the payment as it raised a flag for being an international transaction) and I have not heard back from the school after that so I’m actually not 100% certain that I’m still enrolled, but I didn’t care. I still went ahead and booked a flight to Paris anyway. And that is the reason why I’m here in the City of Lights, blogging away from a little petit Parisian hotel in the lovely 6th Arrondissement neighborhood of Saint Germain!
The flight from Los Angeles to Paris was a breeze. Despite a slight turbulence in several areas, everything went smooth. The in-flight meals in Air France were a lot to be desired (chicken with Dijon mustard sauce sounds so much better on paper than on a plate) but the service was very good. I was particularly impressed with the selections of in-flight movies (they were showing Toy Story 3, Inception, Salt, and many other new releases). Out of pure curiosity, I tried watching The Sex and the City 2 in Japanese but it was so awful that I only got through the first five minutes! They made Miranda sound like the Japanese interpretation of white trash! Everything was lost in translation and I couldn’t stand to watch my favorite girls get butchered like that, even by my own people!
Once I arrived to Charles De Gaulle Airport, I was ushered to a Custom officer who took a quick, two-second glance at my passport and let me through. No paperwork, no “how long are you going to be in the country” questions, nothing. After I collected my luggage, I saw another custom officer who asked me the standard questions in perfect English and after I answered “no” to everything (no, I don’t have $10,000 or have any valuables to claim), they let me through. A second later, I was outside, on the street of Paris, breathing the Parisian air!
From the airport, I took the RER B train to the St. Michel / Notre Dame station, a mere 30-minute train ride. The ride was about 9 Euro. The ticket machine only took coins and since I didn’t have any, I stopped by a nearby kiosk, purchased a pack of candy, and got some change. After I arrived at St. Michel / Notre Dame, I changed the train to Metro Line 4 to Odeon. After I got out to the streets, I had no idea which direction I was suppose to go to get to my hotel, so I just headed to whichever direction I was in the mood for. It turned out that I was going a wrong way (of course) and a kind guy at a magazine stand pointed me to the right direction. The hotel was literally two blocks from the station but I ended up walking for at least 15 minutes, in the rain, until I realized that I was going the opposite way (a very typical of me).
Hirono 0. Paris 1.
After I checked into the hotel – a hotel that received many raving reviews on travel Websites, by the way — I unpacked my luggage and rested a little. I was a bit disappointed with the hotel because the room is very small and there are no lights, expect for a few dim-lit stands, but I’m sure this is a typical of Paris hotels. It’s charming, sure, but there’s no bathtub, no bed stands, nothing. It’s pretty much just a bed, a little desk, and a bathroom in here. Because I’m staying for 10 days, I was updated to a master room of some sort, with extra space with two chairs and a round table, but I’m not sure what’s master about it. But all in all, the staffs were courteous, the room is clean and comfortable, and I have a free WiFi access, so there is nothing to complain about! Oh, and the complimentary toiletries are from L’Occitane! YAY!
I still can’t believe I’m in Paris. I pinch myself every minute to make sure that I’m not just dreaming. And I’m sure I’m going to be pinching myself for a while, until my cheek turns bright red, like pomme (that’s apple, for you and me).
Here’s my first French lesson: Cold in French is “froid” and hot is “chaud,” so naturally, your faucet will say either “F” or “C.” I mistaken “C” as cold so I turned the faucet to “F” and waited for a long time for the water to get hot, until I realized that I went a wrong direction … again.
So far, Hirono 0, Paris 2.
P.S. The two photos you see on top (of the Metro sign and the train station) were taken on my previous trip in 2004. Since it’s raining here, I haven’t had the chance to take any good photos yet … but I thought I’d share a slice of Paris with you!