Monday, June 30, 2014

Our French Adventure begins...

It has been a while since I posted anything, but since I'm traveling this summer and so many want me to keep them posted on our adventures, I thought this might be the best way.

Today is my third day in Paris.  We arrived on Saturday about noon and have survived until Monday evening (about 7pm local time).  Today was my first day of classes at Paris-Dauphine as well.  We have settled in nicely to our quintessentially French apartment and are really enjoying settling in to the city and the culture of France.

Our apartment is VERY small by American Standards.  It's about 500 square feet (think big hotel room).  We have a good size living space with a separate kitchen (small, but well-equipped) and separate 4-piece bath (also very small).  There is storage space everywhere, so we have space for our things and ourselves.  It's odd not to have separate sleeping space, but there is enough room so we aren't cramped, even if we are doing separate things.  Despite the small space, I really love it.  It is bright and airy.  We have a view of the Sacre Coeur outside of the living-area window.  I love that we are in a funky-neighborhood area rather than a tourist-filled central location.  We have wonderful bakers, shops, and even a cheese store (fromagerie), just steps from our door.

So far, we haven't done a lot of touristy things.  We have visited the Louvre twice - once to get our year-long teacher tickets (in case we get a lot of opportunities to travel to Paris before July 1, 2015) and get oriented.  Today, we went a second time and only visited the Napoleonic apartments.  They are so opulent and amazing.  We did our research and found that, as teachers, we qualify for the Louvre Carte Professionale.  For 35 Euros (about 45 dollars) each, we get year-long passes.  We also got some art books.  Since an individual Louvre visit is 13 Euros, it was a great deal.  Mike can spend his mornings at the Louvre while I'm in class and we can go together at our leisure.  His goal is to visit EVERY room in the Louvre -- since we've got 3 weeks, he just might pull if off.

We also climbed up to the Sacre Coeur.  It isn't far from the apartment, although it is straight up the hill.  Seriously, straight up.  My legs are killing me!  Think 45 solid minutes on the stair master.

Since I had my Tulane orientation last night, our touristing was cut a little short.  We saw Notre Dame as we were walking to the restaurant and wandered the Latin Quarter a little on the way back to the Metro at the end of the night.  But, we have so much time to spend here in Paris, we aren't particularly concerned.

The most interesting thing I've done is gone grocery shopping.  Since we have an apartment, we are cooking and eating in, for the most part.  On Saturday, I went to the grocery store to get some essential items so we could cook and eat.  It was all so odd -- I've been foreign-country grocery shopping before and most things don't phase me.  There aren't really any weird foods -- nothing you wouldn't expect in Europe.  The prices really threw me off though.  Things we take for granted are so expensive.  Peanut butter was ~$8 for a small jar.  Meat was ~$10-15 per pound.  On the other hand, things I normally wouldn't buy were very inexpensive.  Fancy cheeses were so inexpensive.  I bought 4-5 types of cheese for less than $10.  I also picked up some pate for $1.25.  Yeah, you read that right.  Just over a dollar for pate.  Mike spread it on a sandwich with some brie.  Fresh pasta was less than a dollar.  We pick up a fresh baguette every day at the bakery for $1.  The French government actually regulates the price of baguettes.

Right now, I have some croquettes in the oven (I thought they were tater-tots).  We will have fancy sandwiches and croquettes for dinner.  :)

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