First Impressions of Paris

Arriving at Gard du Nord

We arrived in Paris yesterday evening by Chunnel. The ride was incredibly smooth and I slept for most of the trip, missing everything between London and Paris, including the tunnel and the French countryside. Hopefully I’ll stay awake on the return, although Matt said I didn’t miss much going through the tunnel – it was shorter than he expected.

In just over 2 hours we arrived in the chaos of Gare du Nord Station. I had no idea what my first impressions of Paris would be. The size of the station was overwhelming with stacks of luggage, throngs of people, noise and an abundance of shady looking characters. The waiting line for a cab stretched for a block and we were told it was about a two hour long wait. The Metro seemed like too much to deal with after a long day and we opted for a shuttle/limo. It was a big SUV with a driver who spoke some English – anything for a quick escape to our hotel! We gladly paid the higher fare and were soon on our way, winding through the streets of Paris in the rain.

Drive Through Paris

The drive through Paris was a memorable one filled with swarms of motorcycles and scooters, breath-stopping maneuvering by the driver and what seemed like several near misses with anything that was in our path. He was soon pointing out the House of Chanel, Place de la Concorde, the Paris Opera, The Eiffel Tower…   even with the rainy, gloomy evening and wild ride, the beauty of Paris came through. We arrived at our hotel, Relais Bosquet, during a thunderstorm. The hotel was small and the staff were warm and welcoming. We checked in quickly and went up to our room which was small and cozy with a french balcony on the courtyard. The rain stopped quickly and we decided to walk to Rue Cler, a block away, for dinner at an outdoor cafe.

These are my first impressions of Paris, taken during a walk after dinner. Black and white photos seem appropriate for a rainy evening in Paris. It fits the mood of the evening – a bit arty and mysterious.