Exploring the City of Lights
Our journey to Paris began somewhat ominously. Our flight from Reno to Los Angeles left several hours late, which caused us to get bumped onto a later flight from LA to Paris.
Note to future digital nomads: address any visa concerns before arriving at the airport.
Our trip will span nearly 150 days, which triggered Delta’s system to require a travel visa, although we didn’t need one. The ground crew in Reno did a fantastic job overriding the request (several phone calls to their LA counterparts did the trick).
Arriving in Paris, we were wary of learning the metro while wrangling our bags out of Charles de Gaulle. Instead, we opted to hop in an Uber to ride across the city to our Airbnb. Let’s just say the traffic was less than desirable.
Our Airbnb host, Mario, met us in front of the apartment building and helped us get our bags into the much-too-small lift of the 100+ year old building. He climbed the six flights of stairs to meet us at the unit rather than waiting for the elevator to return (he’s probably still regretting that decision). Once we got settled, Jackie and I collapsed in bed after the 13-hour travel day.
Early the following day, I spent some time getting acquainted with the Nespresso machine. I only crushed one pod before getting the hang of it!
We woke up early and started our new life as digital nomads and worked until way into the night before we realized we were doing it all wrong. Jackie shares that saga here.
Mid-day, we decided to check out the cafes in our neighborhood and pick one we could work from during the week. While we weren’t successful in finding a laptop-friendly spot, we did find a restaurant, Monsieur Madame, nearby. Their cappuccino is terrific and the grilled ham and cheese should carry a cholesterol warning on the menu. Melted cheese is always fun, but melted cheese inside the sandwich with fried cheese on the outside? That’s next level. Someone should give the chef a friggin’ medal.
Our neighborhood, the 17th Arrondissement (district), had so very many restaurants with various food choices and price points. It would have taken us nearly two weeks to eat in each place on our street alone, and certainly didn’t stick to just our street! My favorite place in Paris was Cafe Lateral. The food and cappuccino were très magnifique!
Speaking of Cooking
Jackie gave me an early birthday gift, a cooking class at Le Cordon Bleu, one of my favorite activities in Paris. The Art of Making Sauces and Jus lasted five hours with a team from Le Cordon Bleu, led by Chef Patrick Caals. The interpreter, Anthony, was superb and did his best to help the one guy in the room who only spoke English.
We made five sauces — cocktail, genevoise, vigneronne, pepper and béarnaise. Chef Caals had the class combine our genevoise sauce due to the complexity of the recipe and the range of cooking experience in the class. I implemented my newly acquired knowledge by adapting one of the recipes and creating a salad dressing with wine and butter a few nights later. Please don’t mention this to anyone associated with Le Cordon Bleu > they might ask me to return my class certificate, though I’m keeping my apron and hat!
Related: Discovering Louis Vuitton
Mustn’t Miss The Art
We expected to be overwhelmed by the art in Paris and that expectation was definitely met. We enjoyed the proximity of the Arc de Triomphe, as it was about a ten-minute walk from our apartment. The monument was a handy landmark when we got turned around, though several locals did stop to provide help and directions when Apple maps didn’t cut it.
We visited the Louvre on our third day in Paris, as part of a small group tour with The Tour Guy, which was worth every penny. Our guide, Anastasia, led our four-person contingent directly to the Mona Lisa and got us within six feet of the most famous painting in the world!
Jackie is a huge fan of Van Gogh, and visiting the Musée d’Orsay gave us a chance to get up close and personal with his Starry Night Over The Rhone. There are at least 20 other versions of Starry Night, as Van Gogh was never delighted with the results. We were pretty delighted with the original.
Related: Running in Paris
On our last day in Paris, we took a hop-on, hop-off bus tour of the city. While we planned to do the bus tour on day one, our jet lag and general bewilderment kept us on foot and the metro. I expected the Eiffel Tower to be underwhelming. Wow, was I wrong! It was a spectacular sight, particularly with the sun sitting low in the sky and providing a dramatic backdrop.
I’m looking forward to traveling to Lyon and discovering how it differs from Paris. The city’s smaller size makes me think it will be a bit more manageable, and I suspect running in Lyon will be less daunting. I’ll let you know!
If you’re planning a visit to Paris, consider using our Paris scavenger hunt!