Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Part 2 – Paris (This is the good stuff)

waiting

So I left off with TJ and I going to the Train Station in London. We sat until we were able to check-in and board the train. We brought our tickets to the counter and the woman behind the counter took the tickets, stared for a second, and then looked up at me and said “Honey, your train left 3 hours ago.”

What? Yea, we missed our train. My idiot self read the arrival time as the departure time and we missed our train. TJ was very nice not to kill me, as we walked over to the ticket counter. $400 dollars later we had new train tickets to Paris. We walked back to the check-in area and boarded the train. I looked at TJ, apologized, and said, “what is a trip with a f-up.” Little did I know what we were getting into.

arrived

We arrived in Paris around 5:15 and took the metro to where are hotel was. If you are familiar with Paris, then you know that very generally speaking if you go above the seine about 15 blocks, everything after that gets a bit shady. We’ll I had no idea and I booked a place about 40 blocks above the water. TJ and I got of the hot, stinky, crammed metro and walked out to the street. What we saw was a bunch of closed shops with bars covering the windows, and a ton of graffiti.

Somewhat concerned about our surroundings we walked to the hotel to check-in. The guy at the front desk was wearing a do-rag (however you spell it, you know what I mean) on his head and said he lost my reservation and need to keep my passport till tomorrow. This immediately bothered me. Why did he need to keep my passport?

TJ and I went up to the room, talked for a second and decided we would go look for another place to stay but leave our stuff at the hotel for now. We walked out the door and around the corner of the hotel. Less then 2 blocks in front of us a tall, skinny, curly haired woman was screaming and then some guy punched her in the face. I am not kidding. This girl got the shit kicked out of her by what appeared to be her boyfriend. And no one did anything. I looked at TJ and said lets get out of here.

We walked quickly back to the hotel, got our stuff and went to check out. The guy behind the counter said he was going to charge me anyways, long story short, it was an argument; I ended up being charged for one night and then there was a whole different argument to get my passport back.

TJ and I left the building and started walking toward the water. We figured all the pretty photos and lights are near the water so we would walk in that direction. We walked from 7 – 11:30pm, stopping in every hotel and asking for vacancies. Each place we stopped in said no. By 9:30 we had called our parents, asked them to start calling place from America. Bother are parents were crying and concerned and “Oh shit” we thought, we have no place to sleep. By 11:30 TJ and I were just about done, we sat on a bench a block up from Notre Dame and just looked at each other. TJ said, “Well if we are going to be homeless, this area seems like an okay place.” I looked at him, crying, and said screw it, let’s go eat.

We walked up a little street with a bunch of restaurants, cafes, and lights. I saw a hotel sign ahead and told TJ that we should try that place before we ate. TJ and I walked up the stairs to the reception area. The guy behind the desk said they had 1 room available but it was $440 Euros which is like 600 bucks. I looked at TJ and said no way, we cannot afford that. The guy behind the desk looked up and said since it was so late, he’d give it to us for the equivalent of $200. TJ smiled for the first time since we had been in Paris and said YES!

The guy keep saying it was a big room and we would really like it. We didn’t care at this point, we figured it was a bed and a roof, we were satisfied. We filled out the paperwork and walked 5 flights of stairs to the top floor, we walked into the room and up another flight of stairs. I cannot describe this room enough. Seriously, this place saved our trip to Paris. The photos don’t do it justices, but look

reception




bedroom

The room had a living room, sitting room, bedroom, and a bathroom with a bathtub. Everything was carved out of wood, and fresh flowers in every room. It was a castle, seriously. TJ dropped his bags and started crying. We were so tired and it had been a horrible day, and at the end of it all we didn’t end up with just a room, we ended up with a castle.

With a changed attitude, we dropped our bags off and went out. We walked across the street to a little restaurant, had a glass of wine and pizza. We walked two more blocks down to Notre Dame, we walked to the Louvre, we walked and walked and took photos until 2:00 in the morning. It was perfect, Paris at 1 in the morning is perfect.

outside the Louvre

We came back took a bath, put on bathrobes, sat around, hung out it our castle. It was awesome.
The next morning they said they had a smaller room available for 150 bucks. We took it, walked a flight down the stairs and dropped our bags off in a room just as beautiful and spent the day walking everywhere. We were three steps from a bakery with incredible croissants, I ate my first, second, and third croissant there. We walked and saw all the things you are supposed to see in Paris. TJ bought records, I went in Le Bon Marche and drooled. We didn’t encounter one mean, rude, or unhelpful person. Everyone, seriously everyone in Paris was nice, understanding, and beyond patient with us.

theatre

streets with rows of flowers

We went back to our castle that night around 3:00 am and woke the next day. On our third day in Paris we were meeting some guy TJ had talked to via facebook about DJing. We were supposed to be staying with him the next two nights. All I could think was, “here we go again.” We are probably going to end up with some awful guy in the nasty part of town again.

The hotel let us leave our bags there until 6pm when we were meeting this unknown character. We walked around for the day and picked up our bags in the evening. We hopped on the metro and headed toward our new home for the next two days.

It gets even better . . .
Until tomorrow . . .


14 comments:

Anonymous said...

oh my god...you are such a great story teller you absolutely have me hanging off the edge of my seat!!! oh and how gross about the seedy area and the woman being beaten up and no one doing anything. but good you found the castle in the end....
nancy

Mrs.French said...

Oh my goodness, how I love reading about your adventures! I can't wait to see what happens next!

Joanna Goddard said...

wow, this is so enticing....

also, your hotel is gorgeous!!

::{J}:: said...

Lovely photos...looks so fun!

Jaimee said...

Ah Gay Paris...did I already tell you I watched my mother get her wallet stolen in the Metro. My father chased them for blocks but they got away and, go figure, the Parisian Police Dept. is CLOSED on Sunday! I'd love to go back thought and make some happier memories! :)

Emily said...

Oh my! You couldn't write stuff like this!!! It is live everyone's worst travel nightmare. I can't wait to hear the rest of your story!!!

Robin said...

Wow, so glad your bad day turned into a lovely evening. In a castle no less!

My BFF and her hubby missed their flight home from Paris on their honeymoon last July, and they called me to see if I could help them rebook from the US since the American Airlines offices in Europe were closed for the night. So my boyfriend is on my cellphone with her from Paris while I'm on the land line with an American Airlines rep -- who was in Ireland of all places! I will have to send her (my BFF, not the chick from Ireland) over here to read your story.

Hila said...

I'm on the edge of my seat, can't wait to hear more ...

catherine said...

i'm so sorry to hear that my adopted cit treated you so inconsiderately....paris can be a really difficult place for non-parisians, i often feel out of place, but it looks like you ended up in an amazing and beautiful hotel. have the best time! and make sure not to miss the thrift stores in the marais, free p star on rue st.croix de la bretonnnerie and another little one with amazing stripey shirts on rue des rosiers, right next to the best falafel in paris.

nadia said...

Wow, You completely "drew "me in- what an incredible story- written to it's perfection!...

littlebyRD said...

Love your pictures - they are fabulous! And the story...I can hardly wait to find out what happens next!

amy korngiebel said...

yay! for happy endings. on to part 3...

ting-wai said...

thank goodness for a happy ending! I'm happy everything worked out for you!

joanie said...

The best part about traveling are the surprises - my favourite trips have always been the ones least planned. Fantastic that the Facebook friends turned out so cool, now you have friends there to return to.