Wow, I don’t really even know where to start. It’s been such a whirlwind the last few weeks that it’s been hard to put my thoughts together. I’ve been exhausted from jetlag then add a few night shifts at the hospital and my entire body is discombobulated. I have no idea what time of day it is at any given moment. I’ve been trying to figure out how to tell the story. I wasn’t sure if ya’ll would want to hear all of it or just the race part, but I’ve decided to give it all to you. So i will do this in 2-3 parts…just to keep you hanging and wanting more, lol. So here goes…Part 1 of my trip to Paris!
Our flight was scheduled for the Wednesday before the race (Sunday). This was my first time travelling internationally, EVER, let alone throwing a marathon in the mix, so I wanted to make sure I was able to adjust to the time change before the race. And shoot, I couldn’t just go to Paris for a race, if I was going to go, I was going to do it right. The time change from DC to Paris is 6 hours, so a pretty significant change. Anyway, there were 4 of us flying over together, all of us a part of my MRTT chapter and 2 of whom were actually FROM France originally. I must say that was a HUGE stress reliever as I was a bit anxious about travelling to a country that I didn’t know the language (despite having a small French dictionary). I had had arranged a super shuttle to take us to the airport, so Mr. Cupcake drove me to one of the other girls’ house where it would be picking us up. When we arrived at her house, in true Lisa and Sue fashion, Lisa whipped out a bottle of champagne out of her bag for us to toast before we left. We toasted to our trip and set off for the airport. (I know, weird…I’m usually drinking straight from the bottle and can’t be bothered by a glass, but I need practice being classy….I mean we WERE on our way to PARIS!!)
We arrived at the airport and literally were at the gate within 10 minutes. We had a few hours to kill before our flight so we sat down at a restaurant to have a bite to eat and a glass of wine and chat about the trip. My two French friends (I’ll call them “C” and “E”) helped us look at the map of Paris and helped to explain where a lot of the sights were in relation to where we were staying and the must see’s while we were in the city. Before you know it 2 hours had passed and it was time to board our flight to Iceland. I was so relieved to get on the plane to see that I had an aisle seat. I hate making people get up if I need to use the restroom and I liked the fact that I could get up and walk around if I needed to. Everyone pretty much fell asleep pretty quickly, except for me. Despite my neck pillow, I found myself head bobbing while trying to sleep and it just was not restful. Oh well, story of my life, I never sleep anyway, so not sure why I thought THIS trip would be any different!
As we were making our approach into Iceland, 6 hours later I was really hoping to get a good look at the island but alas it was cloudy and snowing and I couldn’t really get a view of anything.
The airport was pretty cool as I felt like I was in an Ikea catalog. Very minimalistic and modern (although this picture doesn’t really demonstrate that). I was so tired this was the only photo I took of the airport. Guess you’ll have to take my word for it! Unfortunately the food options at the airport SUCKED, unless you like to eat seafood at 6 in the morning.
We quickly made it through customs, got an Iceland stamp in my passport and boarded our connecting flight….here we go…FINALLY, next stop PARIS! We MAY have been a little excited…
The flight was about 3 hours and the excitement was brewing and I slowly started feeling the exhaustion setting in. By this point I had been awake for over 24 hours. I was exhausted but I couldn’t sleep again unfortunately.
We finally arrived in Paris at 1 pm local time.
We had all bought these tshirts we found on Zulily to wear on the trip over…kind of cheesy, but we embraced the cheese….
We got our bags very quickly and made our way to ground transportation. We had failed to make arrangements prior to arriving, oops. But thank goodness for “C” and “E” . They were so sweet and made sure we got to where we needed to be to find a bus to take us close to our apartment. They had family there so were not going to be staying with us. We found an Air France bus that went straight to the Arc de Triomphe which was about 1/4 mile from our apartment. I’m sure we could have managed without them helping us, but I must say, it really took the stress off to have native Parisians traveling with us! So we parted ways, hopped on the bus and headed to our apartment. The bus literally drove us to the Arc and I was AMAZED at how big it was. I had seen it in pictures and on TV but it’s hard to really get a great idea of the size of it in person. It was breathtaking!
The apartment was very close so we just wheeled our suitcases down the street. The apartment was amazing, and I would highly recommend Vacation in Paris. Booking was super easy and we had one issue during the week that needed attention and they were very quick to respond and resolve the problem. The apartment fit 4 of us comfortably. The only downside was the one toilet/shower, but not the end of the world. It just took a little coordination to have 4 women get ready for the day!
Lisa and I then waited for my sister-in-law to arrive. She was traveling over from the UK via train. After she arrived we headed out to the metro to go to the expo. We were wanting to make sure that we didn’t lay down and go to sleep, otherwise we would have been done. So we figured what better way to keep the excitement going than to go get our race bibs! I was a bit nervous about navigating the metro (not speaking the language), but it was SO easy and ended up being our primary means of transportation for the rest of the trip.
The Expo, also known as the Salon du Running was at the Parc de Expositions de la Porte de Versailles.
They layed out the green carpet for us and everything! It was just missing the paparazzi!
I can’t resist being goofy for the camera for some reason…you’d think I could contain myself …
Ok, now more serious and poised…
We entered the expo center and it was practically empty. This was the first day it was open, so it wasn’t too crowded. Before you could get your bib you had to present your medical certification form. Remember I told you you needed a form signed by your doctor? Yea, they do actually check them and stamp them which you then have to give to the people handing out the bibs.
We moved on through to the wall ‘o names and spent and ungodly amount of time searching for our names amongst 50,000 other names. NOT EASY. But it was just something we HAD to do.
Then another cool display to write a message on….
Had to give a shout out to my MRTT mamas!
The obligatory bib shot!
They even had the medal in a glass case on display…
Still a little underwhelmed by the medal even in person, but who the heck cares… it’s PARIS!
This sign was plastered all over the city…
My battery on my phone started dying at this point, so I don’t have many pics of the expo unfortunately. There was a HUGE Asics area (the sponsor) to buy all of the race swag. I had no idea we received a finisher shirt after we completed the race so I bought a few tshirts…..cute aren’t they?
We had some fun too. The Brooks Run Happy booth was there…
And another booth to make a movie….
So much fun!
After the expo we went and grabbed dinner at an outdoor cafe and then headed back to the apartment.
The next day we were slow to rise, we were all exhausted. I initially was worried about doing too much walking in the days leading up to the marathon, but then realized “I’m in Paris”….There was NO way I could skimp on the sight seeing! So that’s what we did for the next 2 days.
Friday we walked down towards the Eiffel Tower and had brunch at a little sidewalk cafe and had some amazing crepes. Pretty sure I LIVED on crepes while we were there…..when in Rome….I mean….wait…..
The Eiffel Tower is so breathtaking. Just like the Arc de Triomphe, it’s hard to get a feel for how big it really is until you are right in front of it…and it is massive.
We then walked up to the Trocadero to get a better view.
The next day we had the Notre Dame Cathedral on our to do list, so we headed over that way. I had heard before we left that a local DC blogger The DC Rainmaker had moved to Paris with his wife. His recap of the Paris marathon was one of the first that I had read. Well…come to find out she opened a cupcake shop in Paris!! You know what that meant!!!
Hello Bertie’s Cupcakery!! Seriously, this is my DREAM!! I totally fell in love. The location was amazing, the shop adorbs and the cupcakes….OMG seriously some of the most delicious I’ve tasted….forget Georgetown cupcakes…Bertie…if you are reading, you need to open another storefront here in DC. I will run it for you, let’s go into business together…call me, mmm k?
We were lucky that Bertie was actually in the store when we arrived, so I told her that I had been
stalking her, ehem, reading her hubby’s blog and discovered that she had opened the store front. She was super nice and we chatted and she gave us some great recommendations for some amazing cafes in the area to eat at.
After stuffing our faces with cupcakes we went to Notre Dame, so beautiful.
I took a bazillion pictures, but I won’t bore you with all of them……
Ok, I think I got your up to speed on the first few days…..the next day was the marathon!Paris Marathon Recap: Part 1 @suzy399 #parismarathon #motherrunner #fitfluential #sweatpink Click To Tweet
To be continued……
Have you ever been to Paris?
What is your most favorite vacation you’ve ever taken?
Have you ever traveled internationally for a race?