Wednesday, April 4, 2012

April in Paris…

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

It’s so wonderful being back in Paris. We had our struggles yesterday but this morning we move to our apartment and begin our three weeks of living life like a Parisian!

We arrived at the airport about 6 am and had to stand in line for security but checked in and ready for our 8 am flight by 7 am. We met a very nice man named Doug who has traveled the world and agreed that we were very smart in renting an apartment in Paris instead of using a hotel. He has rented apartments about five times all over Europe. He was headed for Indianapolis where he was scheduled to give a lecture at Prudue University. Indiana is my home state so that gave us even more to chat about. Time flew and before we knew it we were boarding the airplane. Our flight to Paris is on United Airlines, courtesy of air miles; the only way to fly!

Our flight to Chicago was fast and easy. We’d reserved our seats with an empty one in the center…Jim on the window, me on the aisle; but it was a full plane and I moved to the center seat and gave the aisle to our seatmate. We could have actually made $300 if we would have agreed to fly later in the day from Los Angeles! The flight was very over booked! We waited to see who would share our seats; delighted when a very harried mother put her eight year old son in the seat and then went back two rows to her seat. They’d made money the day before by giving up their seats and staying over an extra day in California. He was enjoying missing school and having a wonderful final day in California. The weather on Sunday was one of those special ones that you only get in Southern California!

I enjoyed our four hour flight as we discussed the various amusement parks that he’d visited during their Spring Break; comparing experiences on the roller coaster rides and whether or not we were able to hold our hands off the bars as we screamed our way up and down the rides. He was a very polite and smart eight year old that made the time fly. We were so busy chatting that I didn’t even get my book out to read.

We had several hours in Chicago and then boarded our flight to Paris. Everything on our flight was great! It’s been a while since we’ve flown on United but enjoyed the experience. Both flights left right on time, good food, and excellent crew. We had two seats together on the side with me on the aisle and Jim on the window. I like to get up and down frequently so I always take the aisle. I’m good about doing the leg exercising at the back of the plane. I think it really helps my legs from swelling and cramping. Jim and I both got a couple of hours of sleep. Watched several movies…we had the little individual screens…mine stopped working for a while but eventually came back on. They served us a lovely dinner and a snack before we landed. Customs was a breeze…they stamped our passports and that was it…no paperwork!

Checked luggage arrived on time and we were off to the RER for our train trip into Paris. Hard to beat for 9.25 euros each compared to 60 euros for a cab. And, the hotel reimbursed us for one fare when we arrived. Once we arrived in the city we had to change trains to get to our hotel near the Eiffel Tower. Lots of escalators and some stairs but with the help of wonderful people we managed to get all of our luggage to the hotel arriving about noon.

Had one bit of a struggle when the wheels of my luggage, I was pulling two suitcases, caught on the escalator and pulled me backwards. Down I went right into Jim and another lady. But other than being very embarrassed I’m okay except for a sprained little finger that will mend itself over time. The French people were so great about helping us on the steps.

They stored our luggage for two hours while we walked the area. Purchased a cell phone for ten euros and added fifty euros of time…about 4 hours. No charge for calls within France. We enjoyed a lunch at our nearby McDonalds…two euro chicken sandwiches and malts! Then back to the hotel. Struggled with the Internet while Jim took a nap; finally used the hotel computer to get messages out to family and friends that we’d arrived. Everything is different on a French keyboard so it’s hunt and peck! But I managed to get one out and they promised that the computers would work later in the day.

We left the hotel about 4 pm and walked over to the Eiffel Tower and then on to Rue Cler…one of our favorite streets in this area….where we sat and enjoyed a beer and a ham and cheese crepe at our favorite crepe restaurant. Arrived back at the hotel about 8 pm and spent an hour organizing things…still no computer internet…until crashing about 9 pm. Slept the night.

This morning we’re off to meet the landlord and move into our apartment.

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