My first time in Europe starts in Paris. The lack of french in my vocabulary is not a problem in this city–just embarrassing after the endless eye rolls and sighs at another American (moi!) who has come to Paris during the peak tourist season.
After landing in the early morning and taking a pre-paid shuttle from the Charles de Gaulle to our Hotel Galileo. Between these two locations, the interactions were rude, disastrous, life-threatening, and incredible–in that order. Our shuttle driver refused to answer any of our questions as he sped up, slammed his brakes, and almost created twelve different accidents (and quite a few more potential deaths), which I found impressive since it was only a ten minute ride. Impressive, yet terrifying. I had more anxiety in the shuttle ride than during any other time during our travels thus far. It only made sense for us to discuss how he was a terrible driver who did not deserve a tip IN the van…Hence it was no surprise that once we arrived at the hotel, our driver threw our luggage onto the street and drove off.
A great start to a European adventure!
The driver be damned because the Hotel Galileo staff made us feel so entirely welcome and willing to help us with any question of concern we had.
Hotel Galileo, 54 Rue Galilée 75008 Paris, France
By the time my sister and I entered the hotel with perhaps a 100 pounds of luggage, we had been up 20 hours– with only brief naps on the plane thanks to the distraction of endless new and enticing movies offered by United Airlines. It was 10 am in Paris, but 1 am for the Los Angeles girls whose eyes felt like they were about to melt off their faces from the lack of sleep.
The staff must have realized that we were severely jet lagged from the fact that we looked as if we were about to eat their flesh and/or collapse and slip into a coma. They quickly offered us a plate of mini-croissants and coffee free of charge while they ushered our bags into a locked room since we couldn’t check in until later that afternoon.
Since I do not drink coffee, one can only imagine the sheer terror passer-byres must have felt when walking in my path. After leaving the hotel to walk along the Champs Elysees I had a constant fear that I was going to projectile vomit with every step I took–an alarming thought since we walked about a mile each way. The constant wafts of cigarette smoke and obtrusive perfume felt that it was permanently lodged in my throat and was not helping my nausea.
Louis Vuitton window display, 101 Champs-Elysées 75008 Paris, France
After walking back to the hotel–sans vomitting!–the staff let us check into our room half an hour earlier and had already brought our luggage into the room. I could have cried and kissed their feet. I immediately took my shoes off, pounded a glass of tap water and collapsed onto the bed.
Zombie in Paris