Monday, 19 May 2014

Arrival in Paris and First Day

I took my time at the airport knowing that check in time wasn't until 2:00. Of course entry into the country took a really long time, so I didn't need to worry too much. There was a huge line to get passports checked (and then customs was nothing.) There was a couple ahead of me that had boxes that said "Live Lobsters from Canada" and in my fantasy play about the plane ride, I thought it would be great for escaped lobsters to go racing down the aisles of the plane, (it turned out they were frozen and not alive, but it would have been a great scene!). I also spoke with the Canadians directly in front of me in my oh so rudimentary French. They were attending some kind of economic function to make better relations between Canada and France. They were a happy group of 4-6 people and the only people who were smiling in this egregiously long line of hot, miserable travelers.

Charles Degaulle is a gigantic (hyper)modern architectural conglomerate. I remember arriving there in the 70s and being bewildered by its tubes and aluminum facade. It seemed so au courant at the time, but now it just reminds me of a warehouse! There are actually some lovely architectural elements none of which I caught on film, but here is one photo snapped on the way out. That passage in the background is a round tube and not rectangular.

The information guy at the airport encouraged me to take the bus and then tried to sell me a train ticket with a surcharge when I insisted I wanted to take the RER . He was upfront thought when I asked if I bought the ticket through him whether it was the same price, so I went down and used the machine and saved almost a Euro. ;-)

What follows are a few pathetic photos of the train ride. It was definitely the backside of Paris, some nice old villag-y houses, lots of satellite dishes and lots of trash and grafitti.

I passed by banks of trash and detritus and then noticed that there were satellite dishes posted  in throughout. Helas, I didn't get a photo because I realized this strange juxtaposition too late.

As predicted I got to the hotel before my room was ready, but the concierge was kind enough to  arrange for an early admittance, but I would have to take a walk for an hour, so I stowed my heavier luggage and walked around the neighborhood a bit. This is the exterior of the hotel Jules Cesar.

From Charles DeGaulle after the train you take the subway one stop to the Gare de Lyons.

So, my hotel is on a street called Rue Ledru Rollin. There is a large church on the same street, one that turns out to be a mock-up of a Romanesque style church built around the turn of the century. St Antoine des Quinze Vingts has this interesting sculpture of Louis, but there is a description of Thomas Beckett next to it. I'm not sure why. It does have nice romanesque style arch work.

I headed down the road and ended up at La Place de la Bastille.

The Bastille is long gone, but they've built the modern opera house there and the Place is a proper visiting point in memory of the French Revolution with all its ups and downs.

There are of course a lot of homeless people in Paris, but from this little manor, I gather there can be quite an art to homelessness. Between the two tents there was a nice comfortable chair set to reign the domain almost like a throne.

Advertising this year likes to strap things women's heads. My subway map has a model with the Eifel tower tied to her head with a red white and blue ribbon.  This woman seems to have branches on hers.

On the way back I stopped at a grocery store and a boulanger and spent about 15 Euros on groceries. This has served as lunch and dinner (and now even late night snack.) My room was ready, so I mounted the three flights of stars and found a very pleasant (and fairly large for Paris standards) place to spend the week.

 See, pleasant and roomy.

This is the view from the window.

So here is my food haul.  I have half the baguette and a bit of the cheese left. ;-)

Several of the rooms were being cleaned, so I peeked in and discovered the room featured on the web site was next door to me.

I unpacked and cleaned up and got ready for my afternoon  foray into the world of Paris.

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