Joie de vivre

After much encouragement, we decided that a blog may be the best way to share our experiences with those who are interested. We hope that you will check in whenever you have a moment and want to see what we’re up to abroad.

We had much anticipation for the flight since we were bringing our favorite K9, little Sammy. She had a couple of times when she got fed up with her carrier, but in general we couldn’t have asked for smoother sailing. We had no problems in Chicago with the size of her carrier (technically it was slightly larger than the allowed carry on bag size for your pet), partly because our flight was not full. The bag fit under the seat with no problem and every time we heard a whine from below, we would sneak a treat to her. Easily bribed, Sammy made it through the flight with flying colors and is now a world-travelling chien. Marc and I even got a bit of shut eye on the plane since we were so sleep-deprived from the days leading up to our departure. When we arrived in Paris, we braced for customs, knowing that there was a possibility that Sammy’s paperwork would not make the grade. Instead, we received no questions from the customs officers and we’re not even sure that they knew Sammy was there (her bag was black with mesh so it was difficult to see that she was inside). With the main hurdles of travel behind us, we set out for Paris proper.

Our first apartment was not the one that we chose… after signing the agreement with the online agency, we were informed that there was a one week discrepancy and we would be placed at an alternate apartment for the first week. Not ideal, but knowing that this trip would be full of “work-arounds” we decided to make the best of it. And our first week in Paris did not disappoint. Here are a few photos of what Paris looks like in winter:

La Tour Eiffel

Paris' most popular tourist destination is gorgeous in the mists of winter.

Mel & Le Seine

Mel & La Seine: Even though it is a chilly, gloomy day in Paris, it feels warm to us Midwesterners since there's no snow in Paris… yet…

Speaking of the weather, we have enjoyed a mix of clouds and sun, with a few sprinkles of rain in between. The temperature is around 40 degrees during the day, making it perfect for wandering the city and ducking into cafés and magasins to warm up.

Mel & L'Arc de Triomphe

Another of Paris' most famous monuments. Somehow neither of us have ventured to the top… definitely something we will try on a warmer day.

Marc & the Avenue Des Champs Éllysées

Strolling the Avenue Des Champs Éllysées… Marc wonders how much his favorite perfume will cost. Actually we scouted out Niketown, which we found out has social runs on Sunday mornings. We plan to check it out in hopes of meeting some fellow Parisiens.

We also took a few pics of our first apartment and its street. The apartment was an “alcove” which we discovered meant that it was the “penthouse” suite, requiring you to climb 4 flights of winding stairs to reach the top. We’ll let the pictures tell the story:

Apartment #1 door

If you look closely between the cheese and housewares stores, you can see a small door. This is the entry to our first apartment. Also, if you look 4 stories up at the small gray window sticking up, this is our apartment's window.

Marc & Sammy in the vestibule

Sammy felt right at home in a building sized more for petits chiens than humans. By the way, the foyer smelled of cheese and fish, some of the surrounding businesses.

Marc & Sammy climbing the stairs

Four flights of narrow, winding stairs to the top! Does this stair make me look fat? Or is it the 4 layers of clothes I have on?

Mel & Sammy in apartment #1

A quick glimpse at the sloped ceilings of our first apartment that we hit our heads on countless times in one week. Zut alors!

Rue Mouffetarde

But the view from the "penthouse" was priceless. Rue Mouffetarde is full of markets and people everyday of the week. You can find all of the essentials here – bread, cheese, vegetables, pastries, wine…

For anyone who has visited Paris in recent years, you most likely saw Notre Dame. In years past, it was brown in color or had scaffolding from work bring done to clean the surface. We were happy to discover on a sunny afternoon that they had finished the cleaning and it is back to its original glory.

Sunny Notre Dame

Notre Dame on a sunny afternoon taking in the sights. Baguette and nutella anyone?

Paris Green Roof

We were happy to discover that Paris is practicing sustainable architecture too. Bet this tree helps to create an awesome roof garden high above the city.

We hope that you enjoyed this first look at our time in Paris. As our blog title says, we will share our “tail” (which includes Sammy’s perspective) of Paris and Perpignan. We will post again soon with details of our new apartment and first week of school. So, until then, joie de vivre!


~ by marcandmel on February 21, 2010.

5 Responses to “Joie de vivre”

  1. Keep the photos comming. We will be living vicariously through you guys. – Ward

  2. So glad you arrived safe and sound! Have fun and keep the pictures coming.

  3. Great blog guys! I can’t wait to experience the adventure with you thru it. I can almost smell the cheese and taste the wine as I sit here staring out the window at the ships passing by on the Delaware River heading out to sea from Philadelphia. You are my heroes!

  4. Looks lovely! And the weather is much nicer than here. Glad you all made it safely!

  5. You guys are truly awesome! I feel like I was right there with you! Thanks for starting this for all of us left back in the boring states! Best of luck and happy tails to you! Love ya’s!

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