Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Girls Arrive in Paris

Our day started early as we packed Jim suitcase for transfer to the hotel this afternoon and got the apartment ready for four women to share for nine days!  By 9 am we were out the door and on the Metro headed for the Charles de Gaule Airport on the north of Paris.  We transferred to the RER B at Sainte Michel Station and settled in for the hour long ride.   We had to purchase special tickets as we will be leaving Zone one and two which is the limit of our Navigo Pass.
Arrived about 10 am and then walked for fifteen minutes to terminal A where we were scheduled to meet my twin sister Mary who was arriving from Florida by way of New York City and London on British Airways.  She was scheduled to arrive at 11:15 am.  Right on time she was wheeled out the door by an attendant.  She has multiple reason other than just being “old” for using the service and it works well for her especially on this … her first solo trip … across the pond!
We walked back to the train station in the airport and boarded the train for our hour long trip back to the apartment in the 15th arrondissement in Paris.  Mary had only one very small suitcase and a backpack with her…she is definitely traveling light!   The fun part was that because of the colder than expected weather she brought a few pieces of heavier clothing than planned and ended up wearing three layers of clothes as there was no room in the small case for another piece of anything!

We settled her in; ate some lunch and then walked back to the Metro where she purchased her Navigo Pass and then we were off for one stop to the Monoprix, our large grocery store.  Mary is a vegetarian and she purchased fresh vegetables and became familiar with the store and what it had to offer for her to choose from in order to stay on her regimen. 
Back to the apartment, always with umbrellas as it has threatened rain all day, teaching Mary how to navigate the Metro System all the way.    Soon it was 3 pm and Jim and I walked across the street to our hotel Eiffel Garibaldi.   A small but nice hotel that was well located to the apartment.  Checked Jim in; put his large suitcase in the room and then signed him up for the Shuttle Bus Service for his trip to the airport on Thursday.  After navigating the Metro stairs on our trip to get Mary he decided that he didn’t want to do that during rush hour traffic, by himself and pulling two suitcases!  Smart move!
Returned to get Mary and off we went to the Gare de Nord where we were meeting Bonnie and Jane when they arrived at 5:47 pm on the Eurostar from London by way of the Chunnel under the English Channel.  We arrived timely, I found the place and purchased two Navigo Passes for the girls so that we would not have to wait in line for them to purchase their passes. 
Then it was off to the small snack bar that we’d discovered on our investigation trip yesterday; found a small table with three chairs and settled in to wait with coffee to pay for the rent!   We were even given a “show” by the medical and security forces as they assisted a man who (we think it was probably a drug overdose??) had collapsed in the station.   They finally wheeled him away sitting, almost sitting, in a wheelchair.  There had to be fifteen people involved in the situation. 
But soon it was time and the Eurostar pulled into the station.  Lots of cars belched out hundreds of people; one large group of Japanese tourists who all stopped to take photos of the train as they came out; blocking the way so badly that they opened up another passage for the rest of the passengers.  Soon we spotted Bonnie and Jane and we were all together finally to start our trip for the next six weeks.
Taught the girls how to use their Navigo cards as we all shared their luggage and headed for the Metro System.  It was rush hour and everyone had to stand, squashed like sardines in a can, for our trip home.  We made sure everyone knew where to get off before we got on each train.   We had two transfers before we arrived back at the apartment.
Our Metro Station is Segur and only a block from the apartment.  On the way out this afternoon Jim had stopped and made dinner reservations for the five of us at 7 pm.  The timing was perfect, took the luggage to the apartment and then walked back to the restaurant named “Segur”.   We all enjoyed a lovely dinner with wine and good food.   It was a great opportunity to get to know Jane as Mary and I had not met her before.  She is a longtime friend of Bonnie’s who lives in England and has never been to Paris before.  And Bonnie has only been once before; years ago.  It will be fun to show them our Paris.
Jet lap had finally gotten to Mary so we took her back to the apartment and then the four of us walked all the way to the Eiffel Tower; actually not all that far as we are around the corner from the UNESCO building.  The lights were on but while we waited for the flashing lights we continued to walk until we were under the tower and then across the street towards the Trocadero Center.  Just as we cross the Seine River the lights started flashing…it was 10 pm. 
We continued up the hill and caught the Metro at the Trocadero center to home.  Arrived about 11 pm as the trains don’t run as often late at night and I also got us off at the wrong one at first and we had to get back on and go another stop before we were able to make our connection back to Segur. 
Dropped the girls at the apartment; grabbed our last times and computers and headed for the hotel.  My last thing before tucking into a new bed was to call my oldest sister back in Florida to wish her a happy 88th birthday. 
Hope you enjoy the slideshow:  

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