Sunday, March 23, 2008

Paris - Day 1

I'm documenting our honeymoon in Paris retrospectively (We arrived on 3/18) and have probably lost all of the initial feelings and reflections that would improve the quality of this blog. Please settle in for the bulleted version:

We arrived safely and took the Air France shuttle directly to the Arc de Triomphe.
We walked half way around the huge turnaround and down the famous Champs Elysees.

We stayed at the Hotel Warwick in a small room with a bedet and a cute patio. For this trip we followed the directions of Rick Steves via his guide book and Comptoir de L'Arc was the first restaurant we decided to check out. Here, we learned the first of many lessons about dining in Paris: Unless otherwise specifically directed to wait, you seat yourself.  The menu was entirely in French, but Rick Steves' book includes names of basic French dishes and that was helpful. I ended up having the carpaccio (didn't need the book to order that!) and K had the steak and potatoes, a dish served at many Parisian restaurants. The food was mediocre but the relief of getting through out first meal in Paris made it rate better in my mind. Rick Steves may know Paris inside and out, but he is definitely no foodie. This is coming from a person who'll pretty much each anything and be happy.

After the meal, we took a walk down Champs Elysees and headed for the Arc de Triomphe. We found out that we couldn't purchase a Paris Museum Pass after 5pm so instead of paying some ridiculous amount to get to the top of the Arc, we wandered around the base of the Arc listening to Rick Steves' audio tour. I highly suggest downloading these onto your iPod before heading out to Paris. They made our visits to the Lourve and Musee de Orsay much better than I anticipated. More on that in another post.

It was then time for another meal. I swear, much time has passed since our last meal. We saw Le Buses Rouge and hopped on. For $22, you can hop on and off these double decker buses that make frequent stops at many of the Paris tourist attractions all day. We thought this would turn out to be a good deal for us, but alas, it did not turn out to be so. Count us as Tourist Suckers #1 and #2. We took the bus down to the end of Champs Elysees and hopped off in front of the Grand Palais. After a hop, skip and a jump past Gucci, we hit up our second  Rick Steves suggested restaurant. The name of the restaurant escapes me and photo documentation but here, we learned lesson #2: Parisians eat late. At 7:30, we were the first and only patrons in the restaurants and people did not start to trickle in until about 8pm. Two old men. Senior early-bird specials, anyone?

The restaurant had a cozy and local feel but again, Rick Steves disappoints with his restaurant selections. I had the confit de canard (fried preserved duck) and vegetable soup. K had the grilled shrimp with mashed potatoes. The shrimp was good, but my duck was ridiculously fried to a crisp and I learned that I don't like French style soup with everything completely pureed.

You'd think by now we'd learn not to listen to Rick. But we don't. We will continue to eat at his restaurant suggestions for the duration of the trip. Don't worry, it does get better.


WeezerMonkey said...

I see you! :)

dapotato said...

good to know some of rick steves' food suggestions are a crock...of not so good food.