Paris Honeymoon Diary: Day 1

Posted: 17th June 2008 by Luc "Sandman" G. in Life

As indicated in an earlier post, we had decided to go to Paris for our honeymoon. We were both excited to go to the city of lights. Erin had gone a decade earlier and always wanted to go back. She also had told her mom long ago that she would go back there for her honeymoon, so I had to oblige. For me, I’ve always wanted to go to Paris to see the sights, with a strong yearning to go to the Louvre to see the ancient egyptian, roman and greek exhibits. We figured out a few months earlier that we could make it financially work, so off to Paris we went.

We were flying out of Montreal, and my parents had nicely agreed to drive us to the airport from Ottawa. The drive to Montreal was spent talking about the wedding and about what we were going to do in France. We arrived at the airport around 5:30pm, we grabbed some supper, I grabbed a last smoke and we waited in line to go through security. It was a very long lineup and it took us close to 45 minutes to finally go through the security checkpoint. We waited at the gate for a few hours, boarded at 9:20pm and our flight departed on time at 9:45.

I had never flown at night, so I gazed out the window often, looking at the small pockets of lights emanating from the small towns and cities that we flew over. Once we got to the ocean I could even make out a couple of ocean liners on the sea. I kept my nicotine fits at bay with some Nicorette gum and fell asleep while watching Mad Money on the plane’s screens. I slept for maybe 45 minutes when I was suddenly woken by the shrill screams of a woman at the back of the plane. She was screaming screams of panic at the top of her lungs. A few seconds later one of the stewardesses asked on the intercom if there was a doctor on board. Still half asleep and remembering the high number of old people on the plane, my first thoughts were that someone had passed away. After a minute or two the screams stopped. Both Erin and I looked back but we couldn’t see anything. To do this we’re not sure what happened. Maybe it was just someone having a panic attack. We’ll never know.

We landed in Paris at 9:45am (local time), 6 and a half hours after leaving Montreal. We couldn’t leave the plane immediately as paramedics had to be brought on board first. Finally off the plane, we passed through the security checkpoint and gathered our luggage. With our luggage in hand, a security guard came out and asked all of us in the terminal, a good 1000 people, to back up and go against the far wall. It seems that someone had left a suspicious package near the exit and that we couldn’t leave until the investigated. First a screaming woman on the plane, now the possibilities of a bomb at the airport. I thought to myself that this was a great start to our honeymoon. 30-40 minutes later we were finally allowed to leave. We had to walk to another terminal where we had to wait in another line to buy Metro tickets. 20 minutes later, tickets finally in hand, we made our way down to the Metro stop and took the train for the city.

We at on the train, tired from a long trip with little sleep, watching all the graffiti outside whiz by, while listening to a local woman argue with a metro security guard as to why she didnt have the right ticket for the train. Once we got to our desired station, we lugged our luggage up and down many flights of stairs in order to transfer to the metro line that would take us to another metro station, where again we lugged our luggage up and down many stairs to finally catch the metro that would take us to our hotel. We had looked on the internet to plan which metros we needed to take, so there was little guessing game involved. But the metro internet site was not correct on one thing: which stop to get off for our hotel. We got off the metro at the Voltaire station, thinking the hotel was just a block away. I looked up at a building and saw the address as being 133. Hour hotel was 233. We couldn’t be too far from it I thought. I was very wrong. Building numbers don’t increase as quickly as they do here in North America. I discovered that in Paris, one city block goes up by maybe 1 or 2 numbers address wise. We had to walk over 2 kilometers before reaching our hotel.

Drenched in sweat, we tried to check in only to be told we couldn’t check into our room before 2:30pm. It was 12:30. All we were looking forward to was a nice shower and a little nap, but that now had to wait. We talked with the concierge a little while. I pointed out the main tourist attractions in Paris on a metro map he had, and informed us that we were but 2 blocks away from a main metro station. Needless to say, I swore at myself for that one.

We stored our luggage in a storage area, I cleaned myself up in the hotel’s public washroom and we headed out to grab some lunch. By this time we were both starving. Next to the hotel was a small mom & pop burger joint so we decided to stop there. We both devoured one of the most delicious hamburgers either of us had ever tasted while watching the Simpsons in french on the flatscreen they had next to our table. Satisfied and a little rested, we decided to walk up and down the streets near the hotel to scope out the various stores, bakeries, grocers and chocolateers that were nearby. We also made our way to a park snapped a few pictures and headed back to the hotel as it was 2:15.

Upon our return we were able to check in. Once in the room, we unpacked a little before taking a nap. At this point we had been awake for almost 24 hours and we were tired. I placed a wakeup call to make sure we didn’t sleep too much. We napped for a little an hour, showered and unpacked a little more. Not wanting to waste the day, we looked at the metro map given to us by the concierge and decided to head to the closest sight that we wanted to see. That happened to be the Pere Lachaise cemetery. This is the cemetery where Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Marcel Marceau and other famous people are buried. We got to the cemetery at 5:15pm and we walked around looking for a few famous grave sites. We never did find them, as we were ushered out of the cemetery at 6pm as it was closing.

Trying to keep a good eating schedule, we headed to a cafe near the cemetery for some supper. We stopped at the Pere Lachaise Brasserie where we both had a panini (mine was a ground beef panini that was out of this world). We sat on the restaurant’s terrace, doing some people watching and talking about our first day in Paris and what we wanted to do the following day. After the brasserie, Erin bought herself some vanilla ice cream (or glace as they call it in France) at a ice cream parlor called Ice on Ice. I had a spoonful and quickly realized why for years Erin raved about how delicious ice cream in Paris was.

Our bellies stuffed, our eyes tired and 8pm showing on the clock we decided to head back to the hotel and get a good night’s sleep. On our way back we stopped by the local grocer and picked up some drinks for the hotel room. We laid in bed watching some French news shows and quickly fell asleep, resting for our busy day ahead.

> Photo Gallery Link: Pere Lachaise cemetary

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