Day 1 in Paris – Hotel George V, The Champs-Elysées, and the Arc de Triomphe

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Paris Day 1
In Front of the Arc De Triomphe
Emily Jablon:  On Sunday morning, our first full day in Paris, we ordered a light breakfast of mango juice for Daraius and a mix of carrot & apple juice for me.  We also had cappuccino, latte, and fresh sliced fruits (blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and cranberries).  The fruit was delicious!
Paris Day 1
Our Breakfast
Daraius:  We could have ordered a heavier breakfast, but we had a special lunch planned.  The mango juice was perhaps the best mango juice I’ve ever drunk! Emily Jablon:  After we finished breakfast and unpacking, we got ready to leave for a surprise lunch which Daraius planned.  I had no idea where we were going, until I entered the Hotel George V.  The hotel was gorgeous—full of classic French style furnishings and beautiful flowers!   It was much different than the Park Hyatt, which has a much more modern feel.
Paris Day 1
In the Georges V
Daraius:  Since this was our honeymoon and we had saved money by using Miles & Points, I decided to splurge on a few memorable meals and events.  Le Cinq is a two star Michelin restaurant inside the famous George V hotel, which had a somewhat reasonably priced (for Michelin starred restaurants in Paris) prix-fixe lunch menu of 95 euros not including drinks.

About two months before our trip, I made a reservation online and received an email confirmation asking me to reconfirm our booking 48 hours before our visit.  The email also noted that the dress code was formal and that a jacket was required for men.

Emily loved the classical style of the George V hotel and was very excited seeing the pretty flowers!

Emily Jablon:  I felt like I was inside a chateau with the elegant curtains and rich fabrics!
Paris Day 1
Emily by the Flowers
 Daraius :  Here’s our lunch menu.
Prixe Fixe lunch menu

We had olive tempura and a jalapeno pudding as the amuse-bouche.

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After that we had beans, fresh almonds, peach, and a zucchini flower.

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Followed by snails with cream of watercress.

Paris Day 1

The next amuse-bouche was mango gazpacho, cheese, and octopus.  The octopus was exquisite and cooked to perfection.

Paris Day 1
Mango Gazpacho and Octopus

I had fish with ginger, dried tomatoes, and onion ravioli for my main course.

Paris Day 1
Fish with a Hint of Ginger

Since Emily is allergic to fish, she got steak with cherry chutney.

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Steak & Chutney

With a side of beef tartare.

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Beef Tartare

After that it was time for cheese.

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The Cheese Cart

And Emily loves her cheese!

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Loving her Cheese

Emily had the chocolate torte for dessert.

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Chocolate Torte

And after dessert they pulled up the sweet cart and we picked out a few treats to try.

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More Sweets

We were stuffed after the meal, but we walked around the Georges V hotel…

Paris Day 1
Flowers Everywhere
…before going back to the Park Hyatt to change into our street clothes and have an afternoon snooze.

Most Important Purchase In Paris

In the afternoon, we walked to the Louvre Carrousel and bought the most important purchase during our time in Paris – a 6 day museum pass for 69 euros.  This is a great deal because it got us entry into many of the major museums and sites, including the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, Versailles, and others, so we saved some money on the entrance fees.

But MUCH more importantly, the pass saved us time because with the pass we did not have to stand in the ticket lines at many sites (not all sites have VIP lines) and could use the group entrances or VIP entrances which saved us hours of waiting in queues.

I read this in the Rick Steve’s guide to Paris which was a great book (particular his walking itineraries) and a reader recommended buying the museum pass as well.

It is only 12 minutes from the Park Hyatt to La Civette du Carrousel inside the louvre carosel.  The shop is open from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm except on Tuesdays, but does not accept credit cards for the museum pass.  You can get your museum pass at other locations as well, and the Park Hyatt concierge sells the 2-day and 4-day pass, but didn’t have the 6-day pass when we were there in July.

After we got our museum passes, we walked to the Arc De Triomphe (about 40 minutes without stopping, but took us much longer with stops) and en route we strolled down the Champs-Elysées and went browsing in the shops, hotels, and restaurants.  We followed Rick Steve’s Champs-Elysées walk, but started in reverse and from the Park Hyatt instead of Place de la Concorde which added another half mile to the walk.

Emily Jablon:   The architecture all over Paris is splendid, and I felt as though the city’s architects wanted to maximize the beauty experienced here on Earth, so designed elegant flats and monuments to delight one’s senses.   Everywhere you look, the buildings are so beautiful!

We stopped inside the Hôtel de Crillon for a peek at one of the most exclusive hotel in Paris with its fancy Belle Époque interiors and is the place where Ben Franklin met with Louis the XVI to recognize the US as an independent country.  The hotel is just next to the US embassy, and we made our way down the ChampsElysées.

Paris Day 1
Outside the Hôtel de Crillon
Daraius:  We tried to get one of those perfect pictures with the Arc De Triomphe in the background, but there was too much traffic.
Paris Day 1
On the Champs-Elysées

I wanted to see the Citroën car shop which had 5 floors of cars so we went in there.

Emily Jablon:  Now I know how Daraius feels when I shop!
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In the Citroën Showroom

The top floor has a plexiglass window which extends out a bit.

Paris Day 1
Top floor of the Citroën showroom
Emily Jablon:  We stopped in Ladurée for macarons and got Caramel with Fleur de Sal, Chocolate, Raspberry, Iced Mint, Rose, Almond, Strawberry and Poppyseed, and Violet.

The main shop was closed, but they had a to-go shop on the street.

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Outside Ladurée

We loved the Caramel and Violet flavors!

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The Macaron Haul

We also saw Thomas Jefferson’s home in Paris on the ChampsElysées.

Paris Day 1
Thomas Jefferson’s Home

After browsing the shops, we stopped in McDonald’s for a quick snack.  While not the tastiest, we needed to spend less on a few meals since we had splurged for lunch!   We also like to try McDonald’s in different parts of the world and sample the unique items on the menu.

I ordered a McCroq, or a croque monsieur which has ham, cheese, and a thin bread.  I also ordered a café Frappe and delux (seasoned) potatoes.  Daraius got his favorite, McNuggets and Frites (regular French fries).

I enjoyed my McCroq though it was not as nice as the cheap quiches at a typical French bakery.

On our way to the Arc de Triomphe we started taking pictures.  A man offered to take our photo, but we hesitated since we weren’t sure if it was a rouse or scam!  But Daraius saw that he was holding two shopping bags which he’d had put on the ground to free his hands to take the picture, and gave him the camera to take our picture.

In our experience, the stereotype of the French as rude just wasn’t true and everyone did their best to make us comfortable and at-ease!  We did feel a bit bad for questioning the man’s motives.

We took the underpass to the Arc and climbed the 284 steps to the top.  It was still light when we got up at 10:00 pm at night, but we waited until it turned really dark to see Paris lit up.

Paris Day 1
From the Top of the Arc de Triomphe

It was sunset, and so we had splendid views of the entire city, including La Defense and the Eiffel Tower.

There was a sign at the top, and we deciphered all the prohibitions, except the second one.  Any guesses what it means?  Our best guess is that you can’t be dressed only in your boxers!

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What is the 2nd Sign?

Paris looks even prettier at night with the sights lit up.

Paris Day 1
Eiffel Tower from the Arc De Triomphe

Everyone had to leave the Arc at 11:30 pm so we went down, strolled around some more.  After our stroll we went back to the hotel and got some work done and went to bed at 2:30 in the morning.

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