Fish Out of Water

Musings and observations about life from an East Coast native now living on the Left Coast in the California State Capitol since 2004. This fish has made her home in Madison, WI (7 years); Portland, OR (2 years); Las Vegas, NV (7 months); Middlebury, VT (3 summers); Marne-la-Vallee, a small town east of Paris, France (6 months); Middletown, CT (3 years); and Marshfield, MA, the fish's coastal hometown 40 miles south of Boston (17 years).

Location: Sacramento, California, United States


France Trip (Day 6)

Day 6: Thursday, September 29
Bordeaux > Paris
After breakfast, we left the apartment at 9am and took a taxi to the airport to catch our noon flight to Paris. We enjoyed a couple of cafés allongés as we waited and arrived in Paris around 1:30pm. Since we had bought a bottle of wine at Château Soutard to bring home with us, we had to check Mr. E’s bag again, and once we retrieved it, we made a stop at the airport Tourist Info counter to verify that the “Bus Direct” would be the best transportation option for us to get to our hotel by the Montparnasse Train Station. We had perfect timing to catch the 2pm bus and enjoyed a pleasant ride of about 80 minutes, finishing at the Gare Montparnasse and discovering that our hotel, Pullman Montparnasses, was literally across the street from where the bus dropped us off. Perfect!

As we waited to check in, I noticed that the posted prices of the room rates were quite high (980 euros +), and I joked with Mr. E that perhaps we had ended up at a luxury hotel without realizing it. We had paid in advance through a United-linked travel site and didn’t pay anywhere near that fee! Good thing, too, as neither of us was terribly impressed by the facilities, starting with the black stain on the carpet in the entryway of our room. The view from the 21st floor was pretty impressive, however, with a great panorama looking north towards the city, including the nearby Montparnasse Tower as well as the Louvre, Tuilieries Gardens, and Pompidou Center a bit farther away. We also discovered that we could get a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower if we got really close to the window and looked to the left.

The first stop on our agenda was to go up the Montparnasse Tower to the viewing area on the 56th floor and then the roof-top glassed-in observation deck a few floors above. The weather was perfect for an amazing panorama over the whole city, with the gold dome of the Invalides shining brightly in the late afternoon sun. To get the most out of the experience, we had a glass of pink champagne from the rooftop bubble bar.

Once back on ground level, we did a little bit of browsing in the nearby Monoprix, including a bottle of wine and some of my favorite Regal’ad fruit chew candy, and then took the Metro to catch the 7pm cruise on the River Seine with the Vedettes de Paris. We had learned from previous experience that doing this type of cruise just before sunset is ideal, as the first half allows you enough light to really see the buildings and the second half features the colours of the setting sun and the illumination of the same buildings on the way back. The other benefit is that returning to the dock by the Eiffel Tower right around 8pm provides a perfect vantage point for the first nightly sparkling light show on the Tower. The evening finished with wood-fired pizza at a restaurant just across from the river and some wine in our room.


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