- Japan (07, 09-10, 13), Denmark (08, 11, 16-19, 21), Korea (13), Poland (21), Mexico (14, 15, 19), Iceland (17, 19), Hawaii (14, 17), Czech Republic (16, 17, 19, 21)
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Champs-Elysees Walk

After the Arch we followed much of Rick Steves‘ “Champs-Elysees Walk” including the Petit Palais, Place de la Concorde, and all the snobby-looking shopping. Actually, we didn’t shop, but we saw the snooty shopping and over-priced cafes.

For dinner we went out to Chez Janou Bistrot, near our apartment, and then went to Nectarine for dessert. Dinner was good, but not cheap, and we had to wade through a sea of smokers to get to our table on the inside. Paris recently banned smoking on the interiors of restaurants which means that all the smokers (most people it seems) eat and smoke on the tables just outside of the entrance–curbside if you will. This now makes walking down any street with restaurants and cafes pretty gross as nearly everyone outside is blowing smoke. If you don’t like being around smokers then forget about eating or drinking outside in Paris.

I highly recommend Nectarine on the Place des Vosges. Although we only had dessert there, the service was the best we had in Paris. It was the only place we ate or purchased something from where the person doing the selling didn’t make you feel like you were putting them out somehow. The man was actually friendly and nice. Believe it or not he even smiled too! We didn’t see many smiles in Paris–especially from those working.

The next morning we were leaving early. Since the trains don’t operate before our flight was to depart we were stuck taking a cab. Avoid this if at all possible by making sure your departure flight from Paris is after 9 or so in the morning. Why? Because the cabs charge you extra in the early morning hours. They also increase their fare by coming to pick you up. Our cabby had 12 Euros on the meter (about US$20) before we even left our apartment. It ended up costing about $80 just to go to the airport.

The above photograph sort of sums up the whole trip since it includes both Denmark (with the flags) and France (with the Arch of Triumph). I hope you had a good time reading along. I’ll post more on our European adventures in the coming months, mingled with some Japan stuff as well.

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