With some snacks from the Monoprix, leftovers from Esipuno’s bakery and our packs we boarded our train for Paris. We did not have much water. The trip was a little over five hours and knowing that when we arrived in Paris it would be eleven-thirty and that we would need to walk from Gare de Lyon to our hotel in Montmartre. Normal people might opt for public transportation or a taxi, but not us. We walked. It took around two and a half hours. The last half hour was spent within five to ten blocks of our hotel just trying to figure out where it was and what street we were on. I kept getting confused between Blvd, Rue, Ave…that would all have the same name and be in the same area (ex. Blvd. des Perdus, Rue des Perdus, Ave. des Perdus…) Rookie mistake I’m sure. The next day I was on top of it, but that night, exhausted, it made no sense. That was over six miles of walking. I was so happy when I finally started to recognize the street names and we finally saw the two shining stars of our hotel. A slightly gruff Parisian man opened the door with a screwdriver for us and I did my best to apologize in French as we came in for showing up so late. Because of daylight savings time it was then three-thirty in the morning, but they had advertised twenty-four hour reception so I didn’t feel too bad. In the safety of our room we hugged, guzzled some water and cracked open the bottle of wine we’d been saving. After the train, the long walk and feeling hopelessly lost, this felt like the best room ever. Little did Sean know that he’d get sick and this would turn into the crappy hotel room from hell.
The next day we ate breakfast, then I made a list of all the museums that would be open for the next two days. We had shown up on Easter weekend and after that most museums normally close on Mondays and Tuesdays. So again, we had not planned this very well. It worked out just fine though, with so many museums I made a long list of those that were open on which days and we headed out to see the Carnavalet museum. But the jerks had not updated their website and were closed! So we walked through Place Des Vosges, then by the Notre Dame (it was Easter Day and the lines were incroyable.) When we spotted the Eiffel Tower we decided to walk over there too. So after stopping for a crepe on Rue Cler we walked to the tower. That’s when Sean started feeling awful.
Poor Sean was turning all colors of miserable on the seven mile walk back from the Eiffel Tower to our hotel. Stopping occasionally to sigh deeply and look around for a magical rescue route, there was nothing to save him. When we finally made it back to the hotel he drank some water and curled into the fetal position for what I assumed would be the night. I went out to forage for some french food and discovered the “delicacy” of french hot dogs: baguette with hot dogs and a bunch of cheese and I think béchamel melted together…yum. I thought about offering some to sean but at this time I thought he might barf on me.
Backtracking a bit- Before we got onto the train for Paris we forgot to fill the water. We had been walking around in Nice all day in the rain and cold (probably not drinking enough water, finding bathrooms can be hard when you are walking around so drinking lots of water leads to lots of problems, same on trains, same on buses). By the time the train left we had already consumed the small amount of water we had and at some point I was so thirsty i resorted to eating an orange for its liquid. After I complained a few times about how thirsty I was Naomi went to the Cafe car and bought a 16oz 3 Euro bottle of water. We quickly drank that thinking it would get us through the trip. I Survived to Paris and when we got off the train it was late and fairly cold, we then walked over 6 miles to our hotel drank some water and some wine to celebrate our arrival.
The next morning I woke up and my shoulders were REALLY sore, they were achey and I felt just kind of beat up. Our Advil had depleted but I found another stronger pain reliever which I took and within half an hour was feeling pretty good. Again- finding bathrooms in Paris was awful so along our 18-20 miles we covered in that first day the amount of water we took in was nothing. Seriously, after a few times of having to quickly search for a bathroom in a city like that you kind of get trained to not want to drink lots of water. So needless to say that stronger pain reliever caught up with me and I started feeling terrible, after awhile it got pretty bad and we started back to the hotel which from where we were was like 7 miles.
By the time we almost at the hotel i was at a crawling pace, deep breathing to fight off the urge to throw up, and just hoping that I make it. The combination of pain reliever and dehydration had ruined me. We made it back to our room but little did i know that i would be out of the game for 2.5 days. Barely being able to stomach food or water I slowly tried to rehydrate eat food and sleep. Cold sweats, nausea, achey neck and shoulders so bad i couldn’t sleep. So i lay there watching terrible American TV dubbed into French so i cant even understand what is going on, Pimp My Ride, some French show called Angels or something (about wanna be singers and models), the only thing i got to watch in english was Airplane and then parts of Airplane 2 in Space.
The next day while Sean lay miserable in the hotel (not) Luxia I had excessive energy, so I walked to the Musée d’Orangerie, then back to the hotel. I tried to rally Sean to go to the Centre Pompidou thinking he would feel better if he got out and walked. But three miles in and he was ready to die again. So we walked back to the hotel. Then I walked to the Champs Elysées and back, for a grand total of something like 23 miles. I’m not sure because my phone died due to heavy GPS taxing the battery. What’s worst is that Sean still felt awful when I returned, tired and hoping for a leg massage. Bummer.
The next day was Tuesday and both the Louvre and the Centre Pompidou were closed the two biggies we were looking forward to seeing. So we went to the Musée d’Orsay and spent hours admiring all the paintings and the museum itself. Since this was still a Sean recovery day I was not allowed to drag him anywhere else, but I did sneak him into the Notre Dame. I wish, in hindsight, that I’d taken him to the Saint Chapelle instead though because I think it’s prettier. But he wouldn’t accept two stops on the way back to our hotel. So instead, we walked up to the Sacre Coeur at sunset which was a nice consolation.
Wednesday we didn’t have to worry about silly museum closures, but it was our last day and we had a lot left to see. So we headed first to the Louvre for a few hours of old art. We followed the Rick Steve’s audio guide on our phones so we didn’t get lost in that maze of a palace. It was still long and exhausting and Sean still had to drag me out of there because I was convinced I’d missed at least a full wing of the museum. But he looked like he was about to start strangling small people with their cameras if he had to keep dodging them, so we left.
Our last stop was my favorite, the Centre Pompidou, the contemporary art museum. It was a refreshing change after seeing so much of the same type of religious art throughout Italy and even in the Louvre. Lots of Picasso, Matisse, Miro and the famous urinal that shocked the art world rounded off our day that had begun with Leonardo, Raphael and Michelangelo.
Once we were thoroughly exhausted with museums and fine art we bought a bottle of the finest two euro Cotes du Rhone and began our long march towards The Eiffel Tower for a night climb. I passed some three euro gloves for sale on the street and briefly considered them, but thought I might find better. I didn’t and spent the next three days with freezing hands, thinking of what a great deal they had been.
We finished our wine in the park in front of the Eiffel Tower like classy tourists and then headed up. It was very windy and cold so we shivered in line all the way up (they wouldn’t let us take the stairs, otherwise we would have been fine) except for when we were crammed in the elevators literally like sardines. The views at night were worth the lines and the cold, but only briefly, then we came charging back down.
Once we descended we could breath a nice sigh of relief and check a heavy site-seeing day off our itinerary. We took our time walking back to Montmartre, stopping for another bottle of cheap wine to aid us in our trek. We walked back by the Siene, taking our time and enjoying the lack of people on the streets late at night. It was after one when got to our shabby hotel, we paid our bill and packed. I think I have finally broken in my boots.