My first thought upon landing at Charles De Gaulle in Paris was “OMG THESE BATHROOMS ARE SO PINK AND COOL!” After going through customs and immigration, we walked outside and were greeted with a chilly, cloudy French morning. Because of my sister-in-law’s horror story of taking the metro from the airport, we decided to splurge on a cab to be dropped off at the Eiffel Tower because we had a bit of time to kill before check-in. “Parlez-vous anglais?” I asked the cabbie to which he responded with a chuckle and a “hell no, dude” expression on his face. The fixed rate or 55 euro to get from the airport to the Eiffel Tower was a steal considering the amount of traffic we had to sit in!
I will never ever forget watching Arc De Triomphe get bigger and bigger as we drove closer and closer or seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time. When we got dropped off, Joel grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me excitedly while screaming “LOOK AT WHERE WE ARE, BABE!” When I regained my balance from being non-violently shaken by my husband, I looked up at one of the most recognizable structures in the world and audibly gasped at its beauty. As we walked under the Eiffel Tower, I tilted my head back and couldn’t help thinking that it was like looking up the skirt of a giant iron lady, a thought that will make me and my super mature mind giggle for the rest of our days. We walked through the grounds and I kept looking back over my shoulder just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. Nope, we were really in Paris!
We ate brunch at a cafe around the corner and had the pleasure of chatting with the first English speaking Frenchman we met, our waiter Pierre* (*not his real name), before walking the cobblestoned streets to our flat in the 9th arrondissement (a block away from the Moulin Rouge). We got all the way passed Champs-Élysées before I caved in and hailed our second cab of the day (it was our honeymoon and I needed my strength for other activities, okay?!). Thomas (pronounced “TOE MAH”, and yes, his real name) met us at our Airbnb in South Pigalle where we would spend our first night in Paris.
There were a handful of times on our trip where I thought to myself “this is it… this is where I die… I’m going to die on my honeymoon”. Blame it on a mix of jet lag, the weird paranoia I was born with, and the fact that I used to binge watch the show 1,000 Ways To Die… Whatever. Not 5 minutes had gone by after Thomas had left us before someone else came banging on our door demanding we open it immediately. I had been warned by a different Airbnb host to never answer the door unless you are expecting company because that’s how you get robbed, so Joel and I just stood there, wide eyed and in fear for our lives. I then did what any exhausted, terrified newlywed would do: texted Thomas so he could deal with it and took a 4 hour nap with my husband.
We awoke hungry, but still a little scared. Our hunger soon got the better of us and we put on our big kid pants and unlocked the door to venture out. The coast was not clear, though, and after walking an entire step out of our apartment and hearing distant voices we immediately ran back inside to wait for a quiet opportunity to make our escape. When the moment presented itself, we high-tailed it outside and back onto the Parisian streets in search of pizza. We had pizza and beer at a place down the street from the Montmarte Cemetery, then walked to Sacré-Cœur, nodded a quick hello to the guards carrying automatic weapons, strategically twisted around the dickheads aggressively trying to sell bracelets to tourists, and ran up the 270 steps to the basilica. The church itself is amazing, but the view from the top of the steps is one of the best photo ops in all of Paris. I kicked myself for leaving the “good camera” still packed in Joel’s suitcase.
Going down all of those steps was much for fun than going up and we rewarded ourselves with crepes at the bottom before rushing back to our flat before the sun went down (we were still a little paranoid). With our deadbolt securely fastened and our bellies full, we ended our very first day in Paris by passing the eff out. Early the next morning we grabbed a couple croissants at a corner patisserie and walked to the train station to hop on the high speed train to Stuttgart. Don’t worry, though, this is just the beginning. We’d find ourselves back in Paris at the end of our incredible journey through Europe.
Oh, before we left Paris for the first time, we found out that the person we were convinced wanted to rob and/or murder us was actually just the electrician who needed to check on something in the flat. Nice guy too!