* "America is my country; and Paris is my hometown." - - Gertrude Stein

First Impressions and Lasting Obsessions
the French windows of our first room
Our first room was faced on the East side of the building, with French windows that overlooked the quaint little street below that housed (among many things) a small copy center, a high-end motorcycle showroom, and the cafe on the corner that would become our regular nightly hangout for drinks and conversation. We immediately fell in love with our windows, the nightstands, and the strings of jasmine flowers we hung on the vase in front of the queen bed. It was not until we'd spent more than just a few brief moments in the room that we realized its shortcomings - there was, indeed, a very wonderfully comfortable queen-sized bed, but there were also in fact three of us - this would mean having to get uncomfortably close to one another or having to unfairly split turns sleeping on the couch and extra fold-down child's bunk (there is a story concerning this bunk, a long jump down onto the queen bed, and my shin, but that is to come later.) Aside from the beds, a main pipe in our bathroom burst and was spraying water above the toilet. This water was then collecting in an obscenely large puddle between the tub and toilet on the white tile floor, making entering the room a somewhat difficult task if one wished not to step into burst-pipe toilet water (thankfully, it was CLEAR.) Needless to say, after some continued badgering of the front desk (a task which I was elected to do on account of my partial French), we were ultimately upgraded four days later into the top room of the hotel. Our new room had very small windows cut into the roof, and we did at first mourn the loss of our valued French windows, that was at least until we realized that these small boxes held a view across the city that looked onto the Eiffel. I made a personal custom of trying to make it back to the room every night in time to watch the Tower play through its light show just before going to bed.

our view from the second room