Arrival in the City of Light

On French soil
We made it! From Seattle to Vegas to JFK and at last to L’aéroport de Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle. That’s the routing you get when you book with mileage on Alaska—a bit more involved than the direct flight from Seattle, but we got here all the same. Customs turned out to be a breeze–we literally walked right up and showed our passports with our hard-earned visas. The officer gave me a brief look, said nothing, stamped them all and waved us through. Since customs took almost no time at all, we ended up waiting a while for our car to arrive. But once it did, we quickly got into the city and to our hotel for the first night. After getting settled in the hotel (and naps for everyone) we took a walk around the neighborhood. We found our apartment and then walked from there to the girls’ school—just six minutes away (450 meters according to Google). We were so jet-lagged, none of us felt like going to a restaurant, so we grabbed some things at a local market and ate back in the hotel room before staying up as late as we could to try to get on Paris time (not that it worked!).

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The steps down to The International School of Paris on rue Beethoven

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A view just a few blocks from the girls’ school

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Dinner back at the hotel

Setting up house On Saturday, August 1st, we moved into our apartment at 20 rue Raynouard in the Passy neighborhood of the 16th arrondissement, on the west side of the Seine. It was only a ten minute walk from the hotel, but our checked baggage was so heavy we got a taxi to get all of our things there!

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The front door

These first days were definitely unlike normal days of being a tourist. We went shopping at a couple of different grocery stores and a pharmacie down the street. We spent our first few hours unpacking and trying to figure out where everything in the apartment is (still not done with that task). In our first two days here we didn’t use the Metro at all! We rented a furnished apartment, which is much easier than renting an empty place. Still, we’ve had things to buy, and we keep discovering more things we don’t have yet. I’m sure that will continue for a while. I made dinner our first night here and then realized there are no napkins or paper towels of any kind in the apartment. I’m still not sure if there are measuring cups. I’ve found one piece of tupperware.

IMG_5905 IMG_5907 IMG_5908 The decor is wonderful, but not exactly what we’re used to… and alas, the gramophone doesn’t appear to have worked in a long time…

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Ready to make our first dinner in the apartment

We have managed to get some nice views of la tour Eiffel and enjoyed les jardins du Trocadéro (the park with the big fountains and pools opposite the Tower). We even saw the police chase down what appeared to be a rogue trinket seller and corner him by the fountains. Such excitement in our first few days!

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The Tower at night

Shopping for essentials… and a shocking discovery!
The fridge was bare, of course, so we made an initial shopping trip for some basics (eggs, cheese, ketchup, mustard, tomato sauce, etc.). We’ve learned—much to Carolyn’s disappointment—that cheddar cheese is almost impossible to come by. Apparently in this land of hundreds of cheeses, cheddar is scoffed at as hardly even a real cheese, although we found some Emmental that made for some tasty omelets as well as one called saint-félicien that’s not bad. (Carolyn’s comment to her friends on Instagram: “What will we do? How will I live!?! These are the questions in my head.”) Well, this is part of why we came, right? To live in another culture. So I picked up some orange colored cheese called mimolette. It turned out to be a French version of edam and one of the closest things to cheddar we’ll be able to get. Learn more about the lack of cheddar in France here.

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Evelyn stocking the fridge

We’re glad to have wifi, and relieved it’s been easy to connect to. I’ve even gotten my Macbook to recognize the printer! We also have a landline (haven’t had one of those in years). There aren’t many outlets—we’ll be swapping things in and out of the two outlets in the kitchen a lot, I fear. On Sunday, we met our some friends at the American Church in Paris for the service and spent the day together–but that’s for another post.

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5 thoughts on “Arrival in the City of Light

  1. No cheddar oh my! This promises to be an awesome adventure. What a great opportunity to go cheese, bread and meat tasting. Just did some cheese tasting in Mexico City and it was great. Thanks for keeping us in the loop! Luv u

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  2. I’m almost disappointed to say that we managed to find some cheddar so easily after I posted this! Exploring *new* things is what this is supposed to be all about! Maybe not having our normal cheese might be a good thing. Well, there’s a Marks & Spencer food shop nearby that has quite a few imported British items; we found a few cheddars to choose from–although most are white cheddars. So, no year without cheddar after all! C’est la vie!

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  3. Matt, I was trying to think what “American” food would be harder to find in Paris than cheddar cheese. How about cheese curds or corndogs? Do you think you could find either of those in Paris? Len

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  4. Can’t say I’ve seen either of those in Europe, Len! Although I can’t say I’ve looked for either of them… I imagine pork rinds and grits would be hard to come by as well. But it does seem like most things can be found if you really look hard enough–and are willing to pay. Evelyn loves ranch dressing; I found a tiny bottle for almost 7 euros. We’ll keep looking!

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