Epic Europe Trip 2014 Day 16: A Room With A View

It's hard to imagine that as I type todays post, to the right of me I can see the Eiffel Tower glittering in the Paris skyline. But that's getting ahead of myself. This morning marked the end of our stay in Rome and the beginning of the end for our Epic Europe trip. We woke up this morning at 6:30AM and got ready for our flight from Rome to Paris. We originally wanted to use Uber to get to the airport but our guy never showed. We didn't have much luck with Uber in Rome. So instead we used a taxi and that might not have been the best turn of events. Our driver was one of the most insane taxi drivers we've ever had. A couple of times he was clocking in over 100mph in a pretty good rain storm. There were so many near accidents on the way to the Rome airport I don't even want to think about it. 

When we got the airport all we saw were Alitalia signs and finally we asked for help and sure enough there was a small Air France booth at the very back corner. When we went there it was empty and soon a lady let us know that we had to go to the Alitalia booth to drop off our luggage. When we finally made it through security we only had an hour until our flight so we once again went to the golden arches of McDonalds for breakfast. This time they didn't have hamburgers available so I got an egg mcmuffin and Jenn had a breakfast platter neither of which were very good. An hour later we went and boarded our two hour flight to Paris.

The flight was pretty uneventful other then seeing the gorgeous snow capped Alps out the window. We made our way to pick up our bags which weren't the last off the plane today and then made our way to grab a taxi. We both forgot how far the Charles de Gaulle airport was from the Paris city center. It took us nearly 45 minutes to get to our hotel. Not only that but our taxi driver in Paris was the complete opposite of our driver in the morning. I think the fastest we ever went was 45 mph. It was a long drive in.

When we got to our hotel, the Hyatt Paris Madeleine a bellman grabbed our bags from the taxi and we were ushered in to the hotels lobby. This might be the nicest hotel we've stayed at all trip. It doesn't hurt that since Jenn is a Hyatt Platinum member they upgraded her to a Diamond Level member while we were here which means we get free breakfast and a room upgrade. Score. 

Our room wasn't ready a little before 2PM when we arrived so we dropped off our bags and made our way to Champs-Élysées and then to the Arc de Triomphe. The last time we were both in Paris was days after we got engaged in 2008. We probably spent a half hour in the area and never made our way up the Arc de Triopmphe. Today since we had time and not a lot planned we spent far more time enjoying Champs-Élysées and then made our way up the Arc de Triopmphe. 

Jenn warned me before beginning the trek up the Arc de Triomphe that it was quite the workout. In fact the 285 stairs that it takes to get to the top of the Arc de Triomphe were pretty tough especially considering its a small winding staircase to get to the top. Surprisingly both Jenn and I made it to the top without any breaks although Jenn was huffing and puffing a bit when we did reach the top. We were super fortunate today with the best weather I've ever had in Paris. The three days we were here last were showers intermittently everyday, luckily today has been nothing short of perfect. Crystal blue skies in the low 50's, its cold but not too bad. From the top of the Arc de Triomphe we had amazing views of the Eiffel tower, Champs-Élysées, and much of the city center. It was well worth the trip up. 

We stayed at the top of the Arc de Triomphe for around fifteen minutes and then started to head down. As Jenn normally does we stopped at the gift shop to what turned out to be a pretty expensive little detour. Jenn found a bunch of Paris themed Christmas ornaments and a Paris deck of cards. I thought she was happy in Santorini with her ornaments, this was a completely different level of excitement.

After we got the ornaments and cards we headed down the 285 stairs. We took some pictures along the base of the Arc de Triomphe and across the street and then made our way back up Champs-Élysées.

We stopped in several clothing stores on our way down Champs-Élysées and back to our hotel, one in particular called Zara that Jenn fell in love with. We then had the bright idea to find a nearby Starbucks and sure enough there is one on Champs-Élysées so we made a bee-line straight for it. Oh how I've missed Starbucks. Its been nearly 3 weeks of no Starbucks for me and only a couple of weeks since Jenn had her hot chocolate in Istanbul it was time to rectify that. As we walked into the Starbucks which is in the center of a mall the line was at least fifteen deep and there was Christmas lights and music playing overhead. Although its early November there was something right about that. We got our drinks I got my first peppermint mocha of the year (which ended up just being a mocha) and Jenn got a hot chocolate. It was like drinking a small piece of home which was nice.

We took our drinks on the road and headed back to our hotel to get our room. We took a wrong turn somewhere along the route and had to work our way back to the hotel. When we finally arrived they had our room ready and the hotels concierge took us up to the sixth floor to our room. She walked us through all the many features in the room including the diamond level welcome gift which was some bottled water and a bottle of red wine. The best part of all was that our room was upgraded to a deluxe room which has a view of the Eiffel tower. We never in our wildest dreams would have expected that, a truly wonderful surprise for our four nights here in Paris. 

Once we got settled in our new abode, recorded a room tour, and checked out all of the amenities we went hard to work to figure out what to do for dinner. There are so many restaurants and styles of food in Paris that it makes choosing a place to eat almost impossible. The other big issue is that Jenn and I like to eat early but 99% of restaurants in Paris open at 7PM at the earliest. We headed out of our hotel in search of a highly reviewed restaurant called Le Clos Bourguignon a ten minute walk from our hotel. On the way we stopped at a restaurant that looked really good and even sat down at a table. Unfortunately there was nothing in English on the menu and the waiter spoke almost none so we had no idea what to order or where to start so we left there and ended up going to Le Clos Bourguignon. 

It ended up being a great choice. Jenn had their steak and I had their duck leg. Along with our meals we got a half bottle (50cl) of red wine which was served in an old school pitcher that was out of this world. Everything at the restaurant was full of flavor and was really great. Having not eaten much today we super appreciated the big portions. We ended dinner a little after 9PM and headed back to our hotel. Jenn took a nice bath in the rooms huge tub and we hit the sack a little before 11PM. I can't say enough how great it is to be back in Paris. I also can't wait to see what the rest of our time in Paris has in store for us.