Waking up in Paris A frigid morning layover & a quick tour of the city

On the way back to NYC from Jordan, my friend, Billy, and I had a layover in Paris. We deliberately arranged a 7-hour break between flights so we could head to the city center for four hours. Once we landed from the red-eye flight from Amman, we headed straight to an Air France lounge to shower as it’s a benefit to SkyTeam elite plus members like me even on economy tickets with a companion. The facility was clean with great amenities. All freshened up, we rushed through costume to get on the next train.

Before sunrise, the Arc de Triomphe was solely ours.

Inside one of the subway stations, I was not sure about directions so I used my high-school-level French to ask a man in a suit if he spoke English. Upon hearing my inquiry, he immediately said no. Fine, I moved on to to ask a ticketing agent, who, surprisingly, answered my question in English. I did greet and ask her in French first.

Upon exiting the metro station, the sky was still dark like espresso. Billy hadn’t been to Europe before. Paris undoubtedly was the the virgin destination to be. Although I visited the French capital twice prior, I was more concerned with navigating the subway and pickpockets. His elation brought out my own enthusiasm as I finally loosened up and appreciated the city of light before the break of dawn.

We moved on to the Eiffel Tower to admire it from near and afar. January mornings were still brisk. But no matter, we were in Paris! But for real, it’s time to head to somewhere warm and find a toilet. We went to St. Louis Island, the heart of Seine, and found a café near Notre Dame. Billy had his his dream croissant while I had a sweet and flaky pastry with pistachio jam.

The exterior of Notre Dame
The interior of Notre Dame
The interior of Notre Dame
Hôtel de Ville with banners and an ice rink
Carousel by the city hall

Colorful and dreamy meringue, or maybe we were still sleepy from the red-eye flight.

After breakfast, we checked out the elegant interior of the cathedral and walked around the city hall where “Je suis Charlie” banners hung high and proudly. Around the corner in an alley I spotted a crêpe stand. Ooh la la! I needed to order one with, what else, Nutella. That’s a happy ending of this quick tour before we returned to the airport.

Until next time, Paris, au revoir.

Created By
Benjamin Chiang


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