PJ and I got home from London and Paris early Friday morning. We had a great time during our trip, and I have lots to blog about. I’ll start with some general impressions and will write individual posts about my favorite parts of our trip over the next week or so.

We left on July 3rd and arrived in Paris on the 4th. I’m extremely proud of the fact that we were able to find and take the train into Gare du Nord and then take the Metro to our hotel. This seemed like quite an accomplishment for our first time in France (and considering the fact that we don’t really speak French!).

Our hotel was on the edge (actually just over the edge) of the Marais, a neighborhood that has a large gay population. Our hotel was fine, nothing fancy or especially nice but relatively cheap. We arrived around noon. After checking in, we showered and then went in search of lunch. We walked to the Place de la Bastille, where we ate in a cafe. We then went for a walk along the Seine. By the time we made it over to Notre Dame, it started to pour with rain. We hadn’t brought our umbrellas with us on our walk, so we both got soaked.

After ducking under some trees and large bushes, we made our way over to the Memorial de la Deportation, a monument to the French victims of German concentration camps during World War II. We had first learned about the memorial by watching the movie A Love to Hide, which ends at the memorial. Because of the rain, we didn’t stand in line to go into the memorial — they only allow a small number of people in at a time. Even so, just being there after seeing the movie was very moving.

We were supposed to be back at the hotel by 4 pm to meet our friend James. As we walked back through the Marais, it started to rain again, so we decided to visit the Musee National Picasso (just to stay dry, of course). If you’re into Picasso, it’s a great museum.