The First Days in Paris

This blog is going to end up a diary of my life in Paris, I expect.  That means it will be filled with boring details, considered musings, and incredible insights, hopes and dreams.  I will try to categorize the paragraphs to save your time if you want to skip… but that’s my good intention now.  Who knows what the future will bring?
Any time your travel day starts at 700 and ends in another time zone 20 hours later, you can expect to be tired.  In fact, I was tired as I sat on the stairs waiting for my landlady outside my apartment in Paris.  But the trip went surprisingly well.  First, being delivered to the airport by my niece Leslie who devoted two days to helping me get my townhouse ready for its new tenant and me packed at the same time!  Then the flight to SLC ended up in a row to myself.  Delta gave me a discount for the SKy Miles Club and I waited there for my connecting flight to Paris.

IMG_4635

Eddie, Silvi and Josephine watch me snack at the Delta Sky Miles club in SLC

Many diet cokes and salad and olives later, I boarded the flight.  There was a quiet Italian sitting next to me – you never know if your seat partner will be a blessing or a curse – in this case: neither.  The airlines keep you so amused with your own tv screen and innumerable choices!  I watched Birdman, Whiplash, and St Vincent.  Only really enjoyed Bill Murray in the latter.  And with about 4 hours of fitful sleep, I was more rested debarking in France than I ever have been.

I was so looking forward to Border Patrol – where they usually ask you all the questions about how long you will be here and why!  And this time: nada. zip. zero.  After my initial disappointment, I guess it made sense.   I had a visa for six  months.  The agent deferred to the good decision made by the French Consulate of San Francisco.  No need to ask anymore.  And then as I gathered my four – count them – FOUR bags, I had two carryon’s and two checked bags.  I was embarrassed about 2 checked bags – I normally travel for 4 weeks with a carryon.  But as my niece kept reminding me, I am gone for nine months.  And I saw several people who had more luggage than I!  I was ready for the Douane.  Customs.  Ya.  Pretty much the same.  Nothing happened.
At least my driver was there and waiting for me with a sign saying MARCIA.  My US midnight call to the Paris shuttle company in French limited the details.  First name seemed enough.  It was.
We were an hour early landing.  He followed the flight info so he was there.  The landlady didn’t.  So we texted and I knew I would be waiting.
The driver was kind enough to carry my four bags upstairs! (I gave him a BIG tip).
Karine – my landlady and also an executive and personal coach like me! – rushed up to let me in.  Yes.  We did the traditional bisous!  Cheek kissing!
My Apartment Building

My Apartment Building

The apartment is perfect.  Small.  But breathable.  I have decided I cannot have more than one visitors at a time – two people will be cozy three would be totally cramped!  The living/dining room has a futon and table and chairs.  The bed room has an armoire and shelves!  I didn’t see them in the photos so I was delighted with them. Toilet, separate bath/shower and sink and washer, and kitchen with a moderate size (large for Paris) refrigerator.  I am learning where everything is.  There are many nooks and crannies to stash things.  I guess one of her other renters took the last hair dryer.  And we discovered a lamp was broken.  The trials and tribulations of vacation rentals.

I can be happy here for an extended period of time.
Jet lag has not been bad.  melatonin and sleeping pills help.  But I am exhausted.  It is because of the effort to get my house ready and to get ready for the trip.  Thank God for my niece who came and helped.  Imagine packing your stuff away so that people can move in… it was a huge job and enervating.  Physically exhausting.  On top of having the bad tendon which makes walking tiresome and sometimes painful.

So I got here on Thursday and got settled and got staples at the store.  I paid the obligatory visit to

Notre Dame de Paris

Notre Dame de Paris

Notre Dame in the afternoon.  Still beautiful.

Then Friday I went to the museums to get the membership so I get free entry and can bring a guest.  And there was a side trip to a cell phone company where I found out that you must have a French bank account in order to have a phone – I guess I can get a prepaid sim card, but I am not sure it is cheaper than ATT.  More to investigate.  The bottom line was that I did too much walking and on Saturday I was simply tired.  Had a couple jaunts to the store but spent most of the day on the bed reading or napping.  I woke more rested today Sunday.
It was a beautiful day!  67!   I set off for the Bois de Boulogne for a nice walk in the sunny warmth.  This is a huge park, reminiscent of Central Park in NYC or Regent’s Park in London. The new Gehry is there.  Interesting building.  The park was busy but nothing like the Luxembourg last time I was here on a sunny day – I think all of Paris was there that day!  Loved the Boulogne – as my ankle gets better I shall extend my walks.  The Duke and Duchess of Windsor lived about 3 miles from here on the park..

The Louis Vuitton Fondation - by Frank Gehry

The Louis Vuitton Fondation – by Frank Gehry

It feels great to be here.  But different.  I am not in any rush to get to everything!  I realize I have all the time in the world.  That’s odd.   I am joining some meetups – there’s one for sketching that I am very interested in but I have clients on those Thursdays for the next 4 weeks so it will happen later.  I might start taking my ipad along and do some by myself on Brushes app.
This week I am going to purchase my senior card for the railway.  Should pay for itself after 3 trips.  And I think my first trip will be the 16th or 17th to Troyes.  Maybe a Friday to Chartres for the Labyrinth…
Hopefully I will catch up on rest, ankle will be fine, and I will start to sort out quite why I am here.
Thanks for listening!
Au revoir!
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