Day one in Paris

My flight from Atlanta to Paris by way of Brussels was not too bad. I must have gone through immigration in Brussels (showed my passport) because when I landed at CDG, I walked off the plane in terminal 2D to the street. I called the Airport Shuttle that I had booked over the internet and they were there to meet me in five minutes. I only had one carry-on bag so I didnít have to wait for luggage, so within fifteen minutes of landing, Iím on my way! We go through Paris via ďMr. Toadís Wild RideĒ the traffic is crazy!! I hang on for dear life and am quite amused at the daring antics of all the drivers. The neighborhood that Iíll call home for one week is lovely. We pull up in front of an old building on Rue Duvivier and Iím let out with my luggage. I cross my fingers and try the front door code...yes!! Iím inside. Now through the lobby to the courtyard and now where? There is a possibility of three doors that could be mine. I finally make the key work in the correct door and in I go. The apartment is small,cozy and charming. The entry hall has a door leading to a spotless new bathroom with a tub and a showerhead! The main room of the studio has a sofabed, antique table with two chairs, an eight foot armoir, a tv/vcr, stereo, and a fireplace with a mirror from mantle to ceiling. The little kitchen is compact, but has a two burner cooktop, fridge with freezer, combo microwave/conv. oven, washer/dryer, double sink and on the counter is a bottle of Bordeaux with a small Eiffel Tower key ring around the neck and a note saying ďWelcome in ParisĒ. There is a cordless phone hanging on the wall and Iím anxious to use my prepaid First Telecom phone card, to let my family know that Iíve arrived. It works perfectly and sounds like Iím calling from across the street. After unpacking, Iím ready to explore the area.
Rue Cler is around the corner, so I head in that direction. I buy tulips and freesia for the apt, some coffee and cream at the market and a slice of potato-onion quiche from Tarte Julie for lunch. The street is bustling with shoppers and the merchants are very nice and helpful. I use the ATM with no problem and practice my limited French. Back to the apt. to drop off my purchases, freshen up and head out again. I look for the metro (Ecole Militare) about a block away and buy a carnet of tickets. Looks pretty easy so far, I pretend like I know what Iím doing. I get off at Concorde and transfer to the #1 line and go to Louvre-Rivoli. As I walk around the area, the sun has come out and it feels like a spring afternoon. I cross the pedestrian Ponte de Atrs bridge back to the left bank and wander along the Quai towards home. I see the Musee Orsay and toy with the idea of going in because they stay open late on Thurs., but continue on in the direction of my apt. Wow!! What impressive sights along the way--Assemble National, Invalades and the Eiffel Tower. I canít believe Iím actually here. Itís now about 6:30 and Iím running out of gas and most restaurants arenít open yet. I see the crepe stand next to Cafe du Marche and order a buckwheat crepe with tomatoes and feta cheese. The nice lady preparing my food selects a smooth brown egg, picks up a knife and cracks it open, spilling the egg onto the griddle, to cook and stuff into my crepe. My first French fast food! I take the crepe home, open the bottle of wine and take off my shoes!! After my dinner, Iím exhausted, but refuse to give up until I see the Eiffel Tower lit up for the night. Itís a few blocks to the river for a good look and as Iím approaching, the twinkling lights from New Years come on! Itís breathtaking!! My eyes fill with tears as I realize that I have actually made this happen. All of the months of planning have brought me to this moment! Strolling back to the apt, I think to myself,Ē Iím sure that tomorrow I shall step in zee dog poop, but right now Iím walking on cloud nine where there is noneĒ Tomorrow--- Le Cordon Bleu and Retromobile

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