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Paris - July 2007

July 20th-24th, 2007

The first day of the trip was spent on the train from Lausanne, Switzerland to Paris. We had a bit of coordination issues at both ends for the wheelchair access in and out of the train, but got to the destination as planned, so no need to fuss. Arriving at Paris’ North Station was pretty easy and then just getting a taxi to the hotel.

The hotel of choice is the Hotel Costes ( for this trip. The hotel is beautiful for so many reasons. The main floor is pretty easy to get around once you know where you are going. The check in desk is tucked back in a pretty dark corner, but there are plenty of people working in that area to guide you if you can’t seem to find it. After we checked in, we searched out the elevator to get up to our room. The elevator is pretty small, as well. I don’t see a power chair fitting in it at all. When we got to the room, I of course had to survey it, as usual. The bathroom was about the size of the elevator. Ok, maybe not that small but still really tight.

One of the coolest features of the Hotel Costes is the café set right in the center of the main floor. With only a small step down into what looks like an atrium you can find yourself at any of the tables and enormous umbrellas protect you from the elements above-- a very cool feature in my book.

Once we were all unpacked and ready to face the city lights, we hailed a taxi to the Pompidou Centre ( and up the elevator to George for dinner and drinks. This is an ultra-modern restaurant with a quite specific menu, but anything you decide to order will tickle your taste buds. And with walls of glass the view over the city is spectacular, including the Eiffel Tower. Being there at night we were even able to see the light display on the Tower itself which was really fun to watch.

The next morning, we awake with high ambition for the day. Jim and I set out on wheel and foot along a historic war monument and then to San Chappelle Chapel. I was only able to get around on the first floor because the elevator to get to the other floors is located in the attached courthouse and it wasn’t open while we were there. That is not to say that what I saw was disappointing at all.

We left one cathedral for another but had only primed ourselves for the view at Notre Dame Cathedral ( Now this is just awe-inspiring and no words can even describe it. No words would even do it justice. Getting in was free for the both of us and I have to say, most of the place is easily accessible. I had to hop up a few stairs from time to time but they were only to small sections on either of the ends.

Then we hopped yet another ride over to the Eiffel Tower ( with a quick pass by the Louvre Museum. That is for another day. We got our tickets and waited in line for our spot on the lift to take us up the Tower. Getting to the lower observation deck is completely accessible, but only stairs will get you to the upper level. With views from all 4 sides you can almost see all of Paris from one spot. Simply amazing…

Once we got back down to earth, we wandered across the Seine River to the Palais de Chaillotet (otherwise known as Trocadero) and I played around a bit in the fountains and on the wet marble. And after I had my fill we went on our way to this nice little family-owned Italian restaurant. So small even, that the owner of the place was the one taking our orders. He was great, and very personable. His wife was the cook and made some really strong Irish coffees to polish off the meal. Once again, we ended the night at the bar inside the George restaurant.

Today we got a really late start. So late, in fact, that we ate dinner in the hotel restaurant and then back to George for drinks. A simple day but a good ending.

We were up again fairly early and refreshed from our easy day prior. We set our sights on the Louvre Museum ( today. We got to the entrance where there was a long line of others looking to see the wonders inside. We only had to wait a bit before we were led to the disabled entrance and taken on a rather unnerving lift down to the lower level so we could get our tickets to get in. After a bit of frustrating times with the entrance people and short tempers we stopped for some food and all was better with the world. Of course I HAD to see the ancient Egyptian exhibit and we made our way around many others as well. There is just so much to see! The layout is a bit of a nightmare, I must say. And the map they give you is pretty much worthless, so it is only good to use as a general idea of where things are. You also had better plan on taking a bunch of different lifts to where you want to go as most only go to one other floor up or down, besides the one you are on. Not to mention some places are only accessible by making your way up a few stairs with no lift in sight.

What started out as a fairly cloudy and rainy day, turned sunny and warm by midday so we figured we might want to take our adventure outside. We made our way to what seems like a permanent carnival in the middle of the city, so of course we had to check it out. We rode a great Ferris wheel and a few other rides as well. I even made a new friend after talking her into taking a death defying ride with me on the “Ejector Seat”. We also stopped at the Café Etienne Marcel for drinks the last night here. We ended up partying with some of the employees of George for a killer end to an amazing trip and an amazing place.

For the last day we checked out of the hotel and said our fair wells. We are off to London. A taxi ride to the train station and we are on our way… This is another entry for another day.