So, this is what happened. I didn't want to go to Paris. I wanted to spend extra time with my family in Germany so I feel like it was a valid emotion. Alas, my mother in law convinced us all, so off we went by train. We arrived about 1 1/2 hours late due to the snow and some "technical difficulties," which the French conductor explained in great detail in French, semi explained in German (with a French accent mind you) and then just told us we will be late in English. So, to this day, none of us have any idea why we were really late. Either way, when we arrived at Paris Est we didn't have much time to adjust. I knew the basic phrases to get semi around but apparently I said those so well, the French cab driver didn't believe me and continued his conversation with me. In French. He didn't know any English; or directions for that matter. After we finally found the hotel - it took all of us looking and some serious (French) phone calls - we even learned how to spell in French (B-U-F-F-E-T!!!) Turns out our hotel was so new their, also new, street wasn't in the GPS yet. Welcome to Paris!
That picture up there of the Eiffel Tower at night was taken from our Hotel room. I won't post the picture my cousin took from her view, just trust me when I say brick walls aren't that great. It's safe to say Luke and I got pretty lucky. The next day we went off to eat baguette, explore the city, eat some more baguette, navigate the Metro and eat some more baguette. It's really not a stereotype - the French really do walk around with baguettes in their hands!
As for how we managed with barely any French knowledge - not too shabby. Given that Europeans aren't very fond of talking to strangers we never really had to talk to anyone aside from ordering food. When somebody does talk to you in the bathroom, just smile, nod and laugh - then proceed to vanish in the stall. I like to believe that I actually did understand a woman complaining to me about the unisex bathroom - hey, speaking "woman" is pretty universal.
So, here is Part 1 of Paris. We were there 2 days and once I saw the Eiffel Tower I lost all inhibition and went full on photography nuts. Enjoy!