First Night in Paris

“But Paris was a very old city and we were young and nothing was simple there, not even poverty, nor sudden money, nor the moonlight, nor right and wrong nor the breathing of someone who lay beside you in the moonlight.”
― Ernest Hemingway

Friday afternoon I met up with Jeff at King’s Cross St Pancras station after a week apart, him in Peterborough, myself in London, and ready for a weekend away. We’ve been in Britain for over six months now, but this is the first travel we’ve been able to manage due to work commitments. Jeff had also never been to Paris before, which was something that obviously needed to be rectified at the first available opportunity.

With a duffel bag between the two of us and a camera in tow, we hopped on the Eurostar straight to Paris. One or two indulgent selfies (in which we both proved out singular lack of ability to time our blinks and smiles in sync) and two hours later we were in la villelumière herself!
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Thanks to the modern delight that is 24hour concierge services, we hopped off again at the Gare du Nord and made straight for the Île Saint-Louis, the second of the two natural islands in the Seine river that make up the historical heart of the city, to meet up with Katie and Adam at their recommended restaurant, Le Caveau de L’Isle (make sure to check out the gallery on the site!) where we had the first of a series of amazing meals and snacks.
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Katie is a natural travel planner (as well as working with hotels professionally) and she had combed friends, insiders, and blogs for the best local recommendations. None of which disappointed, for either location or food quality! Le Caveau’s main eating area is small, candlelit, and bedecked with exposed timber beams that date back goodness knows how long. The chimney is from the 17th century, the hidden vaults are at least as old (the name itself means the “vault” or “cave” of the island). Above the beam nearest the wall hung a Middle Eastern dagger that I hope held some kind of historical or cultural significance, but I was too stuffed with a delicious cut of beef to ask.

The dinner options at Caveau are incredibly affordable! Like many other restaurants they have a handful of “set” options that you can choose from to customize a meal in addition to the shifting menu. We each plunked for a two course option and indulged in both good food and great conversation.
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After a rich meal (and fistfuls of glorious French bread), we set out for a long walk along the river and through the sights until late at night when we finally stumbled off to our respective hotels at a deeply undignified hour.

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Which, as it happened rather set the tone for the whole trip! The whole weekend was a dense rush of adventure and not enough sleep from start to finish, from which I am still recovering two days later…and I couldn’t be happier about it. Long before we planned on Paris, Katie and Adam have become two of our favorite people to hang out with so getting to meet up with such fabulous friends in a fabulous city made for a wonderful weekend.

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Padlocks, memorials to love and friendship have spread far beyond the original bridge they bedecked to at least three that we saw. Touristy, yes, but you can’t fault a testament to love in a place like Paris! It’s hard to beat Paris during the day, but Paris at night might give it a run for its money.

Bright and early the next morning we shot off to Versailles…

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