While I really arrived yesterday evening in Paris, I'm counting by full days, so today was the first. But starting with yesterday, Kaitlin (another gal from our UF group who flew into London) and I found each other at the St. Pancras (I will always call it St. Pancreas just because it makes me giggle) train station on Tuesday, we got on the Eurostar and promptly both fell asleep once outside of the London city limits. I suppose we both needed it, though maybe she more than me because I had two days' rest on her... Upon arrival at Gare du Norde, we managed to find a place to get Metro tickets and figure out where we needed to go to get to our separate hotels - half of our group is located in one hotel and the other half in another hotel due to our size (there are approximately 90 of us!) - and unfortunately, she and I were in different hotels. Thankfully, though, it seemed to all work out. I arrived and in the lobby was part of the group, having "happy hour." Nothing better than finally arriving at your hotel and having friendly faces that you know invite you to sit down and have some wine. Now that bodes well for the trip, doesn't it?!
This morning brought a walk to the international study center where many of our classes will be held, along with an orientation session. Sophie and Ged (pronounced like Jed, but spelled the English way), our AIFS staff did a wonderful job of getting us key information, along with a few laughs (which at that hour, were much needed!). After lunch, we headed out on a coach tour of Paris, which was fabulous. It reminded me of all the times as a little girl that I saw big tour buses driving past while we were walking everywhere - I sure appreciated the ride this time.
Tonight we had our first group dinner at a lovely place on the Champs Elysees and while I'd imagine that preparing food for 90 all at the same time must have been a trial for the kitchen, the food was incredible - chicken with thyme, gorgeously mashed potatoes, and for dessert creme brulee! Oh, and for an aperitif, a kir - my mom's favorite drink - white wine and blackcurrant liquor. I was in heaven!
Tomorrow brings our first day of class and I must say, after being out of a structured school environment for almost a week now, I'm kind of ready to be somewhere at an appointed time! Outside my hotel room window I can hear Paris - people laughing, cars and sirens wooshing by, life happening. What a wonderful place....and we get to do it all again tomorrow. This time I'll try to remember to bring my camera - can you believe the day we do a bus tour that I forgot the darn thing? Typical? I don't know...stupid? Yes indeed....
Bonsoir! Dame bien!