Monthly Archives: August 2012

Ooh la la, Paris!

Reminiscing of our travels a year ago, I thought I’d chronicle our adventures here.  Everything happened so quickly, we didn’t get a chance to share our experiences with even close family and friends.  I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy sharing it.  So here it begins, in Paris.

Paris, France.  We.  Had.  Arrived.  Paris would be our home for the next five days.  We had no “home address.”  A month prior we were living our day to day lives in the suburbs of Chicago with our house on the market – trying to sell it so we could finally pursue our dream of living in Portland, OR.  Discovering our association was soon to limit the number of allowed rental units in the neighborhood, we decided renting was a much better option and rushed to rent out our townhouse.  In the matter of a week our 2 bedroom townhouse was packed up in a storage pod and we were now landlords living out of a hotel down the street.  We had two weeks to wrap up our responsibilities at work and plan our move to Portland.  Well, actually, maybe we’ll do some traveling first…

Chicago to Stockholm to Paris flight

Day 1: Paris

This brings us back to Day 1 in Paris.  After our layover in Stockholm, Sweden we arrived in the late afternoon.  Before catching the train to our hotel, we each bought a weekly Passe Navigo pass since we’d be using the public transit system quite a bit during the week.  The Passe Navigo is a chip-embedded smart card which is good on the bus, metro, RER, Ile-de-France (Transilien) trains (Not TGV).  Just swipe and go.

Paris train station

We had booked a room at Hotel de France Invalides before arriving.  There were slim pickin’s with such short notice, especially on a budget – something we’d come to get used to on our trip.  Anxious to check it out and ditch our big packs, we headed straight to the hotel.  I think we fared well with this pick.  It’s walking distance to the Eiffel Tower, the rue Cler neighborhood, and a metro station.  Our 4th floor room had a view of the inner courtyard with spiral staircase that I found charming.  It even had a mini fridge – disguised as a cabinet (we didn’t even realize it until later in our stay) – and a hair dryer!  This was top notch luxury for our backpacker budget.

Hotel de Invalides inner courtyard spiral staircase

Hotel de Invalides inner courtyard spiral staircase

But enough of this hotel room, it’s almost dark, let’s see Paris!  We cleaned up and headed to rue Cler for an evening stroll of this pedestrianopen-air-market street.  Many shops were closed, but it still oozed that Parisian feel.  Some cafes were still open, but we opted for a savory crepe to go from the Creperie and continued our stroll down the blue-hued streets as the sun went down.

Rue Cler in Paris      Le Petit Cler Cafe in Paris

Paris windows

It was getting late, so we relented and headed back toward the hotel when suddenly, there it was – the Eiffel Tower, beaming in the night sky.  We took a moment to take it all in.  We are in Paris, oui.

The Eiffel Tower


Notes from the Travel Log – Mon 8.29.11

Arrived at hotel around 4:30pm.  Cleaned up.  Rue Cler walk around 8pm. Creperie to go & ice cream.  Bed late.  Hard to sleep!