My first night in Paris was spent eating Chinese take-out under a sparkling Eiffel Tower, and it was perfect. But we’ll get to why that makes sense in a bit.
I left all my buddies in Nice on the 9:35 train to Paris. It was a six-hour ride and I slept the entire time. I realize my crabbiness with five girls who had a grand time on the town last night makes me sound old and ornery for 22, but it wasn’t that a girl did her makeup sprawled on my bed, and it wasn’t that they didn’t go out until 2a.m., and it wasn’t that they were back with the lights on at 4:30a.m., and it wasn’t even that half the women in the room have the 2011 Nice Marathon to run in 36 hours…
It was 5:05a.m. and “Hey!!! YOU WANNA KNOW THE MOST OBNOXIOUS SOUND?”
Oh, it was the worst dying Furby sound ever.
Also, I could have started my own drinking game with the number of time they called each other “bits.”
Drink, bits! Loveya, bits!
My daily budget was blown before I got to Paris, and all ground I made up in Nice was lost immediately with an 18€ reservation and a bordrestaurant car lunch. That said, my train ride to Paris was fantastic. The Spinner’s “Gimme Some Lovin'” played on iTunes, an old conductor returning for one train ride punched my reservation ticket with a heart-shaped hole puncher, and when we arrived in Paris, a crowd greeted him as he threw confetti out of the front car’s window.
I flew off the train, down the stairs, got my metro ticket, on to the first line, off the next stop, on to the next line, off in ten stops. Checked in, tossed bag, thought “Shower?”, saw sunset happening, left.
My friend Nancy is meeting me here in four days, so I chose a hostel way out of the main tourist area, while I explore family and friends’ old neighborhoods and haunts. That said, goal number one was seeing the Eiffel Tower.
I’d been told it was about 45-50 minutes away by metro and that is a long time to be underground after being on a train all day. I decided to walk. It’s flat, it’s cool out, it’s… only 7-8 kilometers by the most direct route, which I never seem to take if I try.
The next two hours were fantastic. For the first forty minutes, I was walking a straight line toward a sunset. Also toward a very, very small in the distance thing that was repetitively lighting up and shimmering.
The Eiffel Tower!
Ten minutes later, it’s not getting as big as I anticipated. I’m a little let-down. It’s not that tall either.
Ten minutes later, and still a long ways away from the shimmering, I breath a sign of relief. It’s the Christmas display at a downtown department store lighting up. A check of the map shows I’m maybe halfway to the tower.
First spotting of the tower happens, and it’s shimmering. I am very, very happy.
I didn’t even know the tower did this magic little light shimmer until this summer when I saw Midnight in Paris, and even then it might have been kept a surprise for this trip, if only the other moviegoer’s hand had covered my eyes just a few seconds longer.
Oh, it doesn’t need to be a surprise. It’s such a sight. Such a wonderful, wonderful sight.
I’m still a fifteen minute walk from the base of the tower itself and Christmas music is playing. To my left and right on both sides of the main street I’m about to cross, dozens of vendors are selling holiday trinkets, treats and toys. Six miles into my walk, I don’t care I went daily budget broke six hours ago, and I got hot wine and a waffle sold to me by a girl in an elf hat.
I’m so happy.
Couples are everywhere. Hands are being held. Kisses are being kissed. I’d been told it’s easy to fall in love in Paris and it happens to everyone.
I stayed at the tower for awhile but I had mission #2 to accomplish. According to a friend, the best Chinese food in the world is at The Jade Fountain. I’m to get the wanton soup and sweet and sour chicken.
It was about five minutes from the Eiffel Tower. I’m not big on sitting in restaurants alone and it is gorgeous out, so I asked the hostess “Do you do take-away?”
A rather sharp “Of course.”
Yeah, okay, maybe that was a stupid question.
Five minutes later, I am reading the menu and I see sweet and sour pork, but not chicken… I ask the waiter, a different guy walking by, “Do you do sweet and sour… Chicken?”
Come on, you guys planned that or something. I feel silly now.
I took it to a bench in the park right at the base of the Eiffel Tower.
A bunch of couples on benches in love and being lovey.
Me and my friend’s favorite Chinese food.
I mean, close enough.
It really was pretty awesome Chinese food. Giant chunks of fresh apple and pineapple, the wonton soup was fantastic… I think it had to do with the liquid gold in the broth, because this was the priciest Chinese take-out ever, Quack.
Said with a wink and a smile.
$24 worth of sweet and sour awesomeness, and this one didn’t come with the typical post take-out feeling of grease, grossness and gluttony.
I felt great, and this was my view.