Paris, Day One
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Recovery. We are wiped out. We wash up and after a short cat nap feel more human and a bit hungry. We decide to go out into the Place de la République to find a sandwich/pastry shop. We find a Boulangerie Patisserie around the corner from the hotel and with our broken French and a lot of pointing and smiling we order a ham sandwich with cheese, lettuce and tomato on a wonderful fresh poppy seed baguette. Fresh. Simple. We also buy a pastry for dessert. I drop Susan off at the hotel and walk about a block in the other direction to the MONOP (convenience store) to buy some bottled water. I settled on San Pellegrino. We picnic in our room. It was a really tasty treat. Then we crash like bricks. The room is hot and dusty. We wake up and open the window that overlooks the Place de al République.
Our mini-suite upgrade looked just like this photo taken from our OfftoParis.com hotel booking page for the Crowne Plaza Republique. Comparing our rates to the rate Viking charged us I would guess they get about a 35% margin on their reservations at the hotel. So, they make money, we save money, but we stay a few Metro stops from the tourist destinations. Fair trade off? Maybe.
The afternoon is noisy with demonstrators protesting the new offical retirement age. The Place de la République is a rallying point for the strikers. That means there are speakers amplifying speeches and playing music. Marches with drums and banners and made-for-TV groups of protesters outside our 4the floor window. By early evening things are a bit calmer and the TV vans have thinned in number. The lights glow in the center of the park and we decide to eat an early dinner at the Pizza Pino, a pizza chain with a franchise right outside the hotel's front door. People watching at the restaurant is definitely entertaining. There is a family next to us that keeps smiling at us thinking we are being entertained by their conversation and their kids antics. We play along.
After returning to the hotel I ask about the temperature controls in the room and am told that there is no cooling system online now that the heating system has been turned on. Our only option is to turn the system off at the thermastat and open the window. This proves problematic. The traffic noise, shouting and sirens continue late into the night or early into the morning depending on your perspective. I have none since I am still trying to adjust to Paris time. All I know is that it is nearly impossible to get to sleep. Susan puts her earplugs in and makes it through the night just fine.