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Paris Diary: Day 1

**Warning: lengthy word/pic post! I had such a great time on vacation, I wanted to put down everything we did in as much detail as possible! Also, sorry for some of the grainy photos, these were all taken from my phone, with a few mixed in from my Canon S110**

The big day finally arrived. We flew off to Paris, ready to start our vacation. The flight on Air France was pleasant and surprisingly quick. We each had our own TV at our seat so there were plenty of movies to pass the time... So much so that we didn't really get any sleep. We finally landed in slightly overcast (but warm) Charles de Gaulle airport, and thankfully Irwin was able to navigate the metro to take to the apartment we were renting for the week. When we got out of the metro, the first thing I saw was Notre Dame- It was a pleasant surprise! I was seriously in awe of it, and because I didn't expect to see any of the sights so soon, i couldn't stop looking back at it as we navigated our way to the apartment. Another 15 minute walk along the Seine and we were home, in our quaint and cozy Parisian apartment. The owners even left us a bottle of wine as a welcoming gift!

We dropped off our bags, then headed out to explore the area. We headed towards Notre Dame, but just sat on the benches in front to people watch. Afterwards we went to the Luxembourg Gardens to see the views, which were just stunning. So many people were out enjoying the beautiful weather and having picnics on the lawn. We headed back and grabbed something quick to eat around the corner from the apartment, then headed out again for our 4 hour bike tour. We headed to the Eiffel Tower to meet our group for the Fat Tire Bike Tour, and my first glimpse of the tower was just awe-inspiring. The Eiffel Tower is so iconic and there's so many pictures of it.. But you never realize how grand and beautiful it is until you actually see it with your own eyes. It literally took my breath away. I wanted to just stand where I was, in the little alley around the corner from the Eiffel Cafe, and admire the view. 

Our tour guide arrived just as we sat down at the base of the south leg of the tower to people watch, and he was this really funny Australian guy named Steven. We walked 7 minutes to the "office" to grab our bikes and then headed out for the tour. 

Let me just say, this was the best idea for our first day in Paris. Mind you we had been awake for over 24 hours at this point, but this tour was SO much fun that we got our second wind on the ride. We rode through various parts of the city, around the Eiffel Tower, through random neighborhoods where Steven would point out various architectures, Notre Dame, the Army Museum, the building where Napoleon Bonaparte is buried, and the Louvre. We rode into the square of the Louvre just to appreciate its beauty and the serenity of the square, and then rode to the famous glass pyramid for pictures. We also rode to Sainte Chapelle, the Pont des Arts (Love Lock Bridge) which happens to be in front of the building which is the institution that examines the validity of certain words in the French language. Basically, they determine whether a word is more French or if it's more American, etc. And towards the end of our tour, we stopped right in front of the Eiffel Tower, just in time to see it sparkle. Words cant even describe how breathtaking it was to see.

You know how Disneyland feels magical during Christmas? That doesn't even compare to this sight. After that, we headed to the boat cruise on the Seine with a few bottles of wine, admiring the views of everything from the river, and just seeing all the locals having picnics with friends or romantic evenings with their loved one. It was absolutely beautiful! We didn't realize however that we would be biking back to the office after all that wine, but we made it back to our apartment just fine (we stopped by a local crepe place for some delicious savory crepes.. drool). It was about midnight when we headed home, but our street was surprisingly lively, something we didn't know about the French... They enjoy their meals and conversations, so much so, that their late dinners can last till 1 or 2am. This was perfectly fine because the apartment we were staying in, was absolutely quiet. Opening the door in the morning though was a whole different story...

Paris Diary: Day 2