Subject: Here is day one of my Paris journal
Sunday, July 18 Arrival in Paris

I arrived in Paris today at 1:30 p.m. and was met by a GoAhead rep. after I collected my luggage. She put me and a family of four, who had been on the same flight, into a taxi to the hotel. As we neared the hotel in the upper Marais district, we were stopped by an event that was just starting -- a roller blade race followed by police cars and an ambulance, all with their lights flashing. Behind them was a large group of bicyclists. We had to wait a little bit, and then followed behind. We were on Blvd. Sebastopol, and I saw there was a Monoprix on one side of the boulevard (with the main entrance to the Metro station in front of it) and a Tati store on the other side.

The hotel was about two blocks away, and we were met by Thierry, our guide and GoAhead rep. for the week at the hotel. I soon learned that the Champagne tour has been cancelled due to only three of us signing up for it. However, Thierry is going to try to find another tour company for me.

In the hotel lobby I noticed a sign that said the daily rate is 140 euros for a single and 165 euros for a double, so I got a good deal with GoAhead and pre-paying in American dollars.

My room is small, but not tiny, and it had been refurbished, along with the continuing refurbishment of the hotel, which was continually going on while I was there at the Tulip Inn Little Palace. I knew that the elevator would be tiny, so I was prepared for that. It has a sign that it holds 4 people, and it is glassed on one side with a view of the stairs as you go up, so it's not claustrophophic. My room is nicely furnished, and the air conditioning worked very well, which was not the case in some of the rooms. I am on the 7th floor, with a nice view of the Musee des Arts et Metiers and the park below. I have a little terrace with a tiny table and two chairs. To go out on the terrace, which is higher than the floor of the room, you have to step up on the ledge of the French windows and then over onto the terrace -- interesting. Unfortunately, the walls are thin, and I could hear noise from the room next to me -- the bathroom, rummaging in the closet, talking on the phone, etc.

At 6 p.m., all of us who had booked through GoAhead met downstairs for wine and chat. Thierry fixed me a mixture of about an inch of kir (cherry liqueur) in the bottom of the tall narrow glass, and then about three inches of white wine. It was very good, but strong! Thierry then took us on a walk of the neighborhood for almost 2 hours. I hadn't realized before how close the hotel is to so many things. We went past the two Metro entrances/exits for the Sebastopol/Reamur station I used several times, a number of brasseries and restaurants that Thierry recommended, Pompidou Centre, Forum des Halles, Joe Allen's American restaurant, Flunch, and very close to beautiful Eglise St. Eustache and the park in front of it. A few more blocks, and we would have been at the Seine.

----------------------- Well, it is now after 10 p.m., and I haven't had any sleep for 29 hours (I flew from California). Since I have to get up at 7:30 a.m. for the city tour, I'd better get to sleep.

Diana San Diego, California