My first time ever in Paris. What a beautiful city. I did NOT find the people to be rude, even though I heard that from so many people before I traveled.
My flight to Paris was uneventful. I could see the Eiffel Tower from the plane.
After landing, it took about an hour to get to the hotel by taxi. When I got to the hotel and checked in, the desk clerk asked if I was alone. I said I was. She said I was lucky because my room had been upgraded. When I entered the room I discovered what she was talking about. I am in a suite. Walking into the room is an entry way. There are three closets side by side, one of which has a mini bar. I should make mention I am staying at the Hotel Regina. From the entry way you enter into a large sitting room or parlor. Off of the sitting room is a large bathroom with his and hers bath robes. Off of the other side of the sitting room is the bedroom. It is very large, with a king size bed. off of the bedroom is another bathroom. It is larger than the other one.
After I got myself settled, I went out to walk around. Little did I know my walk would end up being 6.5 miles. I scaled it off of the city map I was given. The hotel is directly across the street from the Louvre Museum.
I began taking the first of 151 photos. I crossed over the Seine. There were many street vendors. I ended up buying a map of Spain and Portugal from the 1890’s. I am very skeptical of that since it only cost 10 Euros.
I ended up walking down to Notre Dame. I took several photos and then crossed the island to a sidewalk cafe on the other side of the Seine. I sat there and had a glass of white wine while I sat there and watched the people walk by. After some time I decided to get something to eat. I ordered a bowl of French Onion soup and an assortment of cheeses. The cheeses included bleau and brie, neither of which I really like. Regardless, I did eat quite a bit of each. I ended up having another glass of wine. After that I walked to the Eiffel Tower and then back to the hotel. I am beat! Tomorrow I plan to go to the Louvre.
I had to sit down in the Louvre and pen my experiences.
I just finished viewing the Mona Lisa. It was quite spectacular to see it in person. Although you can get no closer than about 25 feet. This museum is by far the largest I have ever been in, ever! I did 6.5 miles yesterday. I may top that today! It is interesting watching the throngs of people streaming through to see the Mona Lisa. I was one of the first 50 or so into the museum. So my view of the Mona Lisa was unobstructed, albeit a long ways away.
Now, of all places, I am sitting in Napoleon’s bedroom. It is one of the exhibits in the Louvre. This area is known as the Napoleon Apartments. I don’t know if he lived here or if the rooms were reconstructed here.
Now I am sitting near the entrance. I am essentially done. I am out of gas. I think I will hit the bookstore and then head back to the hotel.
Breakfast was a little strange this morning. Instead of sitting at a table of my own, I was directed to a table with six chairs. A couple was just leaving that table. So for a short time I was by myself. Then the waiter sat another gentleman beside me. He happened to be from Washington, D.C. He is in the energy business with Lockheed Martin. He is here for the same event I am. We had a nice conversation, but it was just a little strange.
I am back in my room now. I just finished going through 171 photos. I was able to whittle those down to around 140.
I met up this evening with four of the other attendees to go out to dinner. We went to a small restaurant about a 10 minute walk from the hotel. The name of the restaurant is Chez Flottes. It was tremendous. I had a wonderful steak. We shared a bottle of wine. It was interesting to discuss issues of common concern with some more seasoned employees. In those situations I always try to take in all I can for future use and reference.
As I was walking down the hall this evening toward my room I could not help but think how radically my life has changed in a little over a year. It is just stunning!
Earlier today, they delivered a bottle of wine and some various candies. I don’t know that I could have gotten much luckier.
On the 13th, well, another banner day in the Foreign Service! Today our meeting took place i the Ambassador’s residence. Another striking Parisian site. One bit of history that was shared with us is that the home was uses as the Nazi SS officers’ club during World War II. It looks like something directly out of the movie the Dirty Dozen. It is also huge, about 72,000 square feet. Certainly not as nice as the Louvre or City Hall, but it was not bad.