Saturday, July 31, 2010

Paris! 12/7/2010 Day One

We've made it to Paris, finally! Donny has rented us a wonderful apartment at 12 rue Jean du Bellay on Ile St Louis. It is on the second floor, actually third, and overlooks an interior courtyard. We have taken a night flight from DC via Air France traveling the new class, Premium Voyageur, which means leg room for my tall guy.

 The flight is fine but the plane sounds like a bucket of bolts. Still I'm not worried just tired. I sleep most of the way. We land on time and after getting our bags which beat us off the plane, another bonus from Premium Voyageur travel, we head onto the concourse for the trains. It's a long walk but not a problem. We locate the RER ticket booth after walking around the huge room completely. We cannot get tickets at a kiosk because we do not have a European credit card which has a chip. We only have an American credit cards with the magnetic strip. The line is really long but there is nothing to do but queue up and so I do, sending Donny to find a bench because it's really hot and I can manage the line okay. No need for him to melt.

After being in line for about fifteen minutes I discover that I am in the line for out of town tickets and quickly switch to the line for tickets into Paris, which is much shorter. I get our tickets and we go to the train level. We want an express RER and think we are getting on one which we are, but it turns out to be a very slow express. We almost may as well have taken a local.

We eventually reach our stop, St Michel. By this time the train is packed, but we wiggle our way off with our luggage and randomly chose the sortie that is the farthest away from our destination. Ah well, it is a balmy afternoon in Paris and we have notified Eric that we will be running a bit late. At first we are slightly confused as to our orientation. I know we are near the Seine but cannot see it and we are so tired that we really don't want to take any steps in the wrong direction. We make a choice and a half a block along we clear a tall building to see a great sight, Notre Dame close by.

We are only about a block away from the church and Ile St Louis is just beyond. We are traveling pretty lightly considering what we see some people with and in no time meet up with Eric who introduces us to the apartment, our new home in Paris for 10 days.

We settle in and hop downstairs for a bit of dinner at the next door tiny cafe and take a short stroll around part of the island. We find a green grocer but it is not our favorite one, still it's handy and we buy a few items before heading home to bed. it's hard to believe that a day earlier we were driving to Washington from the OBX. It is a hot evening. There is no air conditioning but we do have a fan, and two large almost floor to ceiling windows that swing open. We are happy for that. We fall asleep to the sounds of the city. Happy Birthday, Emily!!