Well, I'm back and can't wait to start planning my next trip to Paris. I'll add some pictures later today.
Where do I start?
Ahead of leaving for Paris, I had several people ask about the strikes in France. And, when I was at O'hare, I had someone ask if I was going to Paris. She told me that her car couldn't get into the airport because of a blockade. She had to walk the last mile and a half to the airport. I saw no evidence of the strikes. Plenty of people were talking about it, but I didn't experience anything negative because of it. It turns out that the biggest effect the strikes were having while I was there was the ability of the fuel trucks to get the fuel out of the refineries to the stations. I didn't ride in one vehicle the whole time I was there that required fuel. I walked & took the Metro, so therefore, I was not impacted at all. You have to love the scare tactics of the media that we've all become accustomed.
Anyway, that said, on to the trip!
When I landed, I managed to get myself from the airport to the Champs Elysee by myself via the Metro. I had a couple of hours before I was meeting up with Tricia, but since I had my suitcase with me, I didn't do much. I did grab some coffee and then lunch at a McDonald's and managed to order correctly in French and get exactly what I had asked for. That certainly raised my confidence level!
Tricia and I met up and she took me down the street a bit to this gorgeous tea house that sells all sorts of beautiful (almost too pretty to eat) pastries and sweets. She told me that this was a special treat for me and I wasn't going to get to order for myself. She'd take care of it as a welcome, but she wanted me to see the shop. Well, let me tell you, she was right.
We then went to her English classes she was teaching and I got to participate with the students and see her in action.