Paris Part 1

So there I was in Paris. Fresh off my visit with my great friends in Bordeaux, I was looking forward to the city of lights. I’d heard great things and was also getting more excited to wrap up my European part of the trip. I was also extremely excited to get to stay at the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome. This is a super high class hotel that I was staying at for free (rooms start at around $1,000/night) because of a signup/spending bonus on my Hyatt card from Chase (2 free nights at any hyatt in the world after reaching the required spend)

Anyway, I’ve detailed my stay at the Vendome in THIS POST so I won’t describe the stay in this one.

After landing at ORY airport, south of Paris, I headed to the metro/shuttle that would take me right into the heart of town. I was advise prior to arrival that taxi’s from the airport can run as much as 60-70 euros (almost $100) so I figured I’d find another option. The orlyval (think thats what it’s called) runs a shuttle from the airport to a local metro stop. Then, switch to the metro and get off about a 10 minute walk from my friends place. Easy as pie.

street musicians in paris along the river seine

I met with friends and we toured around town a bit. We picked up some rabbit to cook at home and other then the weather being a bit crappy, it was a nice ‘welcome’ to the city. We got into the subway and on a bus so it helped me get acclimated for the rest of the trip.

I was planning on staying with friends for two nights and then heading over to the Hyatt. That plan did not work out very well. As soon as I got to their place I was having some trouble with my allergies. I’ve developed allergies later in life and it sucks. I think it was perhaps a dust issue, or maybe something they used in the house to clean, but by the end of the first night I had to actually call a doctor (all the pharmacies were closed at this point). I made the decision that I would find a hotel for the second night. Even though I was feeling a bit better the second day after getting some meds, I didn’t want to take the risk of getting all messed up again. I found a $150(ish)/night hotel on expedia and it was totally sufficient for my one night stay.

Traveling around Paris is very easy. The Metro and Buses are conveniently located, easy to navigate, clean and comfortable. No complaints there.

THE SCAM

One thing that I can complain about in Paris is the homeless/scam artist situation. There are a lot of homeless/beggers all around town. More over, there are scam artists everywhere. This is disgraceful to me and a city should do a better job of getting rid of these people. There were TONS of cops all over paris. There were cops on bikes, cops on foot, cops on horseback, cops in cars, cops on motorcycles and even cops on ROLLERBLADES (LOL!!!). But, it didn’t seem like any of them were doing anything to stop the thieves. They were easy to spot so I don’t really understand it.

I got ‘tricked’, albeit only a little bit, by a women who pretended to find a gold ring on the ground in front of me. She looked very surprised and why would I think this was a scam? I’d never seen anything like it before. She offered me the ring because it didn’t fit here and I took it. It’s someone’s wedding ring that they probably lost. So I walked away. They she came after me and asked me for money. I should have spotted the scam right there. But I didn’t. I had a couple of euro coins in my pocket so I slipped here 2 and tried to walk way. She wanted more but I refused. “Take it back”, said. She begged a bit more and that was that. It was only until a couple minutes later when I noticed how ‘shifty’ she was. Always looking over her shoulder, etc.

I realized very quickly that this lesson only cost me 2 euros but it could have been worse. I was sitting over by the louvre waiting for a friend the next day and watch a guy try to pull the SAME scam on almost a dozen people. It was incredible. and he was very smooth. Watching it from the outside was very enlightening. No one else feel for it. But, sure enough, when I found my friend he had his wallet in hand, ring on his finger, and was about to give the guy cash. I rushed over and halted the transaction and told the asshole to beat it. My friend was lucky I got there when I did.

Notre Dame, Saint Chapelle Church

I was surprised that notre dame was free to enter. I was also surprised by how much of an jerk the security guard was about me using my tripod. After being inside for about 20 minutes I saw the too familiar man approaching. He informed me I couldn’t use the tripod, not at all, not even a little bit. So I broke it down. I walked around a bit more and then, while SITTING DOWN in a chair, put the tripod back on the floor (without even opening it). This lasted for a whole 2minutes when this hawkeyed, mr. jerkface magee, came over and told me I couldn’t even do that. I mean the thing was between my legs, CLOSED, and I was just resting my camera on it. Some of these people just have a hard on for annoying you. I wasn’t in anyone’s way, or damaging property, or even standing up. It’s just the way it is in some places and it sucks.

Saint chappelle was around 10euros (approximately, I can’t remember exactly). I think it was a waste of money as the place was really small and a large portion of it was under construction. I lasted a bit longer here with the tripod (about 30 minutes) and was finally told to break it down.

Thanksgiving

Paris was a really nice city. As I mentioned, it is easy to get around and a lot of people speak english which helps when you are slightly lost. I got a recommendation from a friend in Bordeaux to check out “Allan’s Market” for thanksgiving dinner. I had the hotel concierge make a reservation and got there around 8pm. I sat and was served by a friendly waiter. The menu included all the traditional thanksgivings fixings with turkey, sweet potatoes, stuffing, corn bread, etc. After putting in my order a couple sat down next to me and started speaking english.

I figured if I had any chance of making a friend in Paris, this was it. I struck up conversation and it turns out they are from queens. Perfect. We chatted all through dinner exchanging pleasantries and just shooting the shit. It was nice to meet a friendly couple and when they invited me to join them for drinks, I was more than happy to do so.

I helped them figure out the metro (they had only been taking cabs which are very expensive in paris) and we hit a couple of bars. “harry’s new york bar” (home of the original bloody mary [according to them]) and Le  Sherwood. Harry’s was good and they had quality (albeit it very expensive) drinks). I normally would just order a whiskey rocks but after a recent trip to a speak easy I felt a bit more adventurous and went for an old fashion(ed?). The bar was hip and they had live music playing downstairs and had cool vibe upstairs as well.

We went to the bar next door for a change of scenery. The second we walked in we were hit in the face with a major case of BO… gross. We dealt with it for a drink or two but then had to take off. I said goodbye to my new friends and wished them a good flight home the next day.

All in all, it was a great way to spend thanksgiving and much better then the lonelier plan of just eating dinner and maybe grabbing some solo drinks somewhere. Thanks Jesse and Monica!!

notre dame cathedral in paris some art stalls along the river seine in paris paris river seine at night couple in paris overlooking the river seine girl in red jacket looking at eifel tower girl smoking along river seine street worker painting in paris paris lightpost with locksexterior of notre dame cathedral in paris interior of saint chapelle church in paris interior of saint chapelle church in paris a statue in saint chapelle church in paris

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