Note: This travelog was written in 2013, so many details have long been forgotten since we took the trip.
Saturday, October 23, 1999: Last minute airfare sales convinced us to take a spur-of-the-moment weekend trip to Paris. We flew via Pittsburgh, arriving in Paris at 7:45 AM.
|We dropped off our luggage at the Ritz Hotel, where we blew all of our airline savings on two nights in a crazy expensive room (4,000 Francs/night, which was equivalent to about $700/night). It was much too early to check in, so we headed out for some sightseeing.|
|At 9:30 AM, we took a two-hour Paris Discovery tour offered by Paris Vision. The pickup point was three blocks away, across from Tuileries Garden, and the first attraction on the tour was Place Vendôme, where the Ritz was located.|
|The tour took us past all the major Paris landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower. With the year 2000 coming up soon, the Tower displayed a daily countdown shown here: "J-70" to note that there were 70 days left until the end of the year.|
|We enjoyed a McBacon and a McChicken at McDonald's across the street from the Louvre. Of course, we didn't take a picture of it, so we got this from Google Streetview. It hasn't changed much.|
|After lunch, we walked around as much as we could stand, then went back to the Ritz to wait for our room to be available. We spent time in this small parlour just outside the back exit of the hotel, the same exit used by Princess Diana shortly before her death two years earlier.|
|Everything about the Ritz smells good and looks luxurious. Here is the women's rest room.|
|Finally, we got into our room. It was small by Ritz standards, tucked in the back of the hotel on the top floor. It overlooked the small road behind the hotel and offered views of offices across the way.|
|The bathroom was all marble and luxury.|
|The bath amenities featured the same distinctive scent that permeated the hotel. After a nap, we headed out later in the evening. We enjoyed our first-ever Nutella banana crepe from a street cart, then spent some time in an arcade where we bought an ink stamp of our faces made by a kiosk. Coolest souvenir ever, and we decided we would someday stamp our passports with it because we didn't get a stamp when we arrived in France.|
|Sunday, October 24, 1999: The next day, it was clear and beautiful, so we did more sightseeing.|
|With exception of Place Vendôme, it was all unphotographed, but it involved walking around quite a bit. We have little memory of what we ate, other than there may have been a cafe and a food stand involved.|
|The only photo we took while walking was a billboard for "Austin Powers: L'Espion qui m'a Tirée."|
|At 7:30 PM, we took another Paris Vision tour. As usual, we walked three blocks to the meeting point only to end up back at Place Vendôme first, hearing the same pre-recorded narration as the day before: "There's an air of sadness about the square..."|
|This tour was 3 1/2 hours long, and started with a drive through Paris at night, then stopped at the Eiffel Tower for a visit.|
|We took an elevator to the second floor of the tower.|
|The view was beautiful, with a nice full moon.|
|Here's the Esplanade du Trocadero.|
|We had our photo taken by someone, then headed inside to the gift shop and snack bar, where we had some bottled water and pizza campagnard, whatever that is.|
|Next, the tour bus took us to our Bateaux Parisiens tour, where the only picture we took was this shaky one of a bridge we went under.|
|Monday, October 25, 1999: Our weekend in Paris ended too soon. We paid our 8,000 Franc bill, grabbed our complimentary newspaper, and headed to the airport for our noon flight home.
** THE END **
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy