- Category: Paris/Lyon - 2008
- Published: August 22, 2008
- Written by Grant
So we'd gained an extra day in Lyon but now it was time to move on. I woke early and walked to the train station to get tickets. I think it's about a 35 minute walk but I wanted to make sure we could get the right train. I told the Conceirge that we'd be in Paris at 4 and we'd be at the apartment. He said he'd sent me an email so I could give him an update before we left. I checked my email and saw nothing from him, maybe it got thrown in the SPAM box. I got tickets out of Lyon at 2pm which would allow us to get to Paris at 2 and the apartment at 5 using the Metro. On the way back I stopped at a boulangerie and picked up some Chauson and Pain aux Chocolate for breakfast.
We cleaned up the apartment, my kids did their last minute checks and we headed out at 12. This would put us arriving the station at 12:45 leaving us about one hour to check out Le Halles for food. I know I've said it before but the French know food. Just walking down the aisles and smelling the cheeses, the pastries, the cured meats etc.. is a neat experience. It's something that I don't think you can experience in the states. We didn't really find any food because the French unlike the Italians like to provide a lot of raw ingredients making it a bit difficult if you're looking for a complete meal. In Italy they have a lot of little shops but the food is generally prepared, in France a cheese shop has cheese, a charcuterie has sliced meats etc... Some assembly required.
Natalya decided she wanted to take a picture and after searching through all the bags she noticed her camera was not anywhere. After a little investigating we realized that she had given it to Jade when he was sitting on the bed and he probably put it down. When doing their checks nobody checked the blankets so there was really good chance the camera was in the blankets. There was no time to go back. Either we rescue the camera and blow $250 in train tickets or we get a new camera so we headed to the station. They always say take twice as much money and half as much stuff. I've found this to be true.
At the station we found Pizza and boarded the train with twice what we needed. The kids wrote in their journals to the fascination of a French woman sitting across the aisle to us. She never said anything (the French never do) but smilled a few times at us. When in France having someone acknowledge your presence is not common and to get more than one smile even if it's small is quite rare. The French aren't snobby or rude as you probably have heard but they're extremely reserved and private. She smiled I saw it and I have witnesses.
We arrived at Gare de Lyon without incident, bought a couple of carnier of metro tickets and headed for the Batignolles area. We wandered a bit before finding our apartment. Since I hadn't gotten an email from the Concierge I wasn't able to confirm our arrival to him so we waited for 30 minutes before I decided to find a way to call him. There's a bar/brasserie/restaurant on the corner which allowed me to use their phone and 10 minutes later we were in the apartment.
This apartment cost me a fortune (but still only slightly more expensive than a bottom rate hotel) but it's quiet nice with plenty of room. Our apartment last year was cramped and oddly configured with a tiny kitchen and 3 absolutely tiny bathrooms. Why does an apartment the size of a matchbox not have one large bathroom instead of 3 tiny ones? Because it's French that's why. So the new place looks more like an American apartment in that it has a decent sized kitchen and bathroom. It came with a computer and DSL so I'll be able to get online without using the Nokia.
Our first order of business according to Natalya is to go back to our old neighborhood and eat at Le Square Cafe because we've missed the duck in a bad bad way. Le Square Cafe is in the 15th arrondisment and we're in the 17th so you'd think it's not that far away but it's completly on the other side of the city. The arrondisments are arranged in a spiral fashion so the 15th is quite a ways away.
Immediately on arrival we notice huge changes at our favorite neighborhood restaurant including the staff, furniture and menu. The duck with sweet potatoes was no longer on the menu but at least the duck in orange honey sauce was so we ordered that. It arrived looking sort of like what we had last year but the taste came up quite a bit short. I can't explain it but it just wasn't as deep. It tasted good but it didn't illicite moans of pleasure. I'm not sure why they changed everything but we probably won't be back.
For old times sake we walked to the Eiffel tower which happens to be very blue right now as many powerful lights are focused on it. I'm not sure why but it is. It takes two metros to get here now so I don't know how much time we'll be spending on the Champs de Mars this trip.
I really do like our new neighborhood on the right bank but the 7th has always felt like home and we'll miss it I think.