Paris, We've Arrived// Paris & Iceland, Day 1

Sunday, October 1, 2017
We got a *little* bit of sleep on the plane
While we wouldn't be visiting Iceland until our return leg, we still had a layover at Keflavík Airport in southwest Iceland as we traveled to Paris.
I thought this would be a good point for a coffee break to try and still keep us on our regular caffeine schedule.  [I've been on and off the caffeine over the past couple of years as I struggled to control my migraines. Truth is that I really missed the coffee ritual when I gave it up. I switched to peppermint tea during the week for a while, but I still really wanted that hot cup of coffee on weekend mornings. Which inevitably led to migraine Mondays. There were all kinds of decaf formulations we tried unsuccessfully. Long story short, I'm into coffee too much to give it up, but I need to consume about the same amount each day or it's definitely a migraine trigger for me.]

Anyways, we landed in Iceland at 6:35 AM and left at 7:40 AM, coffee in hand, and landed in France at 12:55 PM. Paris was 2 hours ahead of Iceland, so the flight was just over 3 hours long. I watched Going in Style and several episodes of Big Bang Theory along the way.
After arriving at the airport, we grabbed lunch at Brioche Dorée, a French chain of bakery/cafe restaurants. The plan was to take a series of Metros to our Airbnb, but the connections weren't entirely straightforward, so Francisco kept puzzling over maps at each stop.  It's not hard to get him to admit how much he secretly enjoys this part of traveling [something about the maps and trains thrills him to no end], but even he was just ready to be to our temporary home already. We encountered rappers on the Metro for the first time

This was our second time ever using Airbnb (use this link to save $40 toward your first trip: I guess it's just an extra challenge to ourselves, like "oh, hey, you don't speak Spanish or French? how 'bout you go show up in a non-touristy neighborhood and try to gain access to a local's apartment?".
Walking from the Metro to our Airbnb
We stayed in an extremely budget-friendly flat that you can check out here. The instructions we'd received from the host Stephane directed us to pick up the key and check-in/out instructions from a small merchant down the street. More clear information definitely would've been appreciated as it took us a while to find the place.
Supercute passageway outside of our Airbnb + the supermarket where we picked up our flat keys
Knowing what we know now, I don't know that we would have chosen this place. It was a 3rd floor walk-up flat in an older building, and Stephane definitely had very eclectic tastes. Given how small it was, it was difficult to photograph, but hopefully my vlogs will present a better idea of just how tiny it was.  #Parisliving
Paris Airbnb
  • $201 for 3 nights was a steal for Paris [that's $67/couple/night or $33.50/person]
  • Location - Near shopping and cafes [Levis shopping street]
    • Possible to walk to key Paris destinations 
    • Reasonably close to Metro
  • Small flat
  • Bathroom issues
    • Impossibly small
    • Bathroom door didn't close
    • See-through glass door not ideal if more than one person staying here
    • Hard step-down out of shower
  • Some areas of flat dirty - layer of grime on bathroom door
  • Spoiled milk in the fridge
  • Couch bed very creaky and rather hard
To be honest, we expected to crash after we'd gotten settled. It had been a long day of travel. But then we ventured outside to check out the neighborhood. We weren't expecting much to be open since it was Sunday, but we were delighted with what we found and essentially created a mini French food tour featuring merengues, galettes, etc. Here's a brief summary of what we tried:
  • Aux Merveilleux De Fred - This place was so freaking amazing.  The merveilleux is a small cake that originated in Belgium and is now found in France; it's a sandwich of two light merengues welded with whipped cream. They were delicious little merengue balls, and I made sure we returned here before leaving France.  It's only 1,60 Euro for a mini, and I recommend trying them ALL. My fave was the white chocolate.   
  • La Baguette Margot - We stopped here for a crepe and ended up getting a galette paysanne, which was a buckwheat crepe filled with oeuf (egg), fromage (cheese), and tomate. I didn't love the egg, and I definitely wish that I had gotten a sweet crepe instead.  
  • La Maie des Anges - I wanted to try all the French foods at this point, so we grabbed a raspberry framboise eclair and a nutella croissant. I was a little surprised at the flavor and consistency of the eclair. I loved the raspberry filling, but the dough used for the pastry had a different flavor than what I was expecting. The croissant only had a vague nutella flavor, but Francisco made sure that we tried an authentic (unflavored) croissant later on this trip.  
I could have kept eating, but I had to exert some willpower!
We wandered around until probably 6ish trying various foods and then retired to our uncomfortable couch bed around 7:30 to sleep for 13 hours.   


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