March 2, 1992 Leaving California.....
The morning started out with two trips to the office (yes...I'm still working in real estate in those days) to resolve problems and make final plans with our temporary office manager for our real estate offices. No one...especially my husband, thought that I could actually be away from the business for three weeks! I actually survived the withdrawal pains but only with the help of lots of International telephone calls!
In a pouring rainstorm our son drove to the airport with us. He’ll drive the car home and return for us on the 23rd. We arrived at LAX at 10 am. Checked in, got coffee for me and a banana for each of us. As I write this Jim is busy checking out the short skirts while he reads his French travel book! Flight to Cincinnati is due to leave at 12:30, Delta from gate 52A. Flight to Cincinnati uneventful. Lady next to Jim has a very bad head cold. We’ll need a dose of Vitamin C when we arrive. Lunch was steak or chicken. (Yes, in 1992 they were feeding us meals in coach class in the USA!!) Couldn’t see anything on the ground as we were flying very high to be over the storms. Had one bump due to “wash” from another plane, they said.
Checked in….The departure was delayed for 40 minutes to wait for more passengers. Moved our watches up 9 hours to 2 AM on 3rd at 5 PM. Jim bought us ice cream, and then we read a café article from LA Times Magazine. Tore out the article and left the rest of it on the table for other passengers. Guy who looks like Keating (remember the Savings & Loan scandal back then) thought that was funny, maybe it’s him and he’s trying to leave the country. Jim said that the carpet guy (Milken), junk bonds, will have 125 million when he gets out of prison. We’re watching the hippie mom with two children who were with us from LA and are also going to France. Several passengers are speaking French around us…I don’t understand a word they’re saying.
Finally...we boarded the airplane and left after 27 students from Kansas arrived, mostly girls and seated behind us. Our partners in center seats are a Grandmother with her grandson from Texas, the grandson is about 20 years of age. Movie and drinks are free. "Stepping Out" with Liza Minnelli. The night was short as within two hours people were opening the window shades…at 12:30 California time and 9:30 am French time we had lights on and a continental breakfast. After filling out our immigration cards we settled in to wait for Paris.
We arrived at Orly Airport (Charles de Gaulle Airport was still under construction) on time thanks to a tail wind. 11:30 am. Rented a car and Jim found driving in Paris a breeze. Never look the other drivers or pedestrians in the eye, drive fast and go for it.
We found our hotel on the L'Ile Saint-Louis, the Hotel du Jeu de Pauma, by accident after circling many of the tiny one way cobblestone streets. We finally got on the right street and pulled to the curb to figure out where we were. Low and behold we were parked directly in front of the hotel. It looked terrible. The first words from Jim were: “I’m paying $200 a night for this!” He left me in the car as he went inside to check it out; came back enraptured with the hotel. It’s built inside a courtyard. Lots of glass and open timbers. It took a while to find the toilet, it was in a separate closet space (notice the flush handle on the wall in the photos). Small, but very adequate room with a king-size bed..... and walking distance to the Louvre and Notre Dame.
And walk we did after we changed socks. Unbelievable stained glass windows in Notre Dame, very crowded and not even the tourist season. Walked the left and Right Bank of the Seine River. Finally spent our first francs to get some bottled water. (Today...twenty years later...we drink the local water with no ill effects...we could have saved a fortune on bottled water for the first ten years had we known the water in all of Europe was safe to drink!) We can’t decide if the water is cheap or expensive. Wanted to go to the special restaurant across the street from the hotel for dinner but can’t stay awake until they open for dinner (7 PM). It’s now 5 and we picked up quiche (egg & ham) on the corner for 31f (2 slices) that were heated. Took it to our room and it was great. To bed by 6 PM. And so ended our first day in France.....
Note....the photos are pre-digital and as a result you're getting photos of pages from my album of this trip. Double click on the album so that you can see the photos better.