Apparently, still not over jet lag, I tossed and turned at 11:00 last night, wishing myself back to sleep. We had to catch a flight at 6:15, which meant that we had to be up at 3:45 to catch the airport bus at 4:40. End result? I got maybe 4 hours of sleep. (Maybe, I don't think so though) We had no issues getting our bus, Aircoach in Dublin, or getting on our flight. (Although it does seem like European security lines at the airport are always longer than in America.) Soon, we were in Beauvais and off to Paris.
A side note: Beauvais is an hour from Paris, and the traffic in Paris can take over 30 minutes. This is not a time saving option. I didn't mind flying in, but would never fly out if Beauvais.
After learning that automated teller machines at the Parisian metro don't take credit cards, we were zipping along on the fastest and best subway system I've ever seen. When we came out of the tunnel, our breath was taken by the gorgeous views. Paris is beautiful. Yes, I've heard that before, but photos and videos can't do justice to how grand it is and how beautiful it is everywhere. Most places have pockets of beauty here and there: New Iberia's trees along the Teche, Royal Street and Jackson Square in New Orleans, the arch in St Louis, even the sunflower fields in North Dakota. But I have never been surrounded by such consistent and awe-inspiring beauty as in Paris. Now, I love Florence, and the Duomo is still the most beautiful thing I've ever seen and the city will not be surpassed in my mind, due to its easy size, historic architecture and art treasures, but I finally understand the fuss about Paris. For someone like me who tends to appreciate architecture over nature, this city astounds.
Not only that, but there's so much to do! But, it is so far apart. That is the biggest misconception I had when coming to Paris: that I would be able to walk between sites. This place is "east side of New York City" big. (Huge blocks!) We accidentally left our map at the room and walked 30 minutes out of our way circling one block to get to the Rodin museum from Napoleon's tomb. We walked for hours in the evening, only to barely get anywhere on the map. My optimistic touring plans are out the window, and I am thankful we have 4 days here.
Our Airbnb apartment is even better than last time. It is excellently located, and we are so ready to have a place to ourselves. The only drawback? No air conditioner ( which I really thought I had checked off as a requirement.) It is cool enough outside to leave the window open, but we are one the ground floor. Now, our window only opens to a courtyard which is shared by the back door of a hair stylist and small shop that are both closed in the evening and seemingly one other apartment. But the guys in the other apartment are watching the World Cup. Loudly. And there is no screen on our window, so I am somewhat frightened of someone just crawling in our window. There is a motion sensor light outside our door which comes on at the drop of a hat and makes me paranoid. End result? I shut the window. I think we got the temp down to the mid- 60's in here before I did, but still more drama over cool air than I wanted. The French people can definitely withstand more heat than I can (as proven by me sweltering through the army museum today, but that is another story.)
All in all, I am really excited to see more of Paris, but am a little daunted. The view of the Eiffel Tower lit up at night while we sit out on the grass in front of it makes it all worthwhile.