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Friday in the City of Lights

We arrived safely in Paris yesterday in the early afternoon. We found the Gare de l’Est train station with no problem, but there were multiple parking garages at the station and it wasn’t obvious which one was for returning rental cars. After about fifteen minutes in the wrong garage we found the right one, completed the paperwork, and were in a taxi to our hotel.

Since our anniversary is right around the corner, we decided to book the Hotel Regina. Neither of us has ever stayed in a five-star Parisian hotel before, so I expected it to be a treat. As a surprise to Kathryn, I had upgraded the room when I made the reservation. It was easy to maintain the surprise since I had forgotten I’d done this until I saw the room rate on the check-in form.

Long story short, our junior suite is quite amazing: king-size bed, separate living room, two sofas, two desks, two televisions, and a full bathroom including a tub and bidet. Everything is decorated elegantly. If it had a corner kitchen we could live here indefinitely — and rather comfortably.

After arriving we spent some time walking around the Jardins des Tuileries, which are just across the street from the hotel, followed by tea time at Angelina, which for us means not tea but rather their famous, decadent African hot chocolate. Later we visited one of the department stores and visited an off-the-beaten-path restaurant called The Sunken Chip which is said to have the best fish-and-chips in Paris. It was certainly the best fish-and-chips I’ve had in Paris.

To top off the evening, we had a long stroll along the Seine, starting at the Eiffel Tower, pictured above, and working our way back to the hotel. Along the way, we stopped at the place where Princess Diana died — or was killed, if conspiracy theories interest you. There was already an unrelated monument on the site, but there are many tributes to Diana scribbled with Sharpie pens in several languages.

Finally, we enjoyed an overpriced drink in the charming old-world hotel bar. Actually, the beer was the same price as the mini-bar, and unlike the mini-bar, it came with free nuts and popcorn.