Paris and I didn't get off to a good start though. The plane was delayed due to weather and then on the train ride into the city it just stopped, for like a half hour on the tracks. WTF?! And the view on the way into the city was less than stellar. There was graffiti along every inch of the tracks and the amount of garbage strewn about was unreal. Maybe I'm a bit spoiled from living in Munich and Minneapolis, two of the cleanest cities around, but this was ridiculous. Then the underground rail stations stunk and the trains were packed with people. Our first stop after dropping our stuff at the hotel was lunch. We had read about a cafe, Le Comptoir du Relais, that was supposed to have the best croque monsieur around. Well, keeping with the theme of the day I was underwhelmed at best by the sandwich. In all fairness, my expectations were a little skewed and I didn't have the best attitude at the time. It was a really good sandwich, I was just expecting magnificent.
The Louver just got a quick walk by as we had many other things to see. Plus, it's immense! I don't think you could get through it, and do the exhibits justice, in a long weekend.
We walked all the way down to the Arc de Triomphe along the Champs-Elysees. With a couple of detours for wine and cognac of course. But we eventually made it just in time to miss a ceremony around the eternal flame. Had we known about the ceremony we probably would have picked up the pace a bit.
Then it was off to have an amazing dinner. Just how amazing was unknown as we were eating truffles for the first time. Black truffles were in season and Gerri wanted to try them out. She had made reservations at Terres de Truffes. We arrived to find that we were the only people there. We literally had the entire 20 table restaurant to ourselves until a trio of retirees showed up a half hour after us. It's hard to explain what a truffle tastes like and how amazing it is. I can only compare it to bacon. Our waiter, Alex, told us that truffles are best experienced with simple ingredients and directed us to order as such. We started with a carrot and pea soup with truffles. Then had poached egg in a cream sauce with truffles and scrambled eggs with truffles. They were both out of this world! The reason I likened it to bacon was because with the eggs it added a savory, salty, somewhat smokey taste that went so well I could only think of bacon and how amazing it is with eggs. We then moved on to the main course of jack potatoes with truffles and a fettucini alfredo with truffles. They were equally as amazing but very rich. We could barely finish them but couldn't find the will to stop because they were so decadent. For dessert we had a hot cheese with truffle and a truffle creme with chantilly lace and berries. All in all it was an amazing experience but I think going forward I can only handle one course with truffles. They are outstanding and I think everyone should splurge on a truffle dinner!
The next day we went to check out Notre Dame and the view from Sacre-Coeur Basilica. We stopped for some amazing fromage crepes as well as some vin chaud (hot spiced wine).
Later that night we headed over to see the Eiffel Tower. It's quite a site to see at night. I knew it was impressive but didn't know just quite how much until I saw it up close. We decided to climb the 670 stairs to the second level and the plan was to take the lift to the top from there. Unfortunately we arrived at the second level a bit to late and they had closed the lift so we weren't actually able to go all the way to the top. The view was still pretty impressive from the second floor though. Check it out!
The last day we just kind of walked around and enjoyed the city. Had some drinks and tried the local cheeses. The last day was gorgeous weather. Sun and 40º, perfect for seeing the city. And even though Paris and I didn't get off to a great start, we made up in the end. It's a beautiful city that has a lot to offer. Oh and one thing that I was very struck by; everyone always says that Parisians are extremely rude, I couldn't disagree more! There were plenty of opportunities for people to be rude to us but I found the people to be extremely pleasant and friendly. Even at places that had received poor reviews from other travelers. I can honestly say I didn't have one bad experience with the French. It was a pleasant surprise.