Springtime in Paris 1

Le printemps dans le Jardin des Tuileries
Le printemps dans le Jardin des Tuileries

The second full day we were in Paris was a Sunday, and the sun obliged by shining bright and clear. The exhaustion of the travel and the time change had hit me full force, so that I was shaking slightly. But I really didn’t want to miss the beautiful day since weather in France in May can be iffy.

This was the first day that I fully realized how perfect the location of the hotel was. I was able to walk the 15 steps it took to reach the bottom of the street, then be able to cross the street, and be in the Tuileries.

Parisians had turned out in full force due to the beautiful weather on a Sunday, and I had to walk only a short way into the gardens before I was able to find an empty chair. I sat down, and proceeded to spend about 2 hours just watching people and taking pictures. Occasionally I would get up, wander a short way to get a different perspective, find another empty chair, and sit down again. I soaked up the sun, soaked up the beauty and soaked up Paris.

Un trés beaux jour!

Arriving at the Hotel

It had taken me three days on the internet here in California to find the “perfect” little hotel in Paris. My definition of perfect is different now than it was when my husband and I were younger and healthier. Then I would have put “romantic atmosphere” toward the top of the list. I say toward the top because it would have come right after “affordable” and “family friendly.” Unfortunately in those days, we rarely made it past the category of “affordable,” so our options were limited.

And while I wanted “romantic atmosphere” to be present for this trip, there were other necessities higher on the list. I was looking for a hotel that:

  • Was affordable (still #1 on the list, although we can afford a little more than we could in earlier days).
  • Had either a ground floor room available or a lift to get us to a higher floor.
  • Was close enough to the places we wanted to see that either of us could walk and not have to take public transportation (which uses a lot of energy in an unfamiliar city) or a taxi (which uses a lot of money).
  • Had an accessible room so that my husband, who is now legally blind, would have an easier time navigating around the room and thus be less likely to trip or fall.
  • Served breakfast, since many cafes don’t open until 12 noon, and
  • Had at least some non-smoking rooms, and preferably was a non-smoking hotel.

Given that we wanted to be right by the Louvre, the Tuilerie gardens, and the Musee d’Orsay (the museum that houses the impressionist art), that was an extremely tall order. At least if I wanted it to be affordable. I had plenty of options if I was willing to pay €500 – 1,000 a night. But I was looking in the €200 – 300 a night range. The closer to 200, the better. (I’d already tried the €100 – 200 range and that didn’t exist with list of things I was looking for.)

The third day I was on the internet, I finally found an affordable hotel that had every single one of the things I was looking for, including the location. When we saw the pictures on line, we could see that it was tucked into a tiny side street, but you could still lean out the window and see part of the Louvre, and the Tuileries. And when we arrived, we discovered it was just as great as it appeared on line. We found that it had enough amenities to keep us more than comfortable, a fantastic welcoming staff who were happy to help me along with my halting French, and a delicious breakfast. And it even had a romantic atmosphere.

Reluctantly Returned

After two glorious weeks, we left France, reluctantly, to return home. Neither of us were ready to leave, and felt that spending one more week would have been ideal, but had neither the funds nor the fortune to do so. I started coming down with a cold two days before we were due to leave, in large part because I had pushed myself too hard those last two days and was exhausted. It’s now settled into a mild infection, but I have started antibiotics, and will get my infusions tomorrow and Tuesday, so everything should sort itself out over the next several days.

My body still hasn’t adjusted to a clock that is 9 hours behind the time in France, which, I’m sure, isn’t helping my immune system’s effort to fight off this cold/infection. Nor is the 30 hours of no sleep that happens when you get on a plane in the afternoon in one time zone, fly for 11 hours, yet get off the plane just 2 hours later in the new time zone. But this, too, should resolve itself within a few more days. And I knew that I would have to spend the first week back resting.

I do have lots of pictures to share, though editing them will take a good bit of time. The glare on the screen of the camera was often so severe that I was essentially shooting blind, and thus sometimes took half a dozen or more pictures of the same thing, making small adjustments with each frame, hoping that at least one would come out well. I now have to go through and find the “keepers.” As I do that, I may sometimes simply post a picture with a caption or an explanation, saving my thoughts for another time.

In the meantime, I need to get my infusions, lots of rest, and hope that it doesn’t take my body too much longer to figure out day and night in this time zone of home.