We arrived in Paris via the Eurostar from London. The train ride was uneventful, but I was a little disappointed to see a gray sky when we arrived. London had been frigid, and after a week, we were really hoping for some sunshine. But when I stepped off the train, I made my first pleasant discovery about Paris: Paris cloudy is warmer than London cloudy.
We took a cab from the train station to the apartment we had rented, and upon meeting our cab driver I realize that my rusty college French is going to become more problematic faster than I had hoped. The cab driver was of African descent, and spoke French as though he learned it as a second language as well. "This is going to be great," I thought. "Two people who don’t speak French well trying to communicate with each other in French." But we manage better than I thought we would, and arrive at the apartment after only a brief minute of confusion. (The street came up kind of fast so the driver passed it the first time around…and coming from the opposite direction, the building address numbers didn’t go in order so we had a little bit of difficulty locating the appropriate building. The apartment rental agency had given us explicit instructions, with pictures of the front of the building even, but of course I had left those in my suitcase, thinking that I had memorized the address and that was sufficient. Lesson learned: always, always have ALL of your travel documents/instructions on your person.)
We get upstairs to our apartment, and…WOW. I had found this apartment through Vacation In Paris, a well recommended agency on both Fodor's and Trip Advisor. The apartment was located in the 15th quarter, which is outside the main tourist center, but had a view to die for. Here are some pictures from our balcony:
Eiffel Tower Light Show
Panoramic Day View
The Eiffel Tower actually looks closer in person than it does in the pictures—Hubby, a professional photographer, said there was a reason for this, which I’ve of course forgotten, but the point is we had a view of Paris that you can only dream of and think that you’ll never actually be lucky enough to have.
Our first day in Paris is very relaxed. We spent the evening gazing at our view, doing laundry (the apartment had a combo washer/dryer, which was nice, because it meant we only had to pack a week's worth of clothes for a 2 1/2 week European vacation) and getting some items at the local grocery store. The best butter and Yogurt I have ever had came from the grocery store a block from this apartment in Paris.
There is a light show on the hour every hour once it gets dark outside, and we didn't go to bed before watching this at least once from our apartment. Here is the video:
Here is a link to the apartment we rented, in case anyone is interested: